More events, donations and visitors in 2016

Posted: January 22nd, 2016 | Columns, Featured, Out of the Archives | No Comments

By Walter G. Meyer | Out from the Archives

As is becoming more the norm, activity at the Archives just keeps picking up. Perhaps celebrating the Epiphany, three wise men recently came in and made generous gifts; thank you Michael Kimmel, Frank Stiriti and Dan Buker. We appreciate their support, as well as that of so many others in the community all year long.

Three more wise men accepted President Maureen Steiner’s invitation to join the board; they are San Diego State professor Dr. Michael Borgstrom; attorney Joel Steward; and activist/volunteer Steve Wroblewski. We look forward to their contributions.

In December, I was a guest on the “Fink and West” radio show, to share the great work the Archives is doing. Thanks to Bill West and Jon Fink for being great hosts.


(l to r) Head archivist Jen LaBarbera welcomes renown LGBT historian and award-winning author Lillian Faderman to the Archives. (Photo by Walter Meyer)

Archivist Jen LaBarbera got a thrill when the “queen of LGBT history,” Professor Lillian Faderman, recently visited to do some research. Professor Faderman — author of 2015’s “The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle” and a dozen other LGBT-themed books — has been commissioned to write a biography of Harvey Milk. Did you ever meet Harvey Milk in San Diego or know anything about his time here? Professor Faderman would like to talk with you. Please get in touch with us at 619-260-1522 or

As consultants continue to work on the LGBT Historic Context Statement for the city of San Diego, the city threatens to do away with more significant sites. Of particular concern right now is the possible sale of the Truax House, as it came to be known, in Bankers Hill. Established in 1988, it was one of the first hospices in the country to serve AIDS patients. Please contact Councilmember Todd Gloria and let him know we need to preserve this site of significant history.

The Archives staff is happy to be working with Parkology, an art project established to tell the less-public history of Balboa Park. Of particular interest to the researchers are stories of the Fruit Loop. If you have one, please let us know!

With the help of the some great volunteers and student interns, our digital archivist, Ken Selnick, has finished processing the thousands and thousands of photos from San Diego Pride. Many of the photos were in albums and non-archival boxes. Now the photos are housed in acid-free archival sleeves and boxes and indexed by year and subject. A representative sample of each set was digitized and many are now on our Flickr page. Visit You may recognize yourself or some friends in the many images there.

Our next “Out At the Archives” event will be Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

Many of you lived this and others need to learn, so we will focus on “San Diego Responds to the Early Days of AIDS.”

Following a brief retrospective, a live panel will be moderated by Lambda Archives board member and retired HIV/AIDS nurse Steve Wroblewski. Rounding out the panel will be Terry Cunningham, a social worker who took the first AIDS cases; Bridget Wilson, who worked with early HIV patients with Dr. Brad Truax; and Cheryl Clark, the Health and Science reporter for the San Diego Union at the time; all who will bring their unique perspectives to the discussion. None of them are shy, so expect the evening to “pop!”

This event is in partnership with Diversionary Theatre’s Open Monday series and tickets are free. You need to reserve a seat at, however, because this event may sell out!


(l to r) Digital archivist Ken Selnick accepts a photo of Dr. Brad Truax from Steve Hill, a representative of Councilmember Todd Gloria’s office. (Photo by Walter Meyer)

On March 19, please join us for brunch at the San Diego Women’s Club, where we will be hosting our 2016 Heroines, Pioneers and Trailblazers. Honorees will be the San Diego and Tijuana women who stepped up and made sure men’s needs were met as the AIDS crisis ravaged the gay community in the 1980s and 1990s. These women are often overlooked and underappreciated, but we expect to remedy that in a small way. Details are available at or search for “Lambda Archives” at For more information or to donate to the event’s silent auction, please contact us at

Things are staying dry so far at the Archives — thanks to all who have expressed concern. We have moved things away from potential trouble spots and have sandbags and tarps at the ready. We recently gave a tour to a LGBT veterans group, although the turnout was dampened by the monsoon that was occurring at the time. But we’re hoping they and more of their colleagues will make it in for another visit when they don’t have to use a landing craft to get here.

Are you ready for El Niño at home? It’s good to have extra water and food on hand for an emergency and be ready to move to higher ground. Are your photos and important papers stored in watertight containers in case your place gets flooded?

We have so much more planned for 2016 and you can be part of it, as a volunteer, donor, or just by popping in for a tour.

—Walter G. Meyer is the author of the critically acclaimed gay novel “Rounding Third,” a regular contributor to Gay San Diego, and the manager of Lambda Archives. Reach him at

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