Meeting minutes, bylaws and constitution,
correspondence, notes, printed ephemera and other records from the Janus
Society of America (also known as Janus Society of Delaware Valley), a
Philadelphia-based homophile organization founded in 1962. The Janus Society
was an influential group of gay men, lesbians and bisexuals, which was
considered more politically aggressive than other homophile groups of that era.
The Janus Society was active in the years 1962 to 1969, and its regular
activities included public lectures, community services, protests and
demonstrations, and publishing its monthly magazine,
In 1961, a group of Philadelphia-based gay and lesbian activists began
meeting on a regular basis with the intention of forming a local chapter of the
national homophile organization, the Mattachine Society. After not receiving
official recognition as a Mattachine Society chapter, the group renamed itself
the Janus Society of Delaware Valley. Founded in 1962, the Janus Society was an
influential, Philadelphia-based homophile organization that remained active
until 1969. Janus featured participation and leadership by lesbians, bisexuals
and gay men; published
Drum, the most widely circulated homophile
magazine of the 1960s; and developed political positions that were among the
most militant, radical and sexually liberated in the LGBT movement of its era.
Recognizing its growing national visibility, the organization again renamed
itself the Janus Society of America in 1964. Mae Polakoff served as the
president of Janus in its first two years. Her successor was Clark P. Polak,
Drum and who was partially responsible for
taking the Janus Society in a more politically aggressive and outspoken
direction. Polak's personality and outside pornography businesses led to
increased scrutiny of law enforcement on Polak and other Janus Society members.
In 1969, Polak was arrested on federal obscenity charges and subsequently
relocated to California. Following his arrest, the Janus Society ended its
operations in 1969.
1 archive carton.
0.1 linear foot.
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