Guide to the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records MSS.2004.06.07

Jeanette Eaton. Accrual by Michael Lara in 2020.
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
© 2010
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0028

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Title: Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2004.06.07
Physical Description: 18 boxes (8.71 linear feet)
Date (inclusive): 1906-1999
Abstract: The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records consist of news clippings, newsletters, and magazines. There is a sizeable photographic collection that contains pictures of social events hosted by the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center, including Gay Pride San José and other social outings.


The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives 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 by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Preferred Citation

Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records, MSS-2004-06-07, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

Processing History

Collection processed by Jeannette Eaton, finding aid EAD encoded by Jeannette Eaton, and reviewed by Danelle Moon. Collection number changed from MSS-2010-10-25 to MSS-2004-06-07 in July 2018 by Leilani Marshall. Accrual of National Organization for Women Records processed by Michael Lara, finding aid EAD encoded by Michael Lara, and reviewed by Kate Steffens in February 2020.

Organizational History

The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Center opened on March 1, 1981 in downtown San José, California. The center was posthumously named after Billy DeFrank, the stage name of William Price (1936-1980). From San José, William Price was a well known African-American drag entertainer as well as a prominent gay rights activist who dedicated his talents to the development of gay communities throughout California. He was considered one of the "best-loved goodwill ambassadors" for the LGBT community. At the time LGBT activists were generally influenced by the political legacy of Stonewall. The Stonewall riots, the escalation of a series of violent confrontations between gay rights activists and police that began on June 28, 1969 outside the Stonewall Inn (a bar in New York City), became the genesis of an international gay rights movement focused on social justice and human rights for the LGBT community. The founders of the DeFrank Center concerned with practical challenges and most concerned about the lack of housing and employment protections for lesbians and gay men living in Santa Clara County envisioned transforming the legacy of the Stonewall riots by creating "a place to call home". The grassroots efforts to establish this LGBT center were driven by forces from within the Lambda Association Board of Directors of San José, San Jose Staté University's Women's Center, and other local activists. The center became the fulcrum whereby the large and diverse community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered in the South Bay could find refuge. The inception of the center's success was marked by an increase in activist support from local political figures such Mayor Janet Gray Hayes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The center continues to offer a safe haven for a large and diverse community.
The mission of the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center is "to strive to be the community's premier resource hub and a recognized leader in promoting health, strength, diversity and inclusiveness". The DeFrank Center affords its members opportunities to develop "positive social identification" and is committed to political advocacy on behalf of the community and to continue the struggle for civil rights. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people of all ages benefit from the resources and support services offered by the center staff of activists and volunteers. The Center facilitates vital sexual education programs through workshops and other social engagements for a broad-based community.
In collaboration with the Family and Children Service, the DeFrank Center provides a safe and confidential space for youths to gather and recieve counseling, as well as educational and professional medical resources. In addition, another youth centered program, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, helps to empower youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools. The adult programs similarly provide a confidential space for HIV testing, and support groups for men and women including transsexuals, drug abusers, and groups focused on the family. The DeFrank Center provides community referrals to local agencies that address Aids/HIV, child and teen services, crisis centers, domestic violence, shelters and other similar services.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records document the grassroots efforts of its founders to build a community center that supports the vast and diverse needs of the South Bay community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The central mission of the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center is to work toward promoting a "positive social identification" by promoting civil rights to advance liberty and justice through collaboration and unity.
Bulk Dates 1970-1999


This collection is arranged into four series: Series I, Organizational Records,1978-97; Series II, Educational Outreach and Publicity 1971-1999; and Series III, Publications, 1970-1999. Series IV is a accrual of National Organization for Women materials and Publications.

Related Materials

Ted Sahl Collection, MSS-2001-01-01
Mark Porsche Papers, MSS-2003-04
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Periodicals Collection 1968-2003, MSS-2005-05

Subjects and Indexing Terms

GLBT studies -- California
LGBT studies
GLBT studies
Queer studies
LGBT studies -- California
Gay rights -- California -- San Jose
Civil rights -- California -- San Jose
Gay rights
Gay and lesbian rights
Gay liberation movement
Gays -- California -- History
Gays -- Civil rights
Gay and lesbian studies
Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center
Bay Area Nonprofit Organization
AIDS activists -- California -- San Jose
Community Action


Series I. Organizational Records 1978-1997

Physical Description: 2.0 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series documents the administrative aspects of the Billy DeFrank Community Center from the Articles of Incorporation to the DeFrank Center Acorn Club Procedures and Correspondence, and Community Center General Regulations. This series also includes information on board members, donors, and volunteers, as well as fundraising proposals and annual reports. Additionally, there are some related documents including budgets and invoices showing expenses that are partially restricted.
A researcher interested in understanding the organizational structural of non-profit organizations and evolving collaboration with associated partners and how resources are allocated might discover connections within administrative operations, mission initiatives, and fundraising efforts.


