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Harris-Wheeler Collection
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Collection Details
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  • Biographical Information:
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Related Materials:
  • Conditions Governing Access:
  • Conditions Governing Use:
  • Accruals:
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation:
  • Processing Information:

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Harris-Wheeler Collection
    Creator: Harris, Alvin S. and Richard "Dick" Oliver Wheeler
    Identifier/Call Number: SC.AHDW
    Extent: 15.88 linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1870-2000
    Date (bulk): 1950-1979
    Abstract: The Harris-Wheeler Collection documents the efforts of Alvin S. Harris, an amateur erotic photographer, and Richard "Dick" Oliver Wheeler, an enthusiast, to collect, share, and sell cross-dressing and sexual fetish materials, including literature, photographs, periodicals, catalogs, and other types of sexually explicit content. Notable figures represented in the collection include Irving Claw, John Willie, Louise Lawrence, and Christine Jorgensen. The bulk of the collection was created between 1950 and 1979.
    Language of Material: English, German, French

    Biographical Information:

    Alvin S. Harris was an amateur erotic photographer, who lived in the San Francisco Bay area. He specialized in "bizarre photography" and collected materials on cross-dressing, lingerie, fetishes, and erotic literature. Beginning in the 1930s, he photographed much of this material and sold it. Harris corresponded with many men and women active in cross-dressing and trans culture and was a close friend to Louise Lawrence, well known trans community organizer. When Harris married in the 1950s, his wife asked that he dispose of the collection, and so he gifted it to his friend, Richard "Dick" Oliver Wheeler.
    Dick Wheeler was born on July 16, 1916 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada to parents Richard Howes and Rena Stacy (neé Oliver) Wheeler, who were American citizens living permanently in New York State. Following high school, Wheeler trained as a mechanical engineer at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and graduated in 1936. He later became a development engineer with the Carborundum Company. His interest in model trains led him to create two railroad displays for the 1939 New York World's Fair, "Railroads at Work" and "Building a Railroad." He married Hannah Frances Blattman in 1943 and in 1945 the couple founded Model Engineering Works, a manufacturer of model trains and kits. The company and its owners moved to Monrovia, California in 1949. Wheeler was also a collector of erotic literature and photographs. He donated a portion of his collection in 1998 and the remainder in 2004. Dick Wheeler passed away in 2009.

    Scope and Contents

    The Harris-Wheeler Collection documents the efforts of Alvin S. Harris and Richard Wheeler to collect, share, and sell cross-dressing and sexual fetish materials, including literature, photographs, periodicals, catalogs, and other types of materials. The collection is divided into three series, Series I, Cross-dressing and Trans Fiction (1923-1983), Series II, Subject Files (1870-2000), and Series III, Scrapbooks and Binders (1849-1954).
    Series I, Cross-dressing and Trans Fiction, consists of erotic literature primarily featuring cross-dressing in sexual situations, bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism. This series is arranged alphabetically by title of publication.
    Series II, Subject Files, consists of various types of materials including catalogs, advertisements, and price lists, commercial publications, newspaper and magazine clippings, drawings and illustrations, correspondence, and photographic material , devoted to cross-dressing and sexual fetishism. This series is arranged alphabetically by title.
    Series III, Scrapbooks and Binders, contains photographs that feature specific themes such as sexual discipline, domination, and bondage, as well as cross-dressing and particular articles of clothing, primarily lingerie, corsets and girdles. Scrapbooks and binders have been deconstructed, but maintain original order. This series is arranged alphabetically by theme.

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Series I: Cross-dressing and Trans Fiction, 1923-1983
    Series II: Subject Files, 1870-2000
    Series III: Scrapbooks and Binders, 1949-1954

    Related Materials:

    Conditions Governing Access:

    The collection is open for research use.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.



    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Alvin Harris and Richard Wheeler, 04/09/1998.

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Processing Information:

    Robert Marshall, 2012

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Albums (Books)