Robert Chesley papers

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
657 Mission Street, #300
San Francisco, California 94105
(415) 777-5455
reference@glbthistory.org
http://www.glbthistory.org/
2013


Descriptive Summary

Title: Robert Chesley papers
Dates: 1965-1990
Collection Number: 1993-06
Creator/Collector: Chesley, Robert, 1943-1990
Extent: 14.7 linear feet
Repository: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
San Francisco, California 94105
Abstract: The Robert Chesley papers document his life as a playwright, theater critic and sexual outlaw. Chesley died of AIDS in 1990 at the age of 47.
Language of Material: English

Access

Collection is open for research. Funding for processing this collection was provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Publication Rights

Copyright was not transferred to the GLBT Historical Society.

Preferred Citation

Robert Chesley papers. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society

Acquisition Information

Gift of Nicholas Deutsch in 1993 and 1995.

Biography/Administrative History

Robert Chesley was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1943. He moved to San Francisco in 1976 and became theater critic for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Chesley's first one-act play, "Hell, I Love You," was produced at Theatre Rhinoceros in 1980. His play "Night Sweat" was the first full-length drama dealing with the AIDS crisis to be produced in New York. It had extendeull-length and one-act plays. One of his most successful works wasd runs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Chesley wrote over 30 full-length and one-act plays. One of his most successful works was "Jerker." It had a long run in New York and generated controversy with the Federal Communications Commission when it was aired on Pacifica Radio’s KPFK. Chesley died of AIDS in 1990. The Robert Chesley Award for Lesbian and Gay Playwriting, given annually by Publishing Triangle, is named in his honor.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Robert Chesley papers document his life as a playwright, theater critic and sexual outlaw. The collection is divided into eight series: Correspondence; Journals and "Crazy Books"; Writings, including plays, short stories, novels, and journalism; Writings by Others; Subject Files; Personalia; Photographs and Posters; and Audio. Highlights include nearly 20 years of correspondence and over 10 years of personal diaries, drafts of plays and materials related to his prolific career as a journalist and theater critic, and souvenirs from his sexual encounters. See Container List for more details about each series. There is very little related to Chesley's career as a musical composer. Chesley died of AIDS in 1990 at the age of 47.

Indexing Terms

Gay men --Drama.
Gay men --Sexual behavior --United States.
Diaries

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