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LGBTQ+ Archives Come to UCSB Library

LGBTQ+ Archives Come to UCSB Library
The Pacific Pride Foundation donates decades-old posters, t-shirts, newspapers, and photos from Pride events including marches and film festivals. (Photo by Harrison Wayne / Staff Photographer)

Peter Bayerle

The UCSB Library has received a donation of historical LGBTQ+ documents from Pacific Pride Foundation, an independent non-profit based in downtown Santa Barbara.

The archive was donated last September and includes an extensive collection of LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS materials from the past 40 years of Pacific Pride Foundation’s history of social activism.

“There’s a lot of different types of materials represented,” said Danelle Moon, director of UCSB Special Research Collections, in an interview with The Bottom Line. “Letters, photographs, written reports, visual materials: anything documenting the big activities that have been a part of the organization.”

Pacific Pride Foundation has played an instrumental role in local HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ activism since its founding in the mid-1970s. The organization provides residents of Santa Barbara County and coastal California with education opportunities, health services, and support programs. Their recent donation of documents and artifacts will serve as the foundation for the UCSB Library’s Special Research Collections LGBTQ+ archive.

“We had a lot of materials that we were proud to have,” said Executive Director of Pacific Pride Foundation Colette Schabram to The Bottom Line. “But people couldn’t find them easily, or they…couldn’t look at them in a public setting. We’re a transparent and open non-profit, so the more people can know about us and our history — both as a non-profit and an arm of the LGBTQ community in general — it just helps us further our mission.”

Pacific Pride Foundation and the UCSB Library hope that the recent donation will be a valuable resource in the study of Santa Barbara’s history of LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS activism.

“We believe these records will be an important resource for off- and on-campus researchers,” said Zak Liebhaber, a UCSB Library archiving processing specialist, to The Bottom Line. “While the focus of the collection is on LGBTQ+ history in Santa Barbara and, more broadly, the Central Coast of California, the materials may prove useful in comparing our region with LGBTQ+ communities elsewhere.”

“I think there will be a lot of opportunities for people to learn about our particular community here,” Moon said. “This component will…tell the story of Santa Barbara’s gay community in context to what was happening in San Francisco, San Jose, and LA. It provides another representation of the LGBTQ experience in California.”

News of the Pacific Pride Foundation’s donation has led others in the Santa Barbara community to donate their own LGBTQ+ materials to the UCSB Library.

“We keep getting calls from other groups and individuals who are interested in donating more materials,” Moon said. “I think…it’s going to bring in a lot more contributions to grow our…research collection for our campus and for scholars interested in writing about the LGBTQ experience.”

Liebhaber described the Santa Barbara community’s reaction to the donation as “fantastic.”

We’ve had multiple donations since first announcing the collection,” Liebhaber said. “It’s been great to see the collection grow so quickly.”

Pacific Pride Foundation will continue to expand and update its archives. “We’re continuing to build the archives throughout this whole year,” Schabram said. “We’re working on a second donation right now…We have 30 or so boxes full of content that are going to go to the archive this spring.”

Pacific Pride Foundation encourages all students, staff, and members of the Santa Barbara community to donate historical LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS documents to the UCSB Special Research Collections archive.

Pacific Pride Foundation’s donation is available for viewing at the UCSB Special Research Collection located on the third floor of the library.  

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