Dan Siminoski collection on Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance of gays and lesbians
Scope and Contents
The Dan Siminoski Collection on Federal Bureau of Investigation Surveillance of Gays and Lesbians comprises materials received, collected, and created by Siminoski as a consequence of his 1982 request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and subsequent 1983 lawsuit, for copies of FBI documents relating to the Bureau's surveillance of gays and lesbians from 1950 to 1982. These materials include photocopies of approximately 2,200 documents (7,000 pages) from FBI Headquarters and various regional offices, relating primarily to the Daughters of Bilitis, Gay Activists Alliance, Gay Liberation Front, and the Mattachine Society, as well as indexes, summaries, and various statistical analyses of these documents. The materials also include Siminoski's correspondence with the FBI and with his legal counsel, the legal filings in the case, litigation correspondence between counsel for both parties, drafts by Siminoski and his counsel of various legal filings, additional attorney notes and drafts, and materials relating to Siminoski's lawsuit and to his speaking tour and media campaign to publicize it. The collection contains materials collected by Siminoski relating to the implementation of the FOIA by federal law enforcement agencies, in particular the FBI, including photocopies of extensive portions of FBI Headquarters file 190-3, relating to the impact of the FOIA and the Privacy Act on law enforcement activities. Personal and professional materials in the collection include personal correspondence not directly connected with the FOIA request and lawsuit; copies and drafts of scholarly articles, conference presentations, Siminoski's syndicated column for Stonewall Features, and pieces for The News and The Advocate; Siminoski's academic vita; and his will.
- 1953-2001 (bulk 1953-1986)
- Majority of material found within 1953 - 1986
- Siminoski, Dan (Person)
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Dan Siminoski was born in Los Angeles on January 1, 1947, to a progressive family. He displayed his commitment to human rights at an early age, when he co-chaired Mid-City Youth Against Proposition 14, a state-wide initiative to invalidate the California Fair Housing Law. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley, where he was involved in the Free Speech and anti-war movements and became the Berkeley co-chairman of Senator Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign; he received a BA in Political Science and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1968. Before entering graduate school, Siminoski served as a staff investigator for the Fair Campaign Practices Committee in Washington, DC, and then as legislative aid to Senator Wayne Morse. He earned his MA with honors in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1970, when he was also awarded a Ford Fellowship. His doctoral research brought Siminoski back to Los Angeles where he came out in 1973 and became active in gay rights causes. In 1976-1977, he was an Instructor in the Social Sciences Department at Long Beach City College. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1978. In 1979-1980, he was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Arizona State University, and in 1980-1981, he held the same position at the University of Missouri St. Louis. He was appointed Visiting Lecturer in Political Science at Texas Tech University in 1981.
His long-held interest in gay and lesbian civil rights led Siminoski to file a request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on October 22, 1982, for copies of all FBI Headquarters and field office records relating to the surveillance of gays and lesbians from 1950 to 1982. When the FBI failed to comply with the request fully and in a timely manner, Siminoski, represented by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, filed suit against the Bureau in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, on October 11, 1983. Simultaneously, Siminoski, who had left teaching and moved to Los Angeles in the late summer of 1983 to devote himself full-time to the impending lawsuit, launched Siminoski vs. FBI 1984 , a speaking tour and media campaign to publicize his case. Although the FBI began releasing documents in quantity to him by the end of the first quarter of 1984, Siminoski continued his case on the grounds that the documents were unnecessarily redacted. In late 1984, Siminoski, whose project had found a home at Jim Kepner s International Gay and Lesbian Archives (formerly Western Gay Archives) at 1654 North Hudson St., initiated the Freedom of Information Project. The purpose of this project was to analyze the documents released by the FBI and to gather signed and notarized Privacy Act Waiver Forms from leading gay activists, with the intention of turning his legal action into a class action lawsuit and expanding the scope of the FBI records sought. Although Siminoski collected properly executed Privacy Act Waiver Forms from a number of prominent gay activists, this latter purpose was not realized.
In 1986, Siminoski, who had supported himself since leaving teaching as a free-lance political consultant and syndicated columnist, withdrew for health reasons from active participation in the lawsuit. In 1988, he earned a master's degree in Social Work from California State University Long Beach. He now lives in San Diego. In November 1988, Ralph J. Geffen, acting as Special Master, reported favorably on most of Siminoski's legal claims; however, many of his recommendations were overruled by Judge William D. Keller in his decision of January 1990, which was not appealed.
7.5 Linear Feet (19 boxes.)
Language of Materials
The collection comprises materials received, collected, and created by Dan Siminoski in the course of prosecuting his 1982 request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the subsequent 1983 lawsuit, for copies of FBI documents relating to the Bureau's surveillance of gays and lesbians from 1950 to 1982. The materials include photocopies of approximately 2,200 documents (7,000 pages) from FBI Headquarters and various regional offices, relating primarily to the Daughters of Bilitis, Gay Activists Alliance, Gay Liberation Front, and the Mattachine Society, as well as indexes, summaries, and various statistical analyses of these documents. Additional materials include the legal filings in the case, litigation correspondence, drafts by Siminoski and his counsel of various legal filings, and materials relating to Siminoski's speaking tour and media campaign to publicize his lawsuit. Personal and professional materials in the collection include personal correspondence, copies and drafts of scholarly articles, conference presentations, Siminoski's syndicated column for Stonewall Features, and pieces for other publications; his academic vita; and his will.
Gift of Dan Siminoski, January 30, 2002
Formerly housed in boxes 103-092, 103-204, 103-304, 103-05, 103-348, 103-350, 103-357, 104-001, 104-028, and 104-029. Collection processed by Michael Palmer, February, 2007; revised June 18, 2007.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
- American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
- Daughters of Bilitis
- East Coast Homophile Organizations
- Gay Activists Alliance
- Gay Liberation Front/Los Angeles
- Gay rights -- United States -- History -- 20th century
- Lesbian rights -- United States -- History -- 20th century
- Mattachine Society
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (U.S.)
- One, Inc
- Radical Lesbians
- Society for Individual Rights
- United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Finding aid of the Dan Siminoski collection on Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance of gays and lesbians
- Michael P. Palmer
- © 2007
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in: English
- Edition statement
- Revised edition.