Files are arranged by format and chronologically by date.

Access Note

Files including invoice and financial information are labeled partially restricted.
Box 1

Organizational records 1978-1990

Box 2

Financial and membership information (partially restricted) 1990-1997


Series II. Educational Outreach and Publicity 1971-1999

Physical Description: 7.0 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series documents the diversity of education outreach and programs initiated and endorsed by Billy DeFrank. Scholars interested in documenting AIDS research and HIV educational campaigns will find this series extremely valuable. This series consists of reference, research, and educational resources from conferences such as the Ryan White C.A.R.E. Act Title I Manual (U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Materials also include information on planning committees and task force coalitions such as the Lesbian Connection, Gay and Lesbian Directory for the Area Network of Gay and Lesbian Educators, and papers from The Lambda Association organization. The materials represented provide a snap-shot of the grassroots activism connecting it to the San Francisco LGBT community through photographs, political ephemera, poetry, and other printed materials. The photographs document various events and socials such as the San Jose Rally and Gay Pride March and related events and campaigns. Included is an autographed picture of Joan Baez, a well known folk singer and prominent activist in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights.
The Billy DeFrank Center activism is connected to the larger gay rights movement, which has a long history throughout California. The Gay, Lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered social and political networking arrived on the LA Hollywood scene in the late 1940s through the prominent homophile organization that came be known as "The Mattachine Society". This reform movement was a dynamic concept and the brainchild of Harry Hay, an actor and music instructor. Hay is credited for framing this society as the "International Bachelors Fraternal Orders for Peace and Social Dignity".
In the 1950s, the homosexual community made up of men and women within the outskirts of Los Angeles formed important communal ties based on their sexual orientation. The Mattachine Foundation was formulated as a theatrical space "after traveling performers in medieval Europe who staged satires wearing masks". While a commentary on the symbolic gesture of American homosexual's instinct "to mask" themselves as a defense mechanism in a hegemonic society, the Mattachine Foundation provided a space for social and political reform. Its members borrowed from Marxist concepts, delineating homosexuals as an oppressed class. The consciousness of this group permeated Southern California and spread to the San Francisco Bay area. Eventually, chapters sprouted up nationwide, advocating legislative reform in the east coast and specifically in Washington D.C. By the 1970s the U.S. Civil Service amended the American Psychological Association definition of homosexuality, no longer delineated as a mental illness.


Files are arranged by format and chronologically by date.
Box 3-4

Binders and unbound training materials addressing AIDs and related research 1993-1997

Box 5-7

News clippings (original and photocopy), news releases, crime reporting, articles, legislation and campaign initiatives, workshop materials, and other correspondence 1971-1999

Box 8

Ephemera-political reform buttons undated

Box 9

Photos from various social events 1987-1994


Series III. Publications 1970-1999

Physical Description: 8.0 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series documents the literary tradition of the gay community, which dates back to the founding of an array of gay and lesbian organizations, periodicals, and newsletters. Scholars interested in the development of the gay community in terms of LGBT South Bay history as it applies to political and social reform, locally, nationally, and internationally, will find this series engaging while extremely informative. The newsletters and magazines represented here reflect the local grass roots concerns while the history can be traced back to the earliest organizations established to defend LGBT rights.
The formation of Daughter of Bilitis (D.O.B.), the first national lesbian organization founded in the San Francisco in 1955, was an important breakthrough for the LGBT community. The group started with only eight members and included Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, the most well known founding members. The aim of D.O.B. was to offer broad based programming to lesbians and the public to engage in discourse on lesbian lifestyle and community. Part of their struggle for obtaining legal reform inspired this group to push for more research, locally, nationally, and internationally. An east coast chapter soon followed in 1958 in New York. D.O.B. chapters sprouted up all over the United States and as far away as Australia. D.O.B. first national convention was held in San Francisco in 1960.
Out of the early movement emerged a rich body of literature on sexual orientation that germinated identity and community building in a variety of locations throughout the U.S., developing a well communicated network. The newsletters, newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, and comics represented in this series reflect the grassroots social activism of the members of the Billy Defrank Center in the South Bay and their connections within the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Examples include: B.A.R. Bay Area Reporter, A Catalyst for all factions of the Gay Community, and Monterey LGBT Community Center Newspaper. Additionally, there is a smaller subset of religious gay press material such as Insight - A quarterly of Lesbian/ Gay Christian Opinion as well as references to the religious gay press magazine The Gay Christian/ In Unity Magazine. Other magazines include: Community Capital District Lesbianand Gay Bi-Monthly Magazine, Oblivion San Francisco, and The Gay Alternative. Scholars interested in tracing the South Bay sentiments following the murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and County Supervisor Harvey Milk, will find a variety of articles memorializing their deaths. See the article entitled "In Memoriam Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, December 1, 1978" in The Sentinental, Vo. 5 No 24. Unique to the collection is the eclectic comic book selection, Gay Cosmix 2 and Hag Rag-Intergalatic Lesbian Feminist Press.
With the influx of movements and activism in the 1960s, the New Left and feminists contributed to discourse that challenged the role of sexuality, and hegemonic forces within patriarchy. The LGBT, often referred to as the gay and lesbian movement, pushed for legal change, state by state, as well as overturned national legislation. Nonetheless, the rise of the religious right posed significant challenges to the gay rights movement.
At the forefront were Christian evangelicals who generally disdained any group that exhibited protests including the New Left, the women's movement, hippies, and anyone part of the counterculture. Anita Bryant, an American singer from 1950s known mostly for her top 40 hits, became an anti-gay crusader. She responded to victories gained in Florida which repealed a law that had prohibited gays from the adoption of children. She went on to establish an organization titled "Save the Children "applying her vilification of lesbians and gay men to legalize Prop 6 in California which would make homosexuals ineligible for employment in the state's public school system. The mobilization of organizational efforts to oppose such legislation provided the momentum needed to counter religious extremism. Ultimately, discrimination actually strengthened the alliance of gay and lesbian organizations and opened up the public arena to what had been a large group of closeted gays. Together, all of these actions to rid society of homophobia led up to homosexual activists picketing the White House and Pentagon in 1965, where for the first time ever, homosexuals protested for their civil rights, including within the military.


