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Legg (W. Dorr) Personal Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Publication Rights
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Biographical Note
  • Separated Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Title: W. Dorr Legg personal papers
    creator: Legg, W. Dorr (William Dorr Legg)
    creator: Nojima, John (Nagatoshi)
    creator: Mulroy, Brad
    source: Legg, Frank E. (Frank Evariste Legg, Senior)
    creator: Kelly, James J.
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2010-004
    Identifier/Call Number: 8
    Physical Description: 24 Linear Feet 6 record boxes, 6 archive cartons, 8 clamshell photograph binders, 2 flat boxes
    Date (inclusive): circa 1850-1995
    Abstract: Correspondence and photographs, along with business, financial, and organizational records, chronicling the life of W. Dorr Legg before and beyond his involvement with ONE, Incorporated. Photographs document his early life along with minimal records of his educational experience at the University of Michigan, his professional life as a landscape designer and professor, and as a Church of Christ, Scientist practitioner, 1909-1994. His family papers include documents from his siblings along with early photographs and records from his ancestors, circa 1840-1988.
    Container: 1

    Publication Rights

    Researchers wishing to publish material must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives as the physical owner of the material. Note that permission to publish does not constitute copyright clearance. ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials from the copyright holder(s).


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

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by John Nojima, circa 1995.

    Processing Information

    Processing this collection has been funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    The contents of Legg's original files were re-foldered in the following series and subseries: Personal Papers subseries Correspondence and Church of Christ, Scientists; Landscape Designer and Architect subseries; Correspondence and Oregon State College. Additional folders were created as necessary for two boxes of unorganized documents.
    Formerly housed in record boxes 102-003 - 102-008, 102-A121 - 102-A126, 102-A259, 102-A260, 103-031, 103-032, 103-072, 103-110, 103-294, 103-297, 104-122, 21 linear feet.
    Collection processed by Michael C. Oliveira, September 24, 2010.

    Preferred Citation

    Box #, folder #, W. Dorr Legg Personal Papers, Colll2010-004 , ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California


    Files are arranged in the following series:
    Series 1. Personal Papers, circa 1915-1994
    Series 2. Church of Christ, Scientist, 1928-1953
    Series 3. Landscape Designer and Architect, 1925-1962
    Series 4. Education, 1904-1928
    Series 5. Photographs, circa 1850-1995
    Series 6. Legg Family Papers and Realia, circa 1850-1988
    The collection is primarily organized chronologically within each subseries with the exception of the alphabetically arranged correspondence files.

    Scope and Contents

    The W. Dorr Legg papers document his life before and beyond his involvement with ONE, Incorporated and all its succeeding organizations and enterprises. His papers include correspondence, photographs, and family papers along with business, financial, and organizational records. Legg's correspondence files and financial records document his career as a landscape designer, professor, and Christian Science practitioner. The limited records of his landscape design work consist of a few blueprints, business correspondence, transcripts from his radio program, and articles he wrote for magazines and journals. The Church of Christ, Scientist records 1933-1949, consists of correspondence, lessons, readings, and testimonials. The Education series contains some records of Legg's school work, however publications, clippings, and yearbooks make up the bulk of the series. The Photograph series captures his early life in Michigan and later life in California including a few photographs from his trips with the ONE World Travel Club. The Photographs series also contains early images from Legg's ancestors including members of the Crosby, Cross, and Legg families. These early images are complemented by a variety of family documents including business ledgers, scrapbooks, autograph books, and clippings.

