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Jesse Jacobs papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Coll2012-136

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of personal papers and correspondence; organizational records; theater scripts, programs, and playbills; clippings; school records; photographs; and World War II materials created and/or collected by Jesse Jacobs, 1942-1998. The organizational records document Jacobs' involvement with the League of Voters for Equal Rights (LOVER), ONE Institute, and the Institute for the Study of Human Resources.


  • 1942-1998



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

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


Jesse Jacobs was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1922 and grew up in Brooklyn. He studied speech therapy at Brooklyn College, when during his senior year in 1943, he was drafted in the army. After the war's end, Jacobs pursued an acting career, working as Oscar Brand's assistant, teaching drama at the New Jersey College for Women, and joining the Men's Acting Company at Vassar. In 1952 with funding from the GI Bill, Jacobs earned a master's degree in drama at Columbia University. Across the 1950s Jacobs had minor roles in numerous New York theater productions, before moving to California in 1960 where he worked as a character actor in television.

In July 1972, Jacobs joined the recently formed Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), the world’s first synagogue for gay and lesbian Jews. Jacobs helped write some the congregation's first services and served for several years as the ritual chair, leading the majority of the services. In the late 1970s at a time when most temples still used male language for God, Jacobs helped created the first prayer book with gender-neutral language.

In 1975 Jacobs took his first job as a bookkeeper, an occupation that would become his primary profession for the next 20 plus years. In 1978 he became president of the League of Voters for Equal Rights (LOVER), a group dedicated to registering LGBT people to combat Proposition 6, also known as the Brigg's Initiative. Jacobs joined the board of directors at ONE Incorporated in 1981 where he served as president for six of the next fourteen years. When ONE joined with the International Gay & Lesbian Archives in 1994, Jacobs remained on the board and also became treasurer at the affiliated organization, the Institute for the Study of Human Resources (ISHR). Jacobs remained active in both organizations until his death in 1998.

Edited from Tracy Moore's article "Jesse Jacobs: An Original BCC Member." G''vanim, v.45, no.5 (January 1997).


1 Linear Feet (1 archives box)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of personal papers and correspondence; organizational records from the League of Voters for Equal Rights (LOVER), ONE Institute, and the Institute for the Study of Human Resources (ISHR); and acting-related materials created and/or collected by Jesse Jacobs, 1942-1998. Jacobs was a longtime character actor in theater and television, influential early member of Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), a president of LOVER and ONE Incorporated, and a board member for ONE Institute and ISHR.

Acquisition Information

Date of acquisition unknown.

Related Archival Materials

Coll2012-133, Beth Chayim Chadashim Records, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.

Separated Materials


Chicago's Gay Directory 1973. The Advocates of Gay Action Publishing Co-op.

Pocket Legal Guide for Gay People. Gay People's Legal Committee.


Dignity, v.4, no.4-6, June-August 1973.

Prime Timers (Los Angeles), October/December 1997.

Theater Arts, October 1946 - February 1947.


The Royal Ballet from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, c. 1957.

Captain Brassbound's Conversion. Center Theater Group, Ahmanson Theater, 1968-1969.

Programs and catalogs:

Dignity First National Convention, 1973.

Wintersun Ah Men catalog.

Processing Information

Formerly housed in boxes 103-151 and 103-231. Collection processed by Kyle Morgan, 2012.

Finding aid to the Jesse Jacobs papers, 1942-1998
Kyle Morgan
© 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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