Archival Records: Guides

Finding aids, directories, inventories & other archival tools to help you see what we've got

In alphabetical order by the name of the person or group whose material each guide describes. (An initial "The" is ignored in alphabetization.)

There may be restrictions on access to some material listed in these guides. Details on such limitations -- honoured by us at the request of those who donate their records -- are noted in individual inventories, and in accession "case files" we consult before making information available.

The Records of the AIDS Committee of Toronto

Jay Cassel, 1991 and 1992
Founded in 1983, the AIDS Committee of Toronto is Canada's largest community- based AIDS organization. This guide is preliminary. Work continues on the material and on a more comprehensive inventory
See also "The Record of AIDS", from the Archives' Nov 1992 newsletter, offering an overview of community response to AIDS in Canada up to that time.

The Records of The Body Politic and Pink Triangle Press

Rick Bébout, 1988, 1996 and 1998
Originally done in 1988, this has been updated and considerably expanded for online use. But it remains primarily a source for the history of The Body Politic, published from 1971 to 1987. There's a historical overview, and commentaries leading off individual lists of accessions related to various parts of the operation. Appendices list significant people involved -- more than 500 in all.
The inventory consists of 40 web pages, many with images. For more on The Body Politic and Pink Triangle Press, see Related documents.

The Records of the Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT)

Paul Yee / Bob Krawczyk, ca. 1991
CHAT, founded in 1970, was Toronto's early all-purpose gay community group -- from which many other groups were born. Its records continue to 1978 and include business files, correspondence and phone logs. The inventory also offers a brief historical sketch. See also "The Archivist at Work", noting work on CHAT's records and outlining its history.

The Records of David W.

Bob Krawczyk
The records reflect W.'s interest and involvement over time in a wide variety of gay organizations, in particular the Mattachine Society of Upstate New York (in Buffalo), the Gay Caucus (later the Office of Gay Concerns) of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Gay Academic Union, Toronto's Out & Out Club and the Right to Privacy Committee.

The Records of Edward Jackson

Paul Leatherdale, 1999
Consists of records accumulated and maintained by Edward Jackson. The majority of the records relate to his role as Director of Education with the Aids Committee of Toronto (ACT), although several relate to his personal life. The records have been arranged into six series: administrative files, reference files, publications, moving image materials, sound recordings, and posters.

The Records of the Gay Alliance Toward Equality (Vancouver)

Bob Krawczyk, ca. 1992
GATE Vancouver was one of the earliest and most consistently radical gay liberation groups in Canada. Its publication, Gay Tide, became the focus of a long battle to advertise such papers in the mainstream media, culminating in the first gay-related case to reach the Supreme Court of Canada, in 1979.
This inventory is incomplete, but still offers some guidance to the material.

The Records of Gays of Ottawa

Bob Krawczyk, ca. 1992
Founded in Sep 1971 by, among others, Charles Hill (who had earlier been with Canada's first post Stonewall gay group, the University of Toronto Homophile Association), Gays of Ottawa (GO) remained for many years the focus of gay activism in Ottawa. And even across Canada: many records here pertain to GO's role as Coordinating Office of the National Gay Rights Coalition (1975-1980; by its end called the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Rights Coalition).
GO's newsletter Go Info, launched in 1972, became the city's gay community newspaper. Its premises housed a library and drop-in centre; it held dances and later ran a licenced bar. Part of this collection survived a 1979 fire that destroyed GO's first office, sparing only these files.
GO became ALGO (the Association of Lesbians and Gays of Ottawa) in 1989. The organization closed its doors in Sep 1995. But it left a legacy: the city's AIDS Committee, its Pink Triangle Services organization, and the Abiwin housing co-op can all trace their roots back a quarter century to the founding of Gays of Ottawa.

The Records of Michael Lynch

Bob Krawczyk, ca. 1991; Alan V. Miller, 1991 and 1997
Michael Lynch (1944-1991), teacher, poet, and gay father, was a ubiquitous activist: member of The Body Politic Collective; editor of the international Lesbian and Gay Studies Newsletter; co-founder of the AIDS Committee of Toronto and AIDS Action Now!; and the leading force behind Toronto's permanent AIDS Memorial.
Also listed in this inventory is some material on Bill Lewis (1950-1987), for whom there is also a separate set of records. Bill was with Gays for Equality Winnipeg in the early '70s. Later in Toronto, he served on The Body Politic Collective and was a co-founder of the AIDS Committee of Toronto. Bill was also a key AIDS researcher at the University of Toronto, up to his death in Sep 1987.

The Records of the Right to Privacy Committee

Bob Krawczyk, ca. 1991
The Right to Privacy Committee (RTPC) was born out of the December 9th Defence Fund, set up just after the 1978 police raid on Toronto's Barracks baths. It became one of the city's biggest and most active groups following the Feb 1981 Toronto bath raids, and coordinated defence efforts until related trials ended in 1985. The RTPC disbanded in 1991.
At the RTPC's request, access to much material in these records remains restricted. For more on the organization -- and on some key issues and events of its times -- see "Remembering the RTPC", written in 1991 and extensively annotated for online use.

The Records of Nick Sheehan

Bob Krawczyk, 1993
Toronto filmmaker Nick Sheehan's works include No Sad Songs, a 1985 feature about AIDS, and the 1995 reflection on gay love, Symposium. This extensive accession includes developmental material, screenplays, actual film, and audio records of Panavision, a radio work of Nick's from 1980-81.

What We Did and Why We Did It

(From the Cheap Seats at the Revolution: A Monlogue on TAG in the 1970s, With Entertaining Supplementary Harangues)
Peter Zorzi, ca. 1989
TAG -- Toronto Area Gays; later Toronto Area Gays and Lesbians -- began as a phone- counselling line and later ran a series of drop-in discussion groups. Peter's 114-page document covers its internal workings from its origin in 1975 to 1979, with some additional information to the end of 1983. It also includes a detailed 54-page inventory of TAG files donated to the Archives by Peter and his lover Charlie Dobie. See also Peter's Queer Catharsis, below.

Finding Aid to the Records of The Woman's Common of Metropolitan Toronto

Barb Crisp, 1995
Begun with the dream of "a home of our own" and the hope of providing a calmer alternative to the existing bar scene, The Woman's Common opened at 580 Parliament Street on Jun 25, 1988. A club and restaurant run solely by and for women, The Common also hosted many cultural events. At its height it had 1,600 paid members, but after years of tumult -- and burnout -- it closed its doors in Apr 1994. These records track issues behind its initial success -- and its ultimate demise.

Queer Catharsis: Notes for an Anecdotal Guide to Canadian Gay Archives Accession [of] Charles Dobie and Peter Zorzi

Peter Zorzi, 1992
This 164-page document covers Peter and Charlie's involvement in Toronto gay activism from the late 1960s, with reference to material held in their 1988 accession. Among the organizations noted here: Guerilla, an early alternative paper; the Community Homophile Association of Toronto; its "radical" spin-off, Toronto Gay Action (TGA); The Body Politic -- born out of TGA, with Peter and Charlie founding members of the paper's editorial collective; Toronto Area Gays; the Coalition for Gay Rights in Ontario -- and many more.
As well as outlining files and their contents, Peter tells many stories about the players and politics of the day. His "anecdotes" form a powerful personal narrative covering crucial years of action, resistance and growing community strength. His take on the Feb 1981 Toronto bath raids -- calling up memories of police harassment going back decades -- is gripping. A wonderfully human historical resource.

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