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Oedipus Motorcycle Club records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Contributing Institution: ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Title: Oedipus Motorcycle Club records
    Creator: Oedipus Motorcycle Club
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2021-001
    Physical Description: 20 Linear Feet 19 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1958-2018
    Date (bulk): 1960s-1990s
    Abstract: The Oedipus Motorcycle Club is a gay motorcycle club founded in Los Angeles in 1958. It is the second oldest gay motorcycle club in Los Angeles and one of the oldest still existing today. The collection consists of administrative records, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, objects, textiles, buttons, and ephemera that document club events such as motorcycle runs, anniversary celebrations, fundraisers, officer ceremonies, gay pride festivities, and other events.
    Language of Material: English .

    Biographical / Historical

    The Oedipus Motorcycle Club was founded in Los Angeles in 1958 for the purpose of "providing a safe and comfortable environment for motorcyclists in the gay community. Our focus is on motorcycling and motorcycling related events. Oedipus provides support for local gay community events that involve motorcycling and motorcyclists. Oedipus members and officers are dedicated to the preservation of the time-honored history and traditions of this great organization."
    Oedipus MC is the second oldest gay motorcycle club in Los Angeles and one of the oldest still existing today. The club was a member of the Council of Southern California Motorcycle Clubs and was involved with other Los Angeles clubs, including Satyrs MC. Club activities ranged from group rides and charity events to weekend getaways and road trips. Oedipus MC was well known for their elaborate events, particularly the twice-yearly Coronations of the new club president, "Oedipus Rex", and the annual Grecian Games, a combination of motorcycle riding competitions and physical challenges.
    Gay motorcycle clubs came into existence in America during the 1950s, at a time when homosexuality was illegal and widely ostracized. These clubs, which took their inspiration from post-WWII road culture, offered gay men a sanctuary where they could comfortably gather in groups without fear of persecution. At the height of their popularity, there were more than 20 gay motorcycle clubs in the Los Angeles area.
    These clubs sometimes overlapped with leather and BDSM communities and some motorcycle clubs developed hand in hand with local leather groups. Both offered distinctively gay avenues for self-expression and sexual self-awareness. As the number of gay motorcycle clubs grew, so did their efforts in the fight for gay rights. They publicly championed gay rights, promoted safer sex during the AIDS epidemic, and campaigned to strike down discriminatory laws. In more recent years, the clubs have opened their doors to the wider LGBTQ community. Though membership in motorcycle clubs has declined since the late 20th century, their position as an influential subculture in LGBTQ history remains.
    Oedipus Motorcycle Club. "Our Mission." Last accessed July 23, 2021. http://oedipusmcla.com/about-us/
    Solis, Gustavo. "Stories from L.A.'s pioneering gay motorcycle clubs are told through USC's ONE Archives." USC News. June 29, 2021. https://news.usc.edu/188105/los-angeles-gay-motorcycle-clubs-lgbtq-stories-usc-one-archives/
    Kraft, Kate. "Los Angeles Gay Motorcycle Clubs, 1954-1980: Creating a Masculine Identity and Community." Thesis. Yale University, 2010. http://worldoftomoffinland.com/insider_trading_tof/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/2010-senior-essay-kraft-kate-los-angeles-gay-motorcycle-clubs-1954-1980-1.pdf

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Andre Rigden, May 2018.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder #, or item name] Oedipus Motorcycle Club Records, Coll2021-001, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

    Processing Information

    Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the California State Library. Collection processed by Beth McDonald, 2021.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection includes bylaws, event records, guidebooks, policies, meeting minutes, and other administrative records of the Oedipus Motorcycle Club. The collection also contains correspondence; event invitations and flyers; scrapbooks documenting club activities, particularly coronations, from 1958 to 1972; photographs; realia; textiles, including a uniform vest; buttons; and ephemera.


    The collection is arranged in four series: 1) Records, 2) Photographs and Graphic Materials, 3) Scrapbooks, and 4) Textiles and Realia. Each series is arranged alphabetically by folder title, then chronologically within similar folders.

    Related Materials

    Cunard (David) and Walter Shuster Motorcycle Club Collection, Coll2015-004, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.
    Blue Max Motorcycle Club Records, Coll2013-055, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.
    Peter Bromilow Collection on Gay Motorcycle Clubs, Coll2013-086, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.
    Scott Shot Oedipus Motorcycle Club Photographs, Coll2012-023, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Gay motorcycle clubs
    Gay motorcycle clubs -- California -- Los Angeles