Bulldog Bathhouse records and memorabilia

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
657 Mission Street, #300
San Francisco, California 94105
(415) 777-5455

Descriptive Summary

Title: Bulldog Bathhouse records and memorabilia
Dates: 1979-1982
Collection Number: 1986-03
Extent: 5.2 linear feet
Repository: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
San Francisco, California 94105
Abstract: The collection consists of notebooks, artwork, artifacts/ephemera and legal pleadings relating to the Bulldog and its predecessor, the Club Turkish Baths.
Language of Material: English


The collection is available for research if the researcher doesn’t identify any individuals by name or identifying characteristics in the various notebooks. Restrictions until 2052. Funding for processing this collection was provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Publication Rights

Copyright to unpublished materials has not been transferred to the GLBT Historical Society.

Preferred Citation

Bulldog Bathhouse records and memorabilia. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society

Acquisition Information

The Bulldog Bathhouse Records (#86-3) were donated to GLHS by Glen Gerber, one of the members of a limited partnership that owned and operated the Bulldog Baths. The materials in the collection were gathered from 130-132 Turk Street by Will Walker, members of the Historical Society and members of The 15, an S/M society.

Biography/Administrative History

The Bulldog and, its predecessor, The Club Turkish Baths (not related to Jack Campbell’s chain) were located at 130-132 Turk Street. The address was purportedly known as a meeting place for gays as early as the 1930s. The Club Turkish Baths was the largest, as well as the oldest, gay bathhouse in the city. The Club Turkish Baths were bought and renamed the Bulldog Baths in 1979. The Bulldog, which filled five stories, contained a variety of sexual arenas, including jail cells, an orgy room, a steam room, a douche room and a truck. The baths were closed sometime in the early or mid-1980s.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists of notebooks, artwork, artifacts/ephemera and legal pleadings. Many of the items are of unusual or irregular format. The notebooks are of three types; desk logs; logs of employee/supervisor actions containing complaints and requests, and notable occurrences and; management meeting minutes. The logs and minutes contain the usual litany of malfunctioning equipment, supply shortages, cash shortages, lost and stolen items, employee and management attitudes and salvos from one employee to another. Nonetheless, the logs and minutes are an authentic, occasionally witty, though more often routine and mundane, accounts of the working and operating conditions in a gay bathhouse of this period. The artwork consists of several sheetrock panels depicting a variety of gay erotica activity. The ephemera/artifacts include items used to conduct or to promote the Bulldog and structural elements of the building. The ephemera used to conduct or promote the business includes: daily logs, signs, sheets, postcards, bulletin boards, clothes hangers, regular and visitor membership cards and coupons, sign in cards, a large iron cage, lock boxes, locker keys and tags, a mirror and posters. The structural elements include doors, outside sign and the artwork panels.

Indexing Terms

Gay men --Sexual behavior.

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