Finding aid to the Harvey Milk Letters to Joe Campbell, 1961-[1971]

Finding aid prepared by Tim Wilson
James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
(415) 557-4400
info@sfpl.org
2006


Title: Harvey Milk Letters to Joe Campbell,
Date (inclusive): 1961-[1971]
Collection Identifier: GLC 20
Creator: Milk, Harvey
Physical Description: 61.0 folders
Contributing Institution: James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4567
info@sfpl.org
Abstract: This collection contains 59 letters and cards from Harvey Milk to Joe Campbell; most were written after their romantic relationship ended.
Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

The library holds copyright for letters written by Harvey Milk. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Harvey Milk Letters to Joe Campbell (GLC 20), Gay and Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Provenance

The collection was donated to the San Francisco Public Library in two accessions. Joe Campbell donated 29 letters in 1993; Callie Angell, of the Andy Warhol Film Project, donated an additional 32 letters and transcripts in 2006.

Related materials

Researchers are encouraged to see also the Harvey Milk Letters to Susan Davis Alch (GLC 19), the Harvey Milk Archives--Scott Smith Collection (GLC 35) and the Randy Shilts Papers--The Mayor of Castro Street series (GLC 43), Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Biographical note

Harvey Milk, a San Francisco politician and gay rights activist, was born in Woodmere, New York on May 22, 1930. Joe Campbell was born on November 4, 1936. Milk and Campbell met at Riis Park Beach, Queens, New York in July 1956 and their relationship lasted into 1962. Much later Milk later moved to San Francisco, entered politics, and was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978.
In the 1960s Campbell was a member of the Andy Warhol crowd and was dubbed the "Sugar Plum Fairy" by Dorothy Dean, a friend from that set. Campbell appeared in the Warhol film My Hustler (1965) as the character Sugar Plum Fairy, and Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side (1972) contains a reference to Campbell by that moniker as well.
Later Joe Campbell had a significant relationship with Oliver "Bill" Sipple, a former Marine. Sipple came into the public eye in 1975 for thwarting an assassination attempt on the life of Gerald Ford. Joe Campbell died on October 2, 2005.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains 59 letters and cards from Milk to Joe Campbell; most were written after their relationship ended and contain a "-san" suffix to both of their names. In many of the earlier letters, Milk tells how much he still cares for Campbell and how hurt Milk is that Campbell does not return his feelings. The letters from San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami detail Milk's unsuccessful attempts to find work. The later letters contain advice for Campbell and his lover Oliver "Bill" Sipple, Milk's day-to-day activities with Jack Galen McKinley, reviews of opera and other musical events, and remarks on police harassment of gays and gay bars. About 10 are greeting cards for birthdays or Valentine's Day.
The collection also contains the transcript of one letter from Dorothy Dean to Joe Campbell, and one folder of letters which are edited transcripts of portions of the Milk letters.

Arrangement note

The letters are arranged in chronological order. Square brackets indicate dates supplied by the archivist; some dates are approximations, others are drawn from postmarks or the contents of the letter. Undated letters and cards are filed at the end.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Campbell, Joe -- Correspondence
Milk, Harvey -- Correspondence
Gay men--United States--Biography

Folder 1

Harvey [Milk], New York, NY to Joe [Campbell], 1961 November 27 postmark

Folder 2

Harvey Milk, New York, NY to Joe Campbell, Nashville, TN, [1961 December 1] Friday am

Folder 3

New York Times, 1961 December 29

General note

Clipping re: lines for Radio City Music Hall.
Folder 4

Harvey Milk, New York, NY to Joe Frank Campbell, Nashville, TN, 1961 December 30 postmark

Folder 5

Harvey Milk, New York, NY to Joe Campbell, Nashville, TN, [1961/1962?] Thursday night

Folder 6

Nashville Tennessean, 1962 July 29

General note

Clipping re: Hugh Shivers's reunion.
Folder 7

Harvey Milk, San Juan, PR to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, [1962 August 23] Thursday

Folder 8

Christmas card from Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], 1962 [December]

Folder 9

H[arvey Milk], New York, NY to [Joe] Campbell, [New York, NY], 1963 January 10

Folder 10

Harvey [Milk], San Juan, PR to Joe [Campbell], [New York, NY], [1963 March 6?] Wed.

Folder 11

Harvey Milk, San Juan, PR to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, [1963 March 6] Wed. night

Folder 12

Harvey [Milk], San Juan, PR to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, 1963 March 6 Wed. after talking with you

Folder 13

Harvey [Milk], [San Juan, PR] to Joe [Campbell], [New York, NY], [1963 March 7?] Again Thursday

Folder 14

Harvey Milk, San Juan, PR to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, [1963 March 8] Friday

Folder 15

Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co., San Juan, PR to Joseph Campbell, New York, NY, 1963 March 8

General note

Re: job reference for Harvey Milk.
Folder 16

Harvey [Milk], Miami Beach, FL to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, 1963 March 10

General note

Telegram with draft of Joe's response on the back.
Folder 17

Harvey [Milk], Miami Beach, FL to Joe [Campbell, New York, NY], [1963 March 10] Sunday night

