Archivist of the United States David Ferriero

Archivist of the United States David Ferriero

The Archivist of the United States David Ferriero will be speaking to The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., May 21, at a reception to be announced in Washington. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Presidential Libraries it oversees are making great strides in uncovering and sharing LGBT-related documents and materials. Most recently, the JFK Presidential Library released a trove of letters to President Kennedy from Frank Kameny. The Eisenhower Presidential Library has published a finding aid for LGBT-related documents in its possession. We are looking forward to learning more about NARA and yet-to-be-discovered materials from this distinguished librarian and archivist.

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Vincenz Papers now open at the Library of Congress

Vincenz Papers now open at the Library of Congress

Lilli Vincenz’ archive, more than 10,000 items, is now available to researchers, students and the media at the nation’s Library. Lilli deserves our thanks for this gift… and deep appreciation for her activism over decades. The Library of Congress has done amazing work organizing the materials into more than 30 boxes.

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The Case That Changed Everything and the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.  by Brookings scholar and author Jon Rauch.

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Eric and Inga Julber: Ready to celebrate Eric’s 90th

Eric and Inga Julber:  Ready to celebrate Eric's 90th...

On the eve of his 90th birthday, retired attorney Eric Julber at home in Carmel, is proud of his 1958 landmark Supreme Court victory in “ONE” v Oleson–the case that affirmed free speech for homosexuals. Julber fought for “ONE”‘s right to use the U.S. mail, in the face of personal teasing, hard politics and a “timid” ACLU. “It was enough to win the thing. That’s all I cared about.”

“Let people hate all they want,” says Julber, “as long as what they publish is the truth…let it come out in the open, debate it. Let others come on with contrary facts. Always allow the right for it to be expressed and debated.”   Julber has not read Jonathan Rauch’s just-reissued “Kindly Inquisitors, The New Attacks on Free Thought”, which explains these ideas for our time.  (Everyone else should.)  He lived it.

“People should be free to say anything they want. If it’s too stupid, it will be rejected by the listener,” he says.

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“ONE” Ban’s Sixtieth: The birth of LGBT free speech

The Order

Sixty years ago, the U.S. Postal Service launched an all-out attack on gay speech....and lost.

Sixty years ago, the U.S. Postal Service launched an all-out attack on gay speech….and lost.

Newly discovered original documents at the One Archives at the University of Southern California Libraries reveal inspiring editorial and personal courage backed by a stand-up young lawyer into civil liberties : then Los Angeles-based attorney Eric Julber.

Formed by members of the original Mattachine Society in Los Angeles, “ONE” was the first gay and lesbian magazine of ideas with contributors like Norman Mailer, going far beyond the oldtime “physique” magazines of the day. In October, 1954, the U.S. Postal Service declared “ONE”  obscene,lewd, lascivious and filthy, revoking its permit to use the U.S. mail. This was a death sentence for a magazine….and gay and lesbian speech. No speech. No movement.  Back to the bars and classified advertising.

The cover story of the October, 1954 issue was a legal feature entitled “You Can’t Print It!” on government censorship and gay content by Julber.

The Minutes of the ONE Corporation reveal the severity of the situation faced by Julber and the ONE editorial staff. “Counsel stated possibility that Post Office may try to detain the December All-fiction issue, not merely for confiscation, but as a basis for criminal prosecution….December is still a postal risk, even though it will be mailed sealed first class, in its entirety”.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled against “ONE” in March, 1956, declaring “ONE” obscene, but went one chilling step further (link above). “The suggestion advanced that homosexuals should be recognized as a segment of our people and be accorded special privilege as a class is rejected,” wrote Judge Thurmond Clarke.

The newly discovered Minutes of “ONE”‘s meeting in 1957, show the determination and vision that belong in textbooks to come. Eric Julber “described his own shock at the ruling, at the intensity of the prejudice, even at highest levels. He felt strongly that, win or lose, we ought to take this case to the Supreme Court. That we must work for the right of homosexuals to freedom of speech and press…..After two unseconded motions, (it was) moved ‘That we continue fighting our case to the Supreme Court’. Eric said that IF the Supreme Court ruling SHOULD go against us, we would have to pull in our horns a bit and go ahead. Motion carried unanimously. Question of how to feature case was left up to the Editorial Board.” (Minutes for Corporation Meeting, 3/18/57)

“ONE”, represented pro bono by Julber, who himself was not gay, won at the Supreme Court in January, 1958.  Still sounding strong and very clear about this 1954 case in January, 2014 living in Carmel, California, Julber says he came to the case, pro bono, because of his commitment to civil liberties.

What we want to know, in 2014: who was running this operation in Washington, D.C.? Certainly not the LA postmaster. Likely it was the boss, Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, an Eisenhower political appointee, perhaps on orders. We will be researching this piece of our deleted political past. ONE Archives Director Joseph Hawkins believes it was an attempted “mid-century erasure” of homosexuality and any shred of gay or lesbian political identity. “Obscenity” was just the lewd cover story.

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Wells Fargo Salutes The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.

Wells Fargo Salutes The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.

Wells Fargo is brilliant. The bank created an exciting mural in a Washington, D.C. branch featuring pickets from the old Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., led by founder Frank Kameny. At this booming branch near Dupont Circle, gay and straight customers alike appreciate the connection to the community.

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Simpson v Joe McCarthy: Mattachine Sponsors Mock Trial of Senators McCarthy, Bridges and Welker

Click below to hear Senator Alan Simpson

Simpson v Joe McCarthy

Senator Alan Simpson (ret.-WY) addresses the courtroom (October 23): “Americans need to know this story!” (to Defense Counsel Mindy Daniels and her client Joe McCarthy,played by Ed Senn)

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