Foster Gunnison, Jr. Papers
Scope and Contents
The Foster Gunnison Papers are comprised of personal correspondence, organizational records, conference proceedings, student organization records, serial publications and periodicals, posters and fliers, buttons, newspaper clippings, and photographs. The homophile movement of the 1960s, gay and lesbian rights movements of the 1970s, smoker’s rights movement of the 1980s and 1990s, and several barbershop quartet organizations, as well as some of Gunnison's activities in relation to the movements and organizations, are represented in the collection. Bulk of the material dates from 1962 to 1993.
- Creation: undated, 1945-1994
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.
Foster Gunnison, Jr. was born in 1925 in Bronxville, New York. In 1944 he entered Haverford College and soon after transferred to Columbia University, graduating in 1949.
Gunnison moved to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1955 to pursue a Masters degree in psychology at Trinity College. After completing a second Masters degree at Trinity, in philosophy, he visited the New York City offices of the Mattachine Society. The year was 1964 and as Gunnison explained to receptionist Craig Rodwell, who would later emerge as a radical figure in the Society and an organizing force throughout the city, he had "known for some time that he was not developing into a heterosexual." Gunnison, who was in his early 40s, was looking for opportunities to volunteer.
Gunnison's decision to join the Mattachine Society, the nation's oldest homophile organization, established in San Francisco in the early 1950s, took place in the context of a growing public dialog about and resistance to the theories of Drs. Bieber and Socarides that characterized homosexuality as a pathological disorder. Within the rapidly growing and increasingly active homophile movement, organizations such as Mattachine, ONE and Daughters of Bilitis were joined by new groups such as the Society for Individual Rights and the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. Groups shifted attention from the dialog about the origins of homosexuality to efforts aimed at opposing discriminatory practices and promoting social reforms. In the late 1960s, few years before the Stonewall riots of 1969, student leaders and campus groups emerged as facilitating forces for change, bolstering the organizations' membership and in many cases their radicalism. Yet amid calls for centralization and unity within the movement, the new ranks challenged the "old guard" -- their leadership, agendas, and decisions on behalf of these organizations -- and facilitated the development of splinter groups and localized movements.
In the mid 1960s, Gunnison involved himself in the Eastern Conference of Homophile Organizations (ECHO), an early coalition of organizations seeking the creation of a national homophile organization, offering his services as secretary. In 1966, he was appointed Chair of the Credentials Committee for the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations. From 1965 to 1969, Gunnison collected the office and conference records of ECHO and NACHO, soon after expanding the scope of his collecting activities to include the records and periodicals of several gay, and some lesbian, organizations throughout the United States. During this period Gunnison founded his own organization, the Institute for Social Ethics (ISE), which he described as a "libertarian-oriented research facility and think tank for controversial social issues." Under the guise of ISE, Gunnison authored the pamphlet An Introduction to the Homophile Movement (1967).
In the early 1970s, Gunnison's interests and the direction of the ISE shifted. An avid cigar smoker, Gunnison turned his attention to smoker's rights and support for pro-smoking organizations. In 1984 he founded the American Puffer Alliance which he described as the first independent smokers liberation organization in the United States. The aim of the organization was to advocate for individual rights and the right of personal comfort. In 1985 APA began its annual Smoke-In Day, a counterdemonstration to the American Cancer Society's Smoke-Out Day. From 1992 to 1993, Gunnison authored a series of articles for American Smokers Journal entitled "A Smokers Manifesto."
Gunnison continued his association with the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America and smokers rights organizations through the 1970s and until his death in 1994.
55 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
From 1963 to 1975, Foster Gunnison, Jr. collected the records of the Eastern Conference of Homophile Organizations (ECHO), an early coalition of organizations seeking the creation of a national homophile organization, and the records of gay and lesbian organizations throughout the United States. He founded his own organization, the Institute for Social Ethics (ISE), "a libertarian-oriented research facility and think tank for controversial social issues", in the early 1960's. In 1967 Gunnison authored, and the ISE published, the pamphlet An Introduction to the Homophile Movement which outlined the history, aims and objectives of the movement and profiles of organizations active in the movement. The publication was subsequently presented to the Committee on Religion and Psychiatry of the American Psychiatric Association. The Foster Gunnison Papers are comprised of personal correspondence, organizational records, conference proceedings, student organization records, serial publications and periodicals, posters and fliers, buttons, newspaper clippings, and photographs.
Materials related to the homophile movement can be found in Series I, Series II, Series III, Series IV, and Series V. Smoker’s rights materials are located in Series II, Subseries B. Materials pertaining to Barber Shop Quartet organizations are located in Series VI. Each series contains correspondence that relate to that specific movement or organization. The exception is correspondence to/from the Institute for Social Ethics in regards to gay, lesbian and transgendered organizations and acitvities. This correspondences can be found in Series I: Personal Correspondence. All photographs are located in Series VII.
