Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding aid of the Crawford Barton Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (119.84 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Crawford Barton Papers
    Dates: 1945-1995
    Collection number: 1993-11
    Creator: Barton, Crawford Wayne
    Collection Size: 17 manuscript boxes, 4 record carton boxes, 35 medium boxes, and 1 oversize box 38.85 linear feet
    Repository: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
    San Francisco, California 94105
    Abstract: This collection contains professional and personal records created and collected by Crawford Wayne Barton. Inclusive dates are 1945-1995; the bulk of the collection is from 1961-1990. The collection has a particular emphasis on the photography of Barton as well as his creative writing. The collection includes photographs, negatives, slides, 8 and 16mm movies, correspondence, journals, manuscripts and clippings.
    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    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.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], [Name of Series], Crawford Barton Papers, 1993-11, The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Library.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Sara Chabino-Lott with the aid of Rebekah Kim. Photographs processed by Marjorie Bryer. Processing completed in August 2007. Guide written by Sara Chabino-Lott in August 2007. Processing funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


    Crawford Wayne Barton was born on June 2, 1943 in rural Georgia. As a child and teenager Bartontook piano lessons and enjoyed drawing and studying nature. After graduating from Calhoun High School in 1961, Barton attended the University of Georgia on an art scholarship. Barton studied drawing painting and sculpture at three different colleges in Georgia as an art major, but never graduated. Late in 1968 Barton decided to move to Los Angeles, CA to study filmmaking at UCLA. However, Barton never enrolled and instead moved to San Francisco. It was in San Francisco that Barton became a leading photographer of gay life. Barton took photographs for the Advocate, the Bay Area Reporter, the San Francisco Examiner, Newsday, and the Los Angeles Times.
    In 1974, the M.H. de Young Memorial museum featured Barton's prints in an exhibit called New Photography, San Francisco and the Bay Area. Barton started his own photography business with a resale license in 1973, under the name Arts Unlimited. The business operated through 1978, but was never a profitable endeavor. However, a book of Barton's prints titled Beautiful Men was published in 1976 with a 2nd edition published in 1978. Barton's prints were also used to illustrate Look Back in Joy (1990) by Malcom Boyd. Crawford Barton, Days of Hope, a book of Barton's prints covering the years between the Stonewall riots and the onset of the AIDS epidemic, was published posthumously in 1994. Barton moved away from photography in the early 1980s and devoted his artistic energies to writing. He continued to show his photographs, but did not produce new work at the pace he did in the 1970s. During the 1980s Barton completed his epic novel, Castro Street, and a book of poetry, One More Sweet Smile, but neither was published.
    Barton passed away from AIDS on June 12, 1993. He was fifty years old.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains the professional and personal papers of Crawford Barton. This collection includes records from 1945-1995, although the bulk of the collection is from 1961-1990. Barton is best known as a photographer of San Francisco's gay culture in the 1970s. This collection contains numerous photographs, slides and journals from the 1970s. The rest of the collection is primarily from the 1960s and 1980s with some material from the 1970s. It contains correspondence, financial and medical records, clippings, and critical reviews. There is also a significant amount of material related to Castro Street, a novel that Barton wrote and tried to get published through most of the 1980s.


    This collection is organized in 7 series:
    • Series 1. Correspondence
    • Series 2. Journals
    • Series 3. Writings
    • Series 4. Personal Papers
    • Series 5. Professional Papers
    • Series 6. Objects
    • Series 7. Photographs and Audiovisual Material
    This collection has been maintained in its original order. Unless otherwise noted, dates are inclusive.

    Indexing Terms

    Barton, Crawford
    Photographers--United States
    AIDS (Disease)--Patients

    Related Material

    William J. Hancock Papers, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society, San Francisco, California