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Saturday, November 2, 2013

OSU Scholars Archive has PDF of OSU gay history from OutHistory dot org

Thomas Kraemer OSU gay history as posted in in 2010

PHOTO: scanned image, as originally posted in 2010, of my OSU gay history: Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University Gay Activism 1969-2004," posted May 6, 2010, which started by showing a two-page newspaper story from 1976 of Corvallis gay women coming out and wanting to get married. It was donated for public use to the Web site started by gay historian Jonathan Ned Katz at the City University of New York and then moved in 2013 to Prof. John D'Emilio at the University of Illinois Chicago, where a new Web site design broke the permanent link to it and the accessibility features built into modern browsers and PDF readers. To make it more accessible to OSU students and the public, my original history, including the embedded accessibility text, as it was printed to PDF in 2010, is available via the permanent handle URI: that redirects to the page Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," Oregon State University ScholarsArchive@OSU Oct. 26, 2013. (See ScholarsArchive@OSU -- FAQ for Center for Digital Scholarship and Services and their PDF brochure, plus the student newspaper story by "Freeware for mind: Open Access hits OSU", posted Oct. 15, 2013 printed as Gabi Scottaline, "Open source academia: Open Acess at OSU," The Daily Barometer, Oct. 16, 2013, p. 7)

Note: The Web page Oregon State University "Pride Center History," accessed Nov. 1, 2013, still includes an older link to the OutHistory piece by Thomas Kraemer. Also see my donations to the "Collections Pertaining to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People in Oregon," Oregon State University Archives accessed Oct. 19, 2013 that has stored some original printed copies of Thomas Kraemer Speech and Blog -- History of OSU Gay Student Groups 1976-2006, as documented through a speech and blog by Thomas Kraemer -- see previous postThomas Kraemer, "OSU queer history month speech," posted Sep. 30, 2006 that also has an old broken link to my OutHistory piece.

Another thing lost in the move to the new Web site were the excellent comments by Brian S. Varley, BA OSU 1986, who asked why I hadn't included more history from the 1980's to 1990's -- I agree and I had hoped to add to this history, but my health may force me to leave this task to somebody else -- doing this history would make a good Masters thesis topic for a student. I am glad that I did the older history first because it required me months of work to exhaustively read every local newspaper to find things that were not indexed anywhere. I would hope that the more recent events will be easier to find using more modern digital indexing methods. The reason I decided to do the older history first was I had been humbled by meeting with pre-Stonewall gay pioneers whose history I had ignored when I was younger. In particular, Randy Wicker and Jack Nichols both gave me a much broader view of gay history. (See previous post Jack Nichols biography with blurb of my book review (2/17/13))

Some specific people and events that Brian S. Varley mentioned included Karune Neustadt, Rev. Lois Van Leer, Merry and Harry Demarest, Annabelle Jarmillo, Attorney Jeanne Smith (who I should note wrote Thomas Kraemer's will and OSU foundation legal documents) Tom and Kip and others who were involved in fighting the Oregon Citizen's Alliance anti-gay Ballot Measure 8 that later was declared unconstitutional and followed by Measures 9, 13, 19, and 02-06. Measure 8 led to the rise of a group called "After 8" that hosted the Harvey Milk Award Event in Corvallis. Brian noted how the mid 1980's brought official support of the OSU Associated Students Group funding in 1984-1985. Brian and Evee were the GALA Presidents who were encouraged by the GLBT leaders he named as Tom, Kipp and Eddie Hickey. The many articles in the local newspaper and student newspaper need to be found and catalogued -- I had to spend several months full time in the OSU Archives and do exhaustive searches by reading every issue spanning many years to get the documents seen in my history. Brian recalled how in the mid 1990's how Neustadt and Rev. Lois Van Leer's relationship went public nationally when they appeared on TV and in print, including the Phil Donahue TV show and Time Magazine. He noted that their public exposure resulted in frequent death threats. In 1992, the Corvallis City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which he added seems like nothing today, but he joined others holding signs in front of City Hall. Brian didn't mention it, but another more recent thing I wanted to document, but I was only able to mention in the timeline, is all of the work leading up to the OSU Pride Center and the changing notions of gay or queer students.

Ironically, when I started writing my history of OSU in 2000, the items Brian mentioned seemed like recent events and I felt an obligation to dig deeper into the past and provide a broader perspective of gay history to OSU students. The opportunity I had to talk to some early pre-Stonewall gay pioneers made me realize how each generation likes to think everything is new and they often miss the common threads of human nature that have existed for all time. The more recent events that Brain mentioned are important and need to be documented as part of OSU gay history.

My history received many views after it was mentioned in the student newspaper opinion piece by Irene Drage, "Rainbows, glitter, short-shorts in the pride parade," Barometer, Tuesday, June 4, 2013 (Irene Drage is a senior in English). Drage mentions that Thomas Kraemer is the founding benefactor of OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund for research concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity. She describes how she learned that LGBT people rarely have a family member who can pass on their cultural history like other minority children usually have.

Kristina Schafer of Portland, Oregon also called me to give me positive feedback -- she plans to send me a letter via U.S. email so that I can send her my OSU History.

See previous post Thomas Kraemer, "OSU professor recognized equality hypocrisy decades ago," posted Jun. 5, 2012 to see the copy of a letter signed by Oregon State University Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture W. Dorr Legg that was scanned from the original paper OSU personnel files that are now stored on microfiche in the OSU Archives, Corvallis, Oregon. Karl McCreary of the OSU Archives was able to show me Legg's OSU personnel file and give me a copy under an Oregon Public Records law concerning older files becoming public after enough time. This letter proved Legg resigned from OSU during World War II, when the student population had dropped, and he became a Christian minister at the military Camp Adair in Corvallis. This file eliminated the confusion that some back East historians had concerning whether Dorr was a Professor at OSU or at the University of Oregon. Also, the gay activist Michal Petrelis filed a Freedom of Information request with the FBI that showed the source of this confusion about Legg -- Legg's FBI file erroneously stated Eugene, when all of the addresses the FBI documented where Dorr lived were clearly in Corvallis and not Eugene. See previous post "FBI files on gay OSU professor 1956" (7/7/10).

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