    Related Archival Materials

    ONE Incorporated Records, Coll2011-001, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
    Comprehensive Bibliography of Homosexuality Work Papers, Coll2008-007, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
    Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile Records, Coll2008-057, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
    ONE audiocassettes -AC0271 IMRU: Interview with Dorr Legg, 1976. - AC0412 PFLG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), 1982. -AC0815 Banquet-1st Annual Convention of Federation of Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, 1982. -AC0802 National Gay & Lesbian Task Force or ACLU Meeting, 1990. -AC1430 ONE's Role.
    ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives collection of film and video, circa 1965-1999. UCLA Film and Televsion Archive, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Biographical Note

    William Dorr Legg, second son of Franc C. Dorr and Frank E. Legg, was born in his mother's family home, 406 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan on December 15, 1904. Circa 1910, the family purchased a small farm three miles outside of Ann Arbor on the interurban streetcar line. According to his interviews, the whole family shared the responsibilities for care of animals and the household. On Sunday afternoons visitors from the University of Michigan and family friends would provide lively national and international political discussions in exchange for music and "good country" cooking. These afternoon discussions exposed Legg to a variety of ideas and people, including "emancipated women."
    His formal education began at the Stone Schoolhouse, a single room for eight grades. At the age of ten or eleven his father instructed him on the finer points of collecting rent from the tenants of their family-owned properties. He started college at the age of 16, commuting on the streetcar line to the University of Michigan, where the diverse University Library collection expanded his knowledge of the world. In 1924, the family planned to winter in Broward County, Flordia. In Orlando, while on the journey, Legg had his first "homophile" experience with an older gentleman, he picked up in a park. That winter in the midst of the Florida land boom, he found a position as a landscape designer in Tampa. During the day he worked for the Florida Landscape Eng. Company and during the evenings and weekends he enjoyed the social life of Tampa.
    He returned to the University of Michigan and graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Literature Science and the Arts in November 1926. He continued his education simultaneously enrolling in a music program at the University School of Music, Ann Arbor and a landscape design program at the University of Michigan. (In 1940, the University Musical Society transferred all responsibilities for University Music School program to the University of Michigan.) In 1928, he simultaneously graduated from both programs and received a scholarship for the summer program at the Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Lake Forest, Illinois. He subsequently left for New York City where he experienced the city's cultural and social life including the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance. Employed as a landscape architect, he worked in the city and later moved to the bedroom community of White Plains, New York. In 1933, he became a member of the White Plains' Church of Christian, Scientist where he served on the Church Board and as Chairman of the Lecture Committee through 1935.
    A classmate from the Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture program had obtained a position at Oregon State College (OSC) and encouraged Legg to apply for a position. Legg was hired by OSC and from 1936 to 1942 he served as an assistant professor of landscape design. In his final year, he also served as an assistant professor of art and architecture. While at OSC he continued his landscape design practice, instituted a Christain Scientist student organization and contributed the founding of a Christain Scientist church in Corvallis. He also hosted a gardening program on the college radio station, established a local chapter of the professional landscape architects organization, created a committee to maintain and beautify the campus, and contributed articles to various professional journals and popular magazines.
