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Jim Kepner papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Coll2011-002

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of approximately 39 linear feet of materials created or collected by gay and lesbian historian, writer and activist, Jim Kepner (1923-1997). The materials include manuscripts, correspondence, diaries, meeting minutes and organizational records, notebooks, photographs, computer disks, textiles and memorabilia that Kepner created or collected throughout his lifetime. The bulk of this collection reflects Kepner's activities in collecting materials and writing about the gay and lesbian community beginning in the 1940s. As a highly active member in the gay and lesbian liberation movement, this collection also includes records documenting the activities of several gay and lesbian organizations including, but not limited to, ONE, Incorporated, Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE), Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile, Metropolitan Community Church, Gay Community Alliance, Gay Liberation Front, Christopher Street West and the Gay Community Services Center.

The collection is divided into twelve series:

Series 1: Personal, includes resumes, appointment books, clippings, correspondence and other material related to Kepner's daily activities, education, employment, health, real estate, selective service and other personal matters.

Series 2: Autobiographies, includes Kepner's autobiographical manuscripts and personal newsletters. One of these manuscripts, My First 75 Years of Gay Liberation, provides a yearly account of Kepner's involvement in the gay and lesbian rights movement.

Series 3: Writings on gay and lesbian history, includes Kepner's book manuscripts, as well as published and unpublished articles and essays on gay and lesbian history and biographies of historical figures.

Series 4: Pursuit & Symposium, includes records related to the homophile magazine that Kepner created and published from 1966-1967.

Series 5: Science fiction, includes publications, manuscripts, minutes and correspondence related to Kepner's participation in science fiction fan clubs and collectives, mostly during the 1940s and early 1950s.

Series 6: Other writings, includes Kepner's fiction, poetry and gay men's erotica.

Series 7: Journals, notebooks and notes, includes diaries, journals, notebooks and miscellaneous (mostly handwritten) notes.

Series 8: Correspondence, consists of Kepner's personal correspondence.

Series 9: Gay and lesbian studies and activism, includes educational course material on gay and lesbian studies and Kepner's participation in numerous gay and lesbian organizations and political committees.

Series 10: Photographs, includes photographs of Kepner with other individuals, as well as photos of science fiction fan gatherings, and photos of Kepner's sister, Ella Nora.

Series 11: Computer disks, consists of 5 1/4-inch floppy disks, 3 1/2-inch diskettes, zip disks and compact discs documenting Kepner's writings and organizational records.

Series 12: Awards, clothing and memorabilia, includes award plaques, personalized clothing and personal objects collected by Kepner.


  • 1933-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 1997



The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish material must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives as the physical owner of the material. Note that permission to publish does not constitute copyright clearance. ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials from the copyright holder(s).


James Lynn Kepner Jr. was found as an abandoned infant in Galveston, Texas, on September 19, 1923. He was adopted by a railroad worker, James Kepner Sr., and his wife, Mary Christina Peterson Kepner. By 1930, Kepner gained a sister, Ella Nora. Upon graduating from Ball High School in Galveston, Kepner worked in a variety of jobs, including Western Union messenger, waiter and office clerk.

Around 1942, Kepner moved to San Francisco with his father and sister, where he began seeking out gay and lesbian communities and any books or materials related to gay and lesbian issues. During his time in San Francisco--and for two years in New York--Kepner worked as a copy boy or film reviewer for newspapers such as the New York Daily Worker (1946-1948) and People's World (1948). In addition, Kepner also became actively involved in science fiction fan clubs, and in 1943-1945, he edited his first publication, Toward Tomorrow, a science fiction fan magazine. In 1950, Kepner co-founded and operated the bookstore, Books on Telegraph Hill, but the company went out of business in 1951.

Following the close of the bookstore, Kepner moved to Los Angeles, where he continued to collect gay and lesbian material and stay involved with science fiction fan groups. Kepner also began attending meetings of a gay and lesbian "homophile" group known as the Mattachine Society. In 1953, a political schism in the Mattachine Society led Kepner to depart from Mattachine, and he began working with ONE, Inc., which produced the national homophile publication, ONE Magazine. For several years, Kepner continued his involvement with ONE, serving on the magazine's editorial board; writing articles (often under pseudonyms, including Lyn Pedersen, Dal McIntire and Frank Golovitz); expanding ONE's library; developing classes in gay studies; and helping to start ONE's scholarly journal, ONE Institute Quarterly of Homophile Studies.

