Guide to the Robert Gentry Papers MS.R.167

Finding aid prepared by Audra Eagle Yun, Alix Norton
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
The UCI Libraries
P.O. Box 19557
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California, 92623-9557
949-824-3947
spcoll@uci.edu
© 2013


Title: Robert Gentry papers
Identifier/Call Number: MS.R.167
Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.8 Linear feet (2 boxes)
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1983-1999
Date (inclusive): 1964-2004
Language of Collection Materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: This collection comprises the political and professional papers of Robert F. Gentry, the first openly gay elected official in southern California and first openly gay mayor in the state of California. Gentry served as mayor and a city councilmember in the city of Laguna Beach, California, serving from 1982 to 1994, and also served as Associate Dean of Students at the University of California, Irvine. Materials include correspondence and hate mail, awards, and clippings by and about Gentry as well as the AIDS-related death of his longtime partner Gary Burdick.
Creator: Gentry, Robert F., 1938-

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the University of California. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Bob Gentry, 2013.

Processing History

Processed by Audra Eagle Yun, Alix Norton, and student assistants; 2013.

Historical Background

Robert F. Gentry was born in 1938 in Massachusetts. In the 1970s he moved to California, and in 1982 he was elected the mayor of Laguna Beach, becoming the first openly gay elected official in southern California and first openly gay mayor in the state of California. Gentry served as mayor and a city councilmember in Laguna Beach, serving the local community from 1982 to 1994. He was also Associate Dean of Students at the University of California, Irvine. During his time as mayor, he spearheaded efforts to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and to allow same-sex couples the rights of married heterosexual couples. Gentry led the city's effort to pass a domestic partnership ordinance granting gay and lesbian couples some of the same rights as heterosexual married couples and a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Gentry and his spouse Dennis Amick Gentry benefited from these efforts as they were the first registered domestic partners in Laguna Beach in 1992; subsequently, they legally married in California in 2008. Gentry was also involved in many environmental projects around the Laguna Beach area.

Collection Scope and Content Summary

This collection comprises the political and professional papers of Robert F. Gentry, the first openly gay elected official in southern California. Gentry served as mayor and a city councilmember in the city of Laguna Beach, California, serving from 1982 to 1994, and also served as Associate Dean of Students at the University of California, Irvine. Materials include correspondence and hate mail, awards, and clippings by and about Gentry as well as the AIDS-related death of his longtime partner Gary Burdick.
While a considerable amount of Gentry’s materials were destroyed in the Laguna Beach fire of 1993, this collection provides strong evidence of his role as an advocate for gay rights, environmental protection, and neighborhood preservation.

Preferred Citation

Robert Gentry papers. MS-R167. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in 3 series:
  • Series 1. Professional papers, 1983-1989
  • Series 2. Awards, 1990-1994
  • Series 3. Clippings and programs, 1964-2004

Related Collections

Related materials can be found in the following collections: AS-151, Christine Browning Files on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues at the University of California, Irvine

Subjects and Indexing Terms

University of California, Irvine. Office of the Dean of Students.
Domestic partner benefits -- California -- Laguna Beach
Environmentalists -- California -- Orange County
Gay rights -- California -- Orange County -- History -- Sources
Laguna Beach (Calif.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century

 

Professional papers 1983-1999

Box 1, Folder 1

Correspondence 1983-1999

Box 1, Folder 3

Laguna Beach City Council agenda bills, notes, and election literature 1984-1994

Box 1, Folder 5

Lecture notes, speech to UC Regents on domestic partner health benefits undated

Box 1, Folder 4

Student essay on Gentry 1997

 

Awards 1990-1994

Box 1, Folder 2

1990-1994

 

Clippings and programs 1964-2004

Box 1, Folder 6

Event programs 1990-1995

Box 1, Folder 7-11, Box 2, Folder 1-6

Clippings 1964-1974, 1980-2004

Box 2, Folder 7-8

Clippings on Gary Burdick 1989