Randy Shilts Papers

Finding aid created by James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center staff using RecordEXPRESS
San Francisco Public Library. James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 557-4567

Descriptive Summary

Title: Randy Shilts Papers
Dates: 1955-1994
Collection Number: GLC 43
Creator/Collector: Shilts, Randy.
Extent: 158 cartons
Repository: San Francisco Public Library. James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center
San Francisco, California 94102
Abstract: The collection documents the life and work of Randy Shilts. These documents include drafts, research and interview notes for his writing, correspondence, journals, clippings, photographs, VHS videos, and audiotapes. Half of the collection consists of newspaper and magazine clippings documenting GLBT and AIDS coverage by the major print media. This portion of the collection spans 20 years and contains a wealth of references to the gay and lesbian issues of the time.
Language of Material: English


The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Finding aid is undergoing revision; please contact Hormel Center Archivist for more information.

Publication Rights

Copyright retained by the Randy Shilts estate.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Randy Shilts Papers. Collection Number: GLC 43. San Francisco Public Library. James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Acquisition Information

Papers donated by the Estate of Randy Shilts, 1994. Waide Aaron Riddle donated a folder of correspondence and clippings, September 4, 2023.

Biography/Administrative History

Randy Shilts was a gay San Francisco journalist and author. He wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and authored the books: And the Band Played On, about the AIDS epidemic; The Mayor of Castro Street, about Harvey Milk; and Conduct Unbecoming, about gays in the military.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is organized into eight series: Series 1. Personal Papers (boxes 1-10); Series 2. Professional Papers--Journalism (boxes 11-28), The Mayor of Castro Street (boxes 29-32), And The Band Played On (boxes 33-43), Conduct Unbecoming (boxes 44-75 open, boxes 76-87 closed interviews), and other writing (box 88); Series 3. General Subject Files (box 89); Series 4. Gay Research Files by Date (boxes 90-94) and Gay Research Files by Topic (boxes 95-101); Series 5. AIDS Research Files by Date (boxes 102-126), AIDS Research Files by Topic (boxes 127-143), and AIDS Research Files by other people (box 144); Series 6. Audiovisual Materials (boxes 145-148); Series 7. Publications and Reports (boxes 149-157); and, Series 8. Realia (box 158).

Indexing Terms

Gay journalists--California--San Francisco.
Gay men--California--San Francisco--Social life and customs--20th century.
Gay men in mass media.
Lesbians in mass media.
Gays in popular culture.
AIDS (Disease)--History.
AIDS (Disease)--Political aspects--United States.
AIDS (Disease)--Social aspects--United States.
Gay men and AIDS.
Gay military personnel--United States.
Gay soldiers--United States--Personal narratives.
Lesbian soldiers--United States--Personal narratives.
Homophobia in the Armed Forces--History.
Gay liberation movement--California--San Francisco.
Politicians--California--San Francisco--Biography.
San Francisco (Calif.)--Politics and government.
San Francisco (Calif.)--Biography.
San Francisco (Calif.)--History.
Shilts, Randy--Archives.
Milk, Harvey.

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