In 1960, Kepner attended Los Angeles City College and also worked as a cab driver. By the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, Kepner became increasingly involved with the development of the gay and lesbian liberation movement. He was a founding member or board member of numerous gay and lesbian organizations, including ONE, Southern California Council on Religion & the Homophile (CRH), Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE), Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), Gay Community Alliance (GCA), Society of Pat Rocco Enlightened Enthusiasts (SPREE), Christopher Street West (CSW), Gay Liberation Front (GLF), Gay Community Services Center (GCSC), IMRU gay radio collective, Celebration Theatre, and others.

At the same time, Kepner increased his efforts in collecting gay and lesbian material and writing about gay and lesbian experience. In 1966, Kepner created and published Pursuit & Symposium, a homophile magazine that printed only two issues due to financial problems. For two decades, Kepner continued to write articles and columns for several (primarily gay) newspapers and magazines, including The Advocate, Entertainment West, Frontiers, In Touch, and Newswest. Developing his reputation as a gay historian, Kepner also began making presentations on gay and lesbian history and teaching a course on gay and lesbian studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Experimental College.

In 1972, after amassing a large library of gay- and lesbian-related books and other materials in his Torrance, California, apartment, Kepner began allowing researchers access to his collection. In 1975, he named it the Western Gay Archives. In 1979, a board of directors was created, the collection was incorporated as the National Gay Archives, and the materials were housed in an office on Hudson Street in Hollywood, California. The archives changed its name to the International Gay & Lesbian Archives: Natalie Barney/Edward Carpenter Library in 1984.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Kepner continued to operate the International Gay & Lesbian Archives, participate in gay and lesbian activism, and write several manuscripts on gay and lesbian history. One of his books, Rough News, Daring Views, was published by Haworth Press in the last year of Kepner's life. Kepner died following emergency surgery on November 15, 1997.


Box 1, Folder 1, Jim Kepner Papers, Coll2011-002, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

Cain, Paul D. Leading the Parade: Conversations with America's Most Influential Lesbians and Gay Men. Boston: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2002.

Potvin, Ernie. "Remembering Jim Kepner." Celebrating Jim Kepner's Life and the Past 50 Years of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement, 1998.

List of Pseudonyms

Lyn Pedersen

Dal McIntire

Dalvan McIntire

Frank Golovitz

Jack Muller

Jack Miller

J.K. Short

J.K. Long

J.K. Symes-Horvath

Jean Arnold

John Arnold

Arlen Coger

Dalvin Arthur

Dr. Fecal de Chevreaux

Jim Taylor

Ronald Greyson

Francis Leach


40.4 Linear Feet (62 archive cartons + 1 archive binder + 3 oversize flat archive boxes + 1 oversize envelope.)

Language of Materials



Manuscripts, correspondence, diaries, minutes and organizational records, notebooks, science fiction writings, poetry, erotica, educational material, photographs, computer disks, textiles, ephemera and memorabilia from writer, historian and gay activist, Jim Kepner (1923-1997). Founder of the Western Gay Archives (later renamed the National Gay Archives and then the International Gay & Lesbian Archives), Kepner began collecting gay- and lesbian-related material in the 1940s and began writing about the gay and lesbian community in the 1950s. A highly active participant in the gay liberation movement, Kepner has been a founding member or board member of numerous gay and lesbian rights organizations, including ONE, Incorporated, PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education), Gay Community Alliance, Gay Liberation Front, Metropolitan Community Church, Christopher Street West, Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile, and the Gay Community Services Center. The bulk of this collection consists of Kepner's writings, including autobiographies; non-fiction books and essays about the gay and lesbian community; science fiction publications; journals and notebooks; as well as fiction, poetry and erotica. The collection also consists of Kepner's extensive correspondence files; class material for courses he taught in gay and lesbian studies; and minutes and organizational material for the many organizations in which he has been involved throughout his life.

