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Finding aid of the Hank Wilson Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Hank Wilson Papers
    Dates: 1972-2004
    Collection number: 1996-02
    Creator: Wilson, Hank
    Collection Size: 8 Cartons
    Repository: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
    San Francisco, California 94105
    Abstract: Clippings, publications, reprints, organizational records collected by activist Hank Wilson.
    Physical location: Stored at the Archives of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, California.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Hank Wilson Papers, 1996-02, The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Library by Hank Wilson on January 28, 1996 with an accretion in 2001, 2003 and 2006. Future accruals are expected.


    Hank Wilson is a longtime San Francisco gay activist and long term AIDS survivor. He was raised in Sacramento and graduated with a B.A. in Education from the University of Wisconsin in 1971. He co-founded with Tom Ammiano the Gay Teachers Coalition (GTC) in 1975 and lobbied for non discrimination for gay teachers in the San Francisco schools. A leader in the 1977 anti-Briggs Initiative campaign, Wilson has worked extensively with gay issues in the San Francisco Unified School District. He served on the Gay Youth Advocacy Council which founded LYRIC, Lavendar Youth Recreation and Information Center. He also served on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission's Youth and Education Committee and also launched with Ammiano a gay speakers bureau to educate San Francisco high school and middle school students about gay and lesbian issues. In 1976 he helped found the Butterfly Brigade, Castro Street Safety Patrol and Carry a Whistle Defense Campaign.
    In 1978, he started a business partnership with fellow activist Ron Lanza, which led to leasing four Tenderloin Hotels. He operated the Ambassador Hotel through 1996 and it became a model of harm reduction services housing PWAs. In 1982, Lanza and Wilson created the Valencia Rose Caberet, an influential gay performance venue. With Glenda Hope and Dennis Conkin he founded Tenderloin AIDS Network that led to the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center. Wilson managed the TARC drop-in center providing support to the homeless and PWAs. He was diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in 1987. He continued his activism in AIDS and participating in many demonstrations.
    In 1981 he founded the Committee to Monitor Poppers to educate the gay community about the hazards of using poppers. In 1986 Wilson co-authored a book with John Lauritsen entitled “Death Rush: Poppers and AIDS.” He also served several terms on the SF HIV Prevention Planning Council and the UCSF CAPS Community Advisory Board.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection consists of Hank Wilson’s subject files from 1972 to 2004. There are clippings, research materials, reports, handbooks, flyers and brochures from Wilson’s years of activism. Also included in this collection are documents relating to the various organizations that Wilson was involved in, which include memos, meeting minutes, correspondence, newsletters. The first twelve boxes relate to Wilson’s early activism work with gay youth, educators and education. These boxes contain materials from the various youth and education organizations that Wilson was involved with, and also includes clippings and published materials. Boxes thirteen to eighteen and box twenty-five, relate to Wilson’s work with AIDS and also include some research materials related to the disease. Wilson compiled a variety of subject files on AIDS-related issues, particularly those concerning health, longevity and prevention. Boxes nineteen to twenty-four contain materials about Wilson’s work with poppers. Wilson maintained subject files about popper advertisement, legislation and research materials. The last box contains oversized materials.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    AIDS (Disease)
    Amyl nitrite
    Gay youth
    San Francisco (Calif.)

    Related Material

    Donald Montwill Papers next hit, Group I - Records of Valencia Rose, January 1982-1985 (1993-07), Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Historical Society of Northern California
    ACT-UP Golden Gate Records, 1988-1993 (MSS 98-47), University of California, San Francisco