Folder 18

Harvey Milk, Miami Beach, FL to Joe Frank Campbell, New York, NY, 1963 March 19 postmark

Folder 19

Harvey [Milk], Miami Beach, FL to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, [1963 March 29]

Folder 20

Harvey Milk, Miami Beach, FL to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, [1963 April 5]

Folder 21

Harvey [Milk], M[iami] B[each, FL] to Joe [Campbell], [New York, NY?], [1963 April 9?] Tuesday 7:30

Folder 22

Harvey Milk, Miami Beach, FL to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, [1963 April 11] Thursday

Folder 23

Harvey [Milk], Miami, FL to Joe F. Campbell, New York, NY, 1963 April 20 postmark

Folder 24

Harvey [Milk], New York, NY to Joe Campbell New York, NY, [1963 August 12] Monday

Folder 25

Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], [1963?] Wednesday at work

Folder 26

Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], [1963?]

Folder 27

Harvey [Milk], [New York, NY] to Joe [Campbell] and Bill [Sipple], [Ft. Lauderdale, FL?], [1964/5? March 21/22?] Sunday

Folder 28

Harvey Milk, New York, NY to Joe Campbell New York, NY, [1964 May 21]

Folder 29

Harvey [Milk] to Joe Frank [Campbell], [1964 November 4]

General note

Birthday note.
Folder 30

Harvey Milk, New York, NY to Joseph Campbell and Oliver Sipple, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 1965 February 26 postmark

Folder 31

Galen [McKinley] and Harv[ey Milk] to Joe Campbell, 1965 May 17 postmark

General note

Postcard forwarded to Jamaica, Long Island, New York.
Folder 32

G[alen McKinley] and H[arvey Milk] to [Joe] Campbell and [Bill] Sipple in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, [1965?]

General note

Postcard of Palm Beach, Florida.
Folder 33

Greeting card from Harvey [Milk], Dallas, TX to Joe Campbell, New York, NY, 1966 October 3 postmark

Folder 34

Harvey Milk, New York, NY to Joe Frank Campbell, Nashville, TN, 1967 November 29 postmark

Folder 35

Harvey [Milk], [Dallas, TX] to Joe [Campbell], [CA?], [1967?] Tuesday

Folder 36

Harvey [Milk] to [Joe Campbell], New York, NY, [1967?]

General note

Fragment.
Folder 37

Christmas card from Harvey [Milk], Dallas, TX to Joe Campbell, San Francisco, CA, 1968 December 12 postmark

Folder 38

[Harvey Milk], Dallas, TX to Joe Frank Campbell, San Francisco, CA, 1968 December 25

Folder 39

H[arvey Milk], New York, NY to Joe [Campbell], [196-] Monday

Folder 40

Harvey [Milk], Waldorf-Astoria, New York, NY to [Joe Campbell], [Ft. Lauderdale, FL?], [196- Jan.-Feb.] Sunday night

Folder 41

Harvey [Milk], New York, NY to Joe [Campbell] and Bill [Sipple], [Ft. Lauderdale, FL], [196-?] Tuesday

Folder 42

Harvey [Milk], [New York, NY?] to Joe [Campbell] and Bill [Sipple], [Ft. Lauderdale, FL], [196-?] Friday

Folder 43

[Harvey Milk] to [Joe] Campbell, Fairfax, CA, 1970 December? 4 postmark

General note

Postcard with Harvey's? new address.
Folder 44

Dorothy Dean to Joe Campbell, [1971]

General note

Re: seeing Harvey Milk and Jack Galen McKinley and the production of Lenny.
Folder 45

"Edited version of Joe Campbell's letters," 1962-1964, [1971], undated

General note

Transcripts of letters, some are from the earlier accession.
Folder 46

Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], undated

General note

Re: break-up and gay relationships.
Folder 47

Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], undated

General note

Re: packing for trip to Mexico City.
Folder 48

[Joe Campbell's mother? to Joe Campbell?], undated

General note

Letter mentions his father and Christmas, an interview with President Kennedy and Premier Kruschev's son-in-law in the Russian newspaper Izvestia.
Folder 49

[Harvey Milk] "Hellouminum!" card undated

General note

Card with picture of Kodak Cavalcade slide projector and the note "I'll buy you a car for Xmass if you'll buy me this for Xmass & I don't mean the cup of coffee."
Folder 50

Halloween card from "Bunny Bumper," undated

Folder 51

Valentine's Day card from Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], [February 14]

Folder 52

Birthday card from Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], [November 4]

Folder 53

"The Lost Children of Joesan" by Harvey [Milk], undated

Folder 54

[Harvey Milk to Joe Campbell], undated

General note

"Mounstrous Ogre," "Hellouminum! I could eat you Upuminum!"
Folder 55

Birthday card from Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], [November 4]

Folder 56

Birthday card from Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], [November 4]

Folder 57

Birthday card from Harvey [Milk] to [Joe Campbell], [November 4]

Folder 58

Birthday card from Harvey [Milk] to [Joe Campbell], [November 4]

Folder 59

Birthday card from Harvey [Milk] to [Joe Campbell], [November 4]

Folder 60

Valentine's Day card from Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], [February 14]

Folder 61

Greeting card from Harvey [Milk] to Joe [Campbell], undated