Harry Hay 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: Harry Hay Papers
Dates: 1885-2004 (bulk 1920-2002)
Collection Number: GLC 44
Creator/Collector: Hay, Harry
Extent: 80 cubic feet (50 cartons + 33 oversized boxes)
Online items available
Repository: San Francisco Public Library. James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center
San Francisco, California 94102
Abstract: The collection documents the personal and professional interests of Harry Hay and his partner John Burnside. Of particular note are the materials on the Mattachine Society, the Radical Faeries, anti-draft activities, berdache and Native American culture, music, and California Kaleidoscopes. In addition, the series of writings and speeches includes work by Hay, Burnside and Will Roscoe, among others.
Language of Material: English


The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance. The Hay additions in boxes 67-80 are closed to research until processed.

Publication Rights

Copyright and literary rights are held by The San Francisco Public Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist.

Preferred Citation

Harry Hay Papers. San Francisco Public Library. James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Acquisition Information

Donated by Harry Hay and his Estate in several accessions, 1998-2007.

Biography/Administrative History

Harry Hay (1912-2002) was a political activist, labor advocate, and teacher. He was a founder of several homophile organizations: the Mattachine Society, the Circle of Loving Companions, and the Radical Faeries. Hay's interests also included anti-draft activities, the Communist Party, Native American culture and berdache (two-spirit people), and music. Hay's life partner John Burnside (1916-2008) was an inventor and a gay activist. Burnside invented the teleidoscope and the Symmetricon, and created the business California Kaleidoscopes, Inc. He was also a co-founder of the Circle of Loving Companions and the Radical Faeries.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is arranged in 13 series: Series 1. Personal and Biographical Materials; Series 2. Material Related to the Mattachine Society; Series 3. Materials Related to Radical Faeries; Series 4. Writings and Speeches; Series 5. General Correspondence with Hay; Series 6. Materials Related to Anti-Draft Activities; Series 7. California Kaleidoscopes; Series 8. Research and Note Files; Series 9. Articles and Clippings; Series 10. Flyers, Announcements, and Mass Mailers; Series 11. Photographs; Series 12. Books Annotated by Hay; Series 13. Periodicals.

Indexing Terms

Communists--United States--Biography.
Gay activists--Biography.
Gay community--United States.
Gay liberation movement--United States--History--20th century.
Gay men--United States--Biography.
Gay men--United States--Social life and customs.
Labor leaders--Biography.
Radical Faeries (New Age movement).
Two-spirit people--United States--History.
Gay men--Sexuality.
Gay men--Spiritual life.
Burnside, John.
Hay, Harry--Archives.
Roscoe, Will.
Mattachine Society--History.

Additional collection guides