Finding aid of the Janus Society Records

Loni Shibuyama
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90007
Phone: (213) 741-0094
Fax: (213) 741-0220
Email: askone@onearchives.org
URL: http://www.onearchives.org
© 2008
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. All rights reserved.

Finding aid of the Janus Society Records

Collection number: Coll2008-027

ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives

Los Angeles, California
Processed by:
Loni Shibuyama
Date Completed:
June 5, 2008
Encoded by:
Loni Shibuyama
© 2008 ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. All rights reserved.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Janus Society records
Dates: 1961-1969
Collection number: 2008-027
Creator: Janus Society of America
Collection Size: 1 archive carton. 0.1 linear foot.
Repository: ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: 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, Drum.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).

Preferred Citation

Janus Society Records, Coll2008-027, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

Acquisition Information

Donor and date of acquisition unknown.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama, June 5, 2008.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Administrative History

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, who started 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.
Source: Stein, Marc. "Janus Society." Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America . 3 vols. Marc Stein, Ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons: Thomson Gale, 2003. 93-95.

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection comprises the Janus Society's constitution and bylaws, minutes from board of directors and business meetings, correspondence, notes and printed ephemera. The materials are dated from the 1960s, during and before the Janus Society's official years of operation. Correspondence with Clark P. Polak is also included in this collection.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Drum: sex in perspective
Gay and lesbian rights
Gay rights
Gays--Services for
Gays--History--Pennsylvania
Gays--United States
Homosexuality--History--Pennsylvania
Homosexuality--United States
Janus Society
Janus Society of America
Janus Society of Delaware Valley
Lesbian rights
Lesbians--Services for

Related Material

Clark P. Polak Papers, Coll2008-028, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

Collection Contents

Box 1 : 1

Constitution and Bylaws Undated

Box 1 : 2

Correspondence 1966 - 1969

Box 1 : 3 - 4

Form Letters 1965 - 1969

Box 1 : 3

Drum Magazine Subscribers 1966 - 1969

Box 1 : 4

General Membership circa 1965 - 1969

Box 1 : 5

Meeting Minutes 1961 - 1964

Box 1 : 6

Memo on the Janus Society Board Meeting 1964

Box 1 : 7

Pamphlet Undated

Box 1 : 8

The Jenkins Affair Undated