Items donated were collected by Project members or at the group’s popular “Treasure Hunts” where community members can browse historical displays and donate items. Events were held in October 2010 at Bad Dog and March 2011 at Novak’s.
Founded in 2007, The Project is operated by Steve Brawley (founder), Colin Murphy and Ian Darnell and serves as the unofficial collecting arm for the St. Louis LGBT Archives at UMSL located at the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection (WHMC) in the Thomas Jefferson Library. Further, The Project conducts and facilitates oral histories with area LGBT Elders, works with regional LGBT organizations on maintaining their own archive, and seeks out and preserves St. Louis LGBT history, documents, artifacts and memorabilia.
The Project has developed a LGBT Walking Tour in the city’s Central West End, is available to speak on St. Louis’ LGBT History and provides displays from The Project collection. The goal of The Project is to not only celebrate and preserve our city’s LGBT History, but make it accessible through digital media. For more information check out their Facebook page or visit www.stlouisgayhistory.com.
The St. Louis LGBT Archives at UMSL started when Bill Cordes, on behalf of the Community Liaison for Education and Research (C.L.E.A.R.), a member organization of Challenge Metro (formerly the St. Louis Gay and Lesbian Community Services), founded the project in October 1987. The nucleus of the archive was a large collection of periodicals, clippings, flyers, and brochures donated by Cordes (owner of Our World Too Book Store). After an initial surge of activity, the archive was placed in the care of Fredric Rissover who, along with Cordes, continued to collect materials. In the summer of 1991, Rissover made arrangements to place the collection with the WHMC and continued to contribute to the archive annualy for several years.
Pieces from The Project collection will be on rotating display at the LGBT Center of St. Louis starting on July 17th. The theme of the first display is St. Louis Pridefest.