    By 1943, enrollment had decreased significantly and Legg's brother, who had assisted their father in the family business, joined the war effort. Legg returned to Michigan to manage the family business and his father's affairs until his father's death in 1949. In the same year, he was arrested and plead guilty to a charge of "gross indecency;" Legg's socializing with African-American men had drawn the attention of the police. As a result of his arrest, he was almost evicted from his apartment and was suspended from the Church of Christ, Scientist.
    Seeking a more progressive and tolerant community, he relocated to Los Angeles. From September 1949 to January 1951, Legg operated the Dorr School of Design, where he taught art, architecture, interior design, and landscape design classes "the Dorr way." During this time Legg and his partner, Merton Byrd formed "The Knights of Clocks," an interracial couples community organization with the goal of providing counseling services, legal advice, and hosting social affairs. In 1951, he met like-spirited individuals that knew of a secret organization, The Mattachine Society.
    On October 15, 1952, at a regular Mattachine Guild meeting, a few members brought forth the concept of an organizational voice. This idea was outside of the agenda and members interested in further discussion were asked to adjourn to the kitchen. That evening the concept of a homosexual magazine was conceived and over the next two months a new organization, ONE, Incorporated was formed. In January 1953, the first issues were sold for 25 cents each, the same price as a beer at the time. By April 1953, the magazine offered the opportunity of full-time employment for Legg as Business Manager and an occasional weekly pay check of $25.00. He wrote articles under a number of pseudonyms including; Holister Barnes, Richard Conger, Marvin Cutler, W.G. Hamilton, William Lambert, Wendy Lane, Valentine Richardson, and Sidney Rothman.
    Legg believed that education could be transformative in gaining society's acceptance of gays and lesbians. In 1956, he championed the establishment of The Institute of Homophile Studies, the first institute in the United States dedicated to the study of homosexuality. The Institute proved a range of educational opportunities and received state accreditation for a period during the 1980s. Using his pseudonym, Marvin Cutler, as editor, ONE, Inc. published, Homosexuals Today: A Handbook of Organizations and Publications. Legg and the editor of ONE Magazine, Don Slater, struggled over the future direction of the organization in 1965. Legg's faction won the right to continue using the name "ONE" in 1967. During this time, Legg contributed to the founding of the Southern California Council of Religion and the Homophile (SCCRH) in 1966, an organization formed to improve relations with mainstream religions and address the spiritual needs of the gay and lesbian community. In 1976, Vern L. Bullough, Barrett W. Elcano, W. Dorr Legg, and James Kepner published their edited work the Annotated Bibliography of Homosexuality, a survey of gay and lesbian literature. The following year, Legg contributed to the founding of the "Lincoln Republicans," which became the Log Cabin Club. A ballot intiative to ban public school employment of gays, lesbians, and possibly anyone that supported gay rights had spurred the formation of the organization. Legg's final collaboration in publishing was a history of ONE Institute and its educational efforts with David G. Cameron and Walter L. Williams, Homophile Studies in Theory and Practice.
    In 1960 Legg and John Nojima had started dating and they remained together until Legg's death in 1994. Nojima played a key role in supporting Legg financially and recording many ONE events. Legg died in their home in his sleep on July 26, 1994.
    "40 Year Dedicated Activist Dorr Legg Dies at 89." ONE IGLA Bulletin 1995, 4.
    Bullough, Vern L. Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context. Harrington Park Press, 2002.
    Bullough, Vern, Burrett W. Ekano, W. Dorr Legg, and James Kepner, ed. An Annotated Bibliography of Homosexuality. New York: Garland, 1976.
    Cutler, Marvin (W. Dorr Legg), ed. Homosexuals Today: A Handbook of Organizations and Publications. Los Angeles: ONE, Inc., 1956.
    Hampten, Thane, GAY, "A Visit With An Elder Statesman: W. Dorr Legg of One, Inc.," volume 3, issue 65, December 6, 1971, 10,17.
    Legg, W. Dorr. "Exploring Frontiers: An American Tradition." New York Folklore 1993, 217-36.
    Legg, W. Dorr, David G. Cameron, Walter L. Williams, and Donald C. Paul, ed. Homophile Studies in Theory and in Practice. Los Angeles: ONE Institute Press and San Francisco: GLB Publishers, 1994.
    Rapp, Linda, Legg, W. Dorr, glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture, December 20, 2004, [September 26, 2010] www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/legg_wd.html

