Celebrate Henry Gerber’s Birthday by helping preserve erotica

Can you imagine a world without access to LGBTQ publications and erotica?

Almost 100 years ago, that was the world of Henry Gerber.

In 1924, Henry Gerber founded in Chicago the first U.S. gay rights organization: The Society for Human Rights (SHR). He hoped for SHR and its newsletter “Friendship and Freedom” to foster a homosexual emancipation movement in the U.S. that he had experienced in Germany.

But that was not to be. Due to a lead from a member’s daughter, the police arrested Henry and other members. Only two issues of “Friendship and Freedom” had been printed. The organization was dissolved and Henry lost his job and moved away from Chicago (for more on the story, visit here).

Thankfully, in the following decades, a whole new world opened up in which LGBTQ publications, literature, and erotica could be widely produced and disseminated. What was once criminal became commonplace.

What once caused Henry to be arrested, we now celebrate with PRIDE.

In honor of Henry’s June 29th birthday, Gerber/Hart Library and Archives is asking for your help to preserve a group of publications that have become a significant source of pride and joy in LGBTQ life and history

It’s time to #CelebrateHenry!

Gerber/Hart Library and Archives is home to a significant erotica periodicals collection (over 900 titles). While the tantalizing cover photos may have often sold the issues, the articles inside are just as titillating for researchers: they record the development and history of culture through photography, interviews, book reviews, and descriptions of LGBTQ life in a wide spectrum of cities.

For the long-term preservation and future use of these periodicals by researchers, proper archival quality boxes are critical. 160 linear feet in the erotica periodicals collection remains to be rehoused, and are in danger of the ravages of time without necessary resources.

It costs approximately $2,750 to purchase the proper periodical holders to rehouse the remainder of erotica periodicals collection.

Save us!!

Help Gerber/Hart preserve LQBTQ erotica by donating today. Any amount is welcome and appreciated. Here are some suggested levels:

Preservation by the Shelf:
$30: Preserve ½ shelf
$60: Preserve 1 shelf
$120: Preserve 2 shelves

Preservation by the Collection:
$45: The Lesbian Collections: On Our Backs, Black Lace, Fat Girls, Lessie Smut
$140: The “Swinging 60’s and Beyond” Collections: Queen’s Quarterly, Ciao!, Body, Blueboy
$225: The Advocate/LPI Collections: Advocate Men/Men, Advocate Classifieds/Unzipped/[2], Freshmen
$350: The “Macho” Collections: Honcho, Torso, Mandate

Every donation to Gerber/Hart from June 1 – June 30, 2021 will help us compete for added dollars through Give OUT Day! Please spread the word to help your support go even further toward our mission. Thank you!