Series I: Personal Correspondence (1965-1994)
Series II: Institute for Social Ethics Archive (undated, 1956-1999)
Series III: North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO) (1966-1970)
Series IV: Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) and Eastern Conference of Homophile Organizations (ECHO) (1964-1973)
Series V: Morris Kight Papers (1969-1973)
Series VI: Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA) (undated, 1945, 1956-1993)
Series VII: Photographs (undated, 1958-1993)
The collection was donated in 1996 by Florence Gunnison Search, Foster Gunnison's sister.
The following titles associated with this collection have been cataloged:
GLSEN Connecticut Bulletin Board. New Haven, CT: GLSEN Connecticut Chapter. Periodical.
NATAP's Positive + Information. New York, NY: National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project. Periodical.
Vital Signs. San Francisco, CA: Health Initiatives for Youth (HIFY). Periodical.
96. Helsinki: Psyke ry. Periodical.
Affirmation. Evanston, Ill.: Affirmation, United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns. Periodical.
AHA Newsfile. Berlin: Allgemeine Homosexuelle Arbeitsgemeinschaft. Periodical.
Albany Trust Newsletter. London: Albany Trust. Periodical.
Amigo (Photography of Men). S.l.: s.n. Periodical.
The Beacon/S.R.G. Atascadero, CA: Atascadero State Hospital Social Recovery Group. Periodical.
Bob Damron's Address Book. San Francisco, CA: Bob Damron Enterprises. Periodical.
The Bulletin: An Adult Advertising Dating Publication for People with Various Lifestyles. Tacoma, WA: The Bulletin. Periodical.
Bulletin/Committee for Homosexual Equality. London: Committee for Homosexual Equality. Periodical.
The C.C. News. New York, NY: Corduroy Club. Periodical.
Calendar/Gay and Lesbian Pride Week. New York: CSLDC and CSFC. Periodical.
CHE: Bulletin of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. Manchester, UK: C.H.E. National Office. Periodical.
Come Together. Encino, CA: s.n. Periodical.
Come Together. London, UK: Gay Liberation Front. Periodical.
Dignity/USA Journal. Washington, DC: Dignity/USA. Periodical.
Direct Action for a Nonviolent World. Voluntown, CT: New England Committee for Nonviolent Action. Periodical.
Directory 43. Minneapolis. MN: Directory Services. Periodical.
The Directory, New England. Boston: Directory/New England. Periodical.
Directory of Clubs for Personal Contacts. Worldwide Culture Society, California, 1971.
Directory of Homosexual Organizations and Publications. Hollywood, CA: Homosexual Information Center. Periodical.
Dorian Society of Seattle: Newsletter and Calendar of Events. Seattle, WA: Dorian Society of Seattle. Periodical.
Entertainment West. Hollywood, CA: Entertainment West. Periodical.
Esplanade. Boston, MA: G.W. & M. Periodical.
F.L.O.W.E.R. Northampton, MA: Flower Foundation, Inc. Periodical.
G.A.A. Lifeline. San Francisco, CA: Gay Activists Alliance. Periodical.
Galvanize/Gay and Lesbian Visibility Alliance. Madison, WI: Gay and Lesbian Visibility Alliance. Periodical.
GAOC Offerings. New York, NY: G.A.O.C. Periodical.
Gay Flames: A Bulletin of the Homofire Movement. New York, NY: s.n. Periodical.
Gay Flames Pamphlet. New York. Periodical.
Gay Legislation News. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Caucus for Gay Legislation. Periodical.
Gay Liberation Front News. Seattle, WA: Gay Liberation Front. Periodical.
Gay New York Magazine. New York, NY: Ganymede Publications. Periodical.
Gay Party. Brooklyn, NY: Teddy Bear Publishing Co. Periodical.
Gay Rights Guardian. Los Angeles, CA: ACLU Gay Rights Chapter of Southern California. Periodical.
Gaylord. Columbus, OH: Gaylord Publishing. Periodical.
Gays on the Hill: Newsletter of the Washington Office, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Washington, DC: Washington Office, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Periodical.
Gayvoice/Gay Activists Alliance. San Francisco, CA: Gay Activists Alliance. Periodical.
GML Newsletter. Boston, MA: Gay Male Liberation? Periodical.
Grecian Guild Pictorial. Washington, DC: Grecian Guild. Periodical.
H2IQ--For Homosexuals of High IQ. New York, NY: Homosexuals of High IQ. Periodical.
Homophile Action League: Newsletter. Philadelphia, PA: Homophile Action League. Periodical.
In Unity: The Voice of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Los Angeles, CA: Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Periodical.
Informatie Bulletin Dialoog. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Stichting Dialoog. Periodical.
Insight. New York, NY: Dignity New York, Inc. Periodical.
International Guild Guide. Washington, DC: Guild Press. Periodical.