    Separated Materials

    Magazines transferred to ONE periodical collection:
    Another Voice: A Journal of Homosexual Thought and Opinion, Central Ohio Mattachine Society: circa 1968; volume 1, number 2.
    Frontiers, February 6-13, 1985, volume 3, number 39.
    The Journal of Pastoral Care: Fall 1993; volume 47, number 3.
    Pursuit & Symposium, Los Angeles: June 1967; volume 1, number 2.
    Magazines transferred to ONE Non-LGBT publications with LGBT cover story collection:
    Today: The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine: May 12, 1974, "The Gay Revolution in the Cradle of Liberty."
    Newsletters transferred to ONE periodical collection:
    Community News, Forth Worth, Texas: October 1974; volume 1, number 3. January 1975; volume 1, number 5. February 1975; volume 1, number 6. March-April 1975; volume 1, number 7.
    Concern, Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile: July 1966; number 1. February 1967 - June 1968; numbers 5-8.
    Dignity Newsletter, Washington, D.C.: January 1, 1975, volume 6, number 1.
    Erickson Educational Foundation newsletter, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Spring 1968; volume 1, number 1. Fall and winter 1971; volume 4, numbers 3 and 4. Summer 1972; volume 5, number 2. Fall 1973; volume 6, number 2. Spring 1974; volume 7, number 1. Summer 1976; volume 9, number 1.
    GLTF Newsletter, Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SSRT) of the American Library Association (ALA): Fall 1992; volume 4, number 3.
    H.E.L.P., Inc. Newsletter, Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, Incorporated (H.E.L.P. Inc.): November 16, 1970; volume 1, number 3.
    Homosexual Law Reform Society, Inc., New Zealand: July 1, 1969; number 1.
    IGLA Bulletin, International Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles: Spring-Summer 1991; number 8.
    The Log, The Newsletter of the Log Cabin Club: February 1984; volume 2, number 9. October 1984; volume 3, number 4. September-November 1987.
    Mattachine newsletter, Los Angeles area council: January 1959.
    MCC News, Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles: September 27, 1970; volume 2, number 67. October 4, 1970; volume 2, number 68. October 18, 1970; volume 3, number 2. October 25, 1970; volume 3, number 3. November 22, 1970; volume 3, number 7.
    N.S. Mobilizer, National Socialist League, Los Angeles: January 1975; volume 1, number 11. February 1975; volume 1, number 12. March 1975; volume 1, number 13.
    NGRC Forum, National Gay Rights Coalition, Montreal, Canada: Summer 1977; volume 2, number 3.
    Tom of Finland Foundation Dispatch: Summer 1994.
    The Republican Digest, United Republicans Clubs of California Newsletter: September 1987; number 1.
    WSDG newsletter, West Side Discussion Group, New York: September 1, 1970.
    Newspapers transferred to ONE periodical collection:
    The Advocate: March 1969; volume 3, number 3. June 1969; volume 3, number 6. September 30-October 13, 1970; volume 4, number 16. October 28-November 10, 1970; volume 4, number 18. November 11-24,1970; volume 4, number 19. March 01, 1972; number 80. July 05, 1972; volume, number 89. July 19, 1972; volume, number 90. July 15, 1975; volume, number 155. November 17, 1976; number 203.
    Compass: August 24, 1995; volume 23, number 10.
    Crusader, San Francisco: December 1, 1974; number 14.
    Detroit Gay Liberator: November 1970.
    Focus: June 1, 1974; volume 4, number 5. September 1, 1974; volume 4, number 8.
    Gay, New York: December 06, 1971; volume 3, number 65.
    Gay & Lesbian Times, Southern California: February 16, 1995; number 377. April 27, 1995; number 383.
    IMPACT, New Orleans and the gulf south: October 14-27, 1994; volume 19, number 21.
    James White Review: Spring 1992; volume 9, number 3.
    Programs transferred to ONE program collection:
    Christopher Street West, gay pride celebration program: 1974, 1976.
    The following periodicals were removed from the collection:
    Daily Trojan: January 19, 1995, number 4.
    Life: June 26, 1964; volume 56, number 26, "Homosexuality in America: the Secret World Grows Open and Bolder." and "Science search for the answer to a touchy and puzzling question why?", page 65-80.
    Los Angeles Times: March 24, 1969, volume LXXXVIII.
    Science: American Association for the Advancement of Science: July 04, 1980; volume 209, number 4452, ISBN 0036-8075.
    UCLA Daily Bruin Viewpoint: May 30, 1974; volume XCII and May 31, 1974; volume CXXXIV, number 44.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Gay liberation movement -- California -- Los Angeles
    Gay men -- California -- Los Angeles
    Gay activists -- California -- Los Angeles
    Christian Scientists -- United States.
    Gay rights -- United States -- History -- 20th century
    Christian Scientists -- United States -- Correspondence.
    Gay rights -- California
    Landscape architects
    Legg, Frank E. (Frank Evariste Legg, Senior)