Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Sexual Freedom League Records
BANC MSS 83/181 c  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (118.48 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • General
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Related Collections
  • Materials Cataloged Separately
  • Acquisition Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Sexual Freedom League Records
    Creator: Sexual Freedom League
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 83/181 c
    Physical Description: 11.25 linear feet Number of containers: (9 cartons, 1 oversize folder)
    Date (inclusive): 1962-1983
    Date (bulk): 1964-1973
    Abstract: Research and reference files (including correspondence). Includes a substantial, but incomplete, run of the SFL Newsletter (March 1965-April 1971), as well as scattered samples of other serials on issues of sexual freedom.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.


    Finding Aid Author(s):
    Processed by Elizabeth Stephens; finding aid completed by Mary Morganti
    Finding Aid Encoded By:


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Sexual Freedom League Records, BANC MSS 83/181 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
    Title: Social Protest Collection,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 86/157 c

    Materials Cataloged Separately

    1. Selected printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.

    Acquisition Information

    The records of the Sexual Freedom League were given to The Bancroft Library by Jefferson Poland on September 4, 1970. Additions identified and separated from Poland's contribution to the Social Protest Collection were added in 1995.

    Organizational History

    The Sexual Freedom League was founded in 1963 in New York City. Julian Beck, Allen Ginsberg, and Dr. Leo Koch were among those on the Advisory Committee of the original group, which was active in demonstrations for a wide range of causes. Initially composed of a small membership of independent local chapters in New York, San Francisco, and London, the organization grew rapidly, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area after 1966, when the emphasis shifted toward nude parties. The League reorganized in 1967 as the Sexual Freedom League, Incorporated with its national headquarters in Oakland and chapters in San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, and elsewhere.
    The League advocated three main issues: the right of each person to make his or her own choices in sexual matters, without coercion or restrictive laws; the psychological and spiritual liberation which allows people to joyfully accept their sensuality; and the right of all persons, including women and homosexuals, to be free from sexual discrimination in the exercise of their non-sexual rights and liberties. Each independent group chose its own emphasis and methods, with activities ranging from legislative lobbying to parties; most concentrated on laws, while some focused on personal growth.

    Scope and Content

    While the records of the Sexual Freedom League reflect their international activities, the bulk of the collection primarily concerns their presence in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York from 1964 to 1973, and particularly Jefferson Poland's involvement as founder and chief promoter of League organization. Divided into four series, the collection consists of correspondence, newsletters, and other records of the National headquarters of the League, variously located in New York City, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland, with chapters in other west coast cities. A major component are the Research and Reference Files, containing clippings, notes, flyers, and solicitations from a variety of sources reflecting the League's broad interest in personal freedom, with miscellaneous printed materials, including sample issues of journals and mail order catalogs. The collection concludes with correspondence, writings, and other personal material by and pertaining to Jefferson Poland.
    A portion of this collection was described in Alternative Lifestyles; a Guide to Research Collections on Intentional Communities, Nudism, and Sexual Freedom by Jefferson P. Selth (Greenwood Press, 1985: p. 63-73). The alphabetical arrangement noted therein applies only to the research and reference files series of this collection, and folder and item counts are no longer accurate as duplicates have been weeded and the material further organized.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Sexual Freedom League