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Finding aid of the Beowulf Thorne Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Beowulf Thorne Papers
    Dates: 1964-1999
    Collection number: 2003-10
    Creator: Thorne, Beowulf
    Collection Size: 4.0 linear feet 2 manuscript boxes, 2 cartons, 1 oversized box
    Repository: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
    San Francisco, California 94105
    Abstract: Beowulf Thorne (Jack Henry Foster) was a political activist on issues affecting PWAs (people with AIDS). He was one of the founders, with Tom Shearer, of the humor magazine, Diseased Pariah News (DPN). He used his skills as a writer, editor, and graphic artist on the magazine. The collection documents the operations, both commercial and artistic of DPN, as well as the work of Oakland's Condom Resource Center.
    Physical location: Stored at the Archives of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, California.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Beowulf Thorne Papers, 2003-10, The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Library by Daniel Bao on April 3, 2003.


    Beowulf Thorne (born Jack Henry Foster) was born in San Diego on November 6, 1964. He attended the University of California, Santa Cruz. A political activist regarding issues affecting PWAs (People with AIDS), he was one of the founders, along with Tom Shearer, of the PWA humor magazine Diseased Pariah News (DPN). He used both his skills as a writer-editor and as a graphic artist in creating and publishing DPN. A total of eleven issues of Diseased Pariah News were published from 1990 to 1999.
    Beowulf Thorne passed away from complications relating to AIDS on May 8, 1999, the second co-founder to pass away from AIDS (Tom Shearer passed away after the second issue of DPN was published). Thorne was memorialized in the final issue of DPN in an irreverently titled piece of which he would have approved: "Dang! Our Founder and Guiding Light Died."

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Few personal papers are included in this collection. It's primarily focus is on Thorne's experience as a person with AIDS (PWA). This collection mostly consists of the textual and graphic records of Diseased Pariah News. An additional series relates to Oakland's Condom Resource Center, headed by director Daniel Bao, who worked closely with DPN.
    The series is organized into 5 series:
    • Series 1. Personal, 1964-1998
    • Series 2. Diseased Pariah News, 1990-1999
    • Series 3. Zines, 1990-1997
    • Series 4. Condom Resource Center, 1990-1998
    • Series 5. Photos/Artwork, 1989-1992
    • Series 5. Photos/Artwork, 1989-1992
    • Series 6. Objects, undated, 1990
    Series 1. Personal, 1964-1998
    This series consists of personal documents and other effects of Beowulf Thorne such as his passports, birth certificate, personal notes on his estate, and articles he wrote for POZ Magazine, a magazine for and about people living with HIV. There are also personal photographs in this series.
    Series 2. Diseased Pariah News, 1990-1999
    This series contains materials relating to the Thorne's magazine Diseased Pariah News. All eleven issues of the magazine are included as well as background materials and other items related to publishing the magazine such as drafts of articles, artwork and photographs. Also found in this series are reviews of the magazine and articles in other publications about DPN. Finally there are correspondence files containing letter to the editors requesting back issues, subscriptions, or expressing opinions about the magazine.
    Series 3. Zines, 1990-1997
    This series consists of other zines collected by Thorne. These publications had a similar irreverent approach to the AIDS crisis
    Series 4. Condom Resource Center, 1990-1998
    This series contains materials produced by the Condom Resource Center (CRC) in Oakland. Thorne worked very closely with this organization, helping create artwork and other content for their safe sex campaigns. Included in this series are examples of some of Thorne's artwork as well as photographs. There are also several publications put out by the CRC such as several versions of the Condom Educator's Guide.
    Series 5. Photos/Artwork, 1989-1992
    This series consists of the photographs and other artwork created by Beowulf Thorne. His skills as a photographer and an artist are illustrated by these items.
    Series 6. Objects, undated, 1990
    This series contains ephemera from Diseased Pariah News and other organizations.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    San Francisco (Calif.)
    Persons With AIDS
    AIDS Activists
    Graphic Artists

    Related Material

    Diseased Pariah News(Periodical)