Other Finding Aids

International Gay & Lesbian Archives records, Coll2011-008, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California

Acquisition Information

Materials in this collection were created and collected by Jim Kepner, founder of the International Gay & Lesbian Archives (IGLA). In 1994, IGLA merged with ONE Institute to form the organization renamed ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives. Materials from Kepner's estate were transferred to ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives following his death in 1997. In addition, a portion of this collection was donated by Bill Kaiser on January 12, 2002.

Related Materials

ONE Incorporated records, Coll2011-001, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California

Separated Materials

Published versions of Jim Kepner's erotic writings have been separated from this collection and cataloged into the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives' periodicals collection. In addition, the following publications have been separated from this collection:

A Book of Commandments, for the Government of the Church of Christ. Independence: Herald House, 1972.

The Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1991.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam Tenth Canto-Part Two. “The Summun Bonum” (Part Two—Chapters 6-12). New York: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

Bucaille, Maurice. The Bible, The Qur’an and Science.

Campbell, Byram. The New Mythology of Racial Equality. New York: The Truth Seeker Company, Inc., 1963.

Chesham, Sallie. Born to Battle: The Salvation Army in America. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1965.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints.The Old Testament/ The New Testament/ The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ/ The Doctrine and Covenants & The Pearl of Great Price: Boxed Set.

Clymer, Swinburne. The Rosicrucians in America: The False vs. The True Order of the Rosy Cross. Quakertown: The Rosicrucian Foundation.

Grant, Madison. The Passing of the Great Race. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916.

Howe, E.D. Mormonism Unvailed. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1834.

Judd, Peter A. and A. Bruce Lindgren. Who Are the Saints? An Introduction to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Independence: Herald Publishing House, 1985.

The Legend of Kyrandia. Book Two. Irvine: Virgin Interactive Entertainment, 1994. [CD Rom and Game Manual].

Murray, Gilbert. Five Stages of Greek Religion. London, Eng: Watts & Co., 1946.

Prophet, Mark L. and Elizabeth Clare Prophet. The Lost Teachings of Jesus. Livingston: Summit University Press, 1986.

Putnam, Carleton. Race and Reality: A Search for Solutions. Cape Canaveral: Howard Allen, 1967.

Putnam, Carleton. Race and Reason: A Yankee View. Cape Canaveral: Howard, Allen, 1961.

Segond, Louis. Le Nouveau Testament. Paris: Imprime en Angleterre, 1956.

Smith, Morton. The Secret Gospel: The Discovery and Interpretation of the Secret Gospel According to Mark. Clearlake: The Dawn Horse Press, 1982.

Spivak, Lawrence E. and Charles Agnoff, eds. The American Mercury Reader: A Selection of Distinguished Articles and Stories Published in the American Mercury Reader During the Past 20 Years. New York: American Mercury, Inc., 1943.

Stoddard, Lothrop. The Rising Tide of Color: Against While World-Supremacy. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1920.

The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. New York: James Pott and Co.

U.S. Department of Defense. Arabic: Language Familiarization Manual. Washington: Educational Services, 1960.

Vaughan, Curtis. The New Testament from 26 Translations. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967.

Wesley, George Criz. The Biology of the Race Problem. Richmond: The Patrick Henry Press.

Processing Information

Formerly boxes 103-021, 103-025, 103-027, 103-046, 103-071, 103-085, 103-114, 103-116, 103-147, 103-157, 103-158, 103-168, 103-221, 103-223, 103-225, 103-229, 103-234, 103-235, 103-237, 103-242, 103-243, 103-267, 103-284, 103-289, 103-291, 103-296, 103-302, 103-322, 103-323, 103-326, 103-327, 103-328, 103-331, 103-332, 103-337, 103-353, 104-017, 104-020, 104-021, 104-022, 104-023, 104-024, 104-025, 104-026, and 104-146. Processed by Loni Shibuyama, March 31, 2011.

Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Finding aid of the Jim Kepner papers
Loni Shibuyama
March 31, 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, University of Southern California Repository

909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles California 90007 United States
(213) 821-2771