Files are arranged by format and chronologically by date.
Box 10-12

News clippings, newsletters, and miscellany 1971-1996

Box 13-17

Magazines, including comics 1970-1997


Series IV. National Organization for Women Records 1906-1983

Abstract: Series IV contains a collection of N.O.W. related documents and publications collected by Convenor Dee Keys. Documents include form letters, instructional kits for club meetings, and N.O.W. ephemera.


Each subseries is separately arranged in chronological order.

Scope and Contents

Series IV contains two subseries, Subseries 1. N.O.W. Organizational Records, and Subseries 2. Publications. Included in Subseries 1 is a Starting a N.O.W. Convenors Kit, new member materials, chapter correspondence and form letters, and N.O.W. ephemera. The Starting a Convenors Kit is a box that was mailed to Dee Keys containing instructions along with N.O.W. programs, policies and administrative documents. Also included in Subseries 1 is a new memeber folder containing documents that are intended for a new N.O.W. member to become familiar with, such as programs and policies as well as informative reading lists. A file with chapter correspondence and form letters from the nation office of N.O.W. is contained in Subseries 1. The topics in the documents include abortion, poverty and welfare, divorce, and women's liberation. Subseries 1 also contains programs from two N.O.W. State of California conventions and one N.O.W. National Convention program. Lastly, Subseries 1 contains ephemera from N.O.W. chapter meetings and events. Subseries 2 contains publications such as Our Bodies Our Selves, Notes from the Third Year of Women's Liberation, Circle One Self Health Handbook, 51% Publications magazines, Chrysalis magazines, Women: A Journal of Liberation magazines and a Burr McIntosh Monthly magazine.
Bulk Dates: 1970-1983

Subjects and Indexing Terms

National Organization for Women
Women's Rights
Box 18

Subseries 1. N.O.W. Organizational Records 1971-1975

Box 18, Folder 1

Starting a N.O.W. Chapter Convenor Kit 1971-1974

Box 18, Folder 2

New N.O.W. Member Folder 1971-1974

Box 18, Folder 3

N.O.W. Chapter Correspondence 1973-1974

Box 18, Folder 4

California N.O.W. State Conventions 1973-1974

Box 18, Folder 5

7th National Conference 1974

Box 18, Folder 6

N.O.W. Ephemera c.1975

Box 18, Folder 7

Sunnyvale - South Bay Chapter c. 1975

Box 18

Subseries 2. Publications 1906-1983

Box 18, Folder 8

Burr McIntosh Monthly 1906

Box 18, Folder 9

Our Bodies Our Selves 1971

Box 18, Folder 10

Notes from the Third Year: Women's Liberation 1971

Box 18, Folder 11

Circle One Self Health Handbook 1973

Box 18, Folder 12

51% Publications 1973-1974

Box 18, Folder 13

N.O.W. Conscious Raising Handbook 1974

Box 18, Folder 14

Chrysalis 1977-1978

Box 18, Folder 15

Women: A Journal of Liberation 1978-1983