International Newsletter. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Dutch Society of Homosexuals COC. Periodical.
Jaarverslag. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Nederlandse Vereniging tot Integratie van Homoseksualiteit COC. Periodical.
Lavender Starship. Columbus, OH?: s.n. Periodical.
Lesbians Rising. New York, NY: Hunter College. Periodical.
Lunch. London, UK: s.n. Periodical.
M.C.C. Advance. Miami, FL: Metropolitan Community Church, Miami. Periodical.
M.G.P.C. News. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Gay Political Caucus. Periodical.
The Male. S.l.: s.n. Periodical.
Male Pose. New York: Darte Distributors. Periodical.
Malibu Sales Catalog. Los Angeles, CA: Malibu Sales. Periodical.
Mandrake. St. Louis, MO: Mandrake Society of Greater St. Louis. Periodical.
Mattachine Review Publications Catalog. San Francisco, CA: Publications Department, Mattachine Society, Inc.
Michael's Thing. New York, NY: Michael's Thing. Periodical.
The Mighty. San Diego, CA: Frontier Athletic Club. Periodical.
Modern Literature. Elmhurst, NY: Elysian Fields, Booksellers. Periodical.
Monthly Newsletter. Berkeley, CA: Sexual Freedom League. Periodical.
MPLS FREE. Minneapolis, MN: FREE: Gay Liberation of Minnesota. Periodical.
National Association of Black and White Men Together Newsletter: A Quarterly Publication of NA/BWMT, A Gay Multiracial Organization for All People. Westport, MA: National Association of Black and White Men Together. Periodical.
National News. Washington, DC: NF/PFG. Periodical.
National Newsletter of the Sexual Freedom League, Inc. Berkeley, CA: Sexual Freedom League. Periodical.
Newsletter, Society for Individual Rights of Ohio. Columbus, OH: SIR of Ohio Inc. Periodical.
Newsletter. San Francisco, CA: Daughters of Bilitis, San Francisco Chapter. Periodical.
Newsletter, Atascadero State Hospital Emotional Security Program. Atascadero, CA: Atascadero State Hospital. Periodical.
Newsletter. New York, NY: Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE). Periodical.
Newsletter, Tangent Group. Hollywood,CA: Tangents. Periodical.
Newsletter. Nashville, IN: American Association of Religious Crusaders. Periodical.
Newsletter. New York, NY: Daughters of Bilitis, NY Chapter. Periodical.
Newsletter, Homosexual Information Center. Hollywood, CA: The Center. Periodical.
Newsletter. Amsterdam, Holland: I.C.S.E. Periodical.
Newsletter. Chicago, IL: Mattachine Midwest. Periodical.
NGTF Action Report. New York, NY: National Gay Task Force. Periodical.
O-MPO: Organo del Movimento Politico Degli Omosessuali. Roma: Movimento. Periodical.
Out Magazine. Washington, DC: Out Enterprises. Periodical.
Pan/Forbundet af 1948. Copenhagen, Denmark: Pan. Periodical.
The Playboy Forum: An Interchange of Ideas Between Reader and Editor on Subjects Raised by "The Playboy Philosophy." Chicago, IL: HMN Publishing Co. Inc. Periodical.
Prince. S.l.: s.n. Periodical.
PRO-gram. Toledo, OH: PRO Toledo. Periodical.
PRO Toledo. Toledo, OH: PRO Toledo. Periodical.
The Rejected. John W. Reavis, Jr. Transcript of a National Educational Television Network Presentation, KQED, September 11, 1961.
Revolt. Åseda, Sweden: Revolt Press. Periodical.
Seattle Gay Liberation Front Newsletter. Seattle, WA: Seattle Gay Liberation Front. Periodical.
Special Fiction List. New York, NY: Village Theater Center Books. Periodical.
SPREE/The Society of Pat Rocco Enlightened Enthusiasts. Hollywood, CA: Society of Pat Rocco Enlightened Enthusiasts. Periodical.
Stonewall News. New York, NY: Stonewall News. Periodical.
Stonewall Report. Seattle, WA: Stonewall. Periodical.
Traveltalk. Rego Park, NY: Fountain Institute for Women. Periodical.
Upfront. Los Angeles, CA: s.n. Periodical.
UU Gay World. Washington, DC: U.U.G.C., All Souls Church, Unitarian. Periodical.
Vriendschap/Cultuur-en Ontspanningscentrum. Amsterdam, Netherlands: C.O.C. Cultuur-en Ontspanningscentrum. Periodical.
Where It's At. New York, NY: Downing's Where It's At Pub. Corp. Periodical.
Genre / Form
- Administrative records
- Financial Records
- Fliers (printed matter)
- Galley proofs
- Press releases
- Publications (documents)
- Speeches (documents)
- Broadsides (notices)
- Manuscripts (document genre)
- Minutes (administrative records)
- Foster Gunnison, Jr. Papers
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2007 July
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description