Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Sexual Freedom League Records,
Date (inclusive): 1962-1983
Date (bulk): (bulk 1964-1973)
Collection Number: BANC MSS 83/181 c
Sexual Freedom League
Number of containers: 9 cartons, 1 oversize folder
Linear feet: 11.25
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Research and reference files (including correspondence). Includes a substantial, but incomplete, run of the SFL Newsletter
(March 1965-April 1971), as well as scattered samples of other serials on issues of sexual freedom.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the appropriate curator or to the Head of the Public Services for forwarding. Permission for
publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or
imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Sexual Freedom League Records, BANC MSS 83/181 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California,
Title: Social Protest Collection,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 86/157 c
Materials Cataloged Separately
- Selected printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
The records of the Sexual Freedom League were given to The Bancroft Library by Jefferson Poland on September 4, 1970. Additions
identified and separated from Poland's contribution to the Social Protest Collection were added in 1995.
The Sexual Freedom League was founded in 1963 in New York City. Julian Beck, Allen Ginsberg, and Dr. Leo Koch were among those
on the Advisory Committee of the original group, which was active in demonstrations for a wide range of causes. Initially
composed of a small membership of independent local chapters in New York, San Francisco, and London, the organization grew
rapidly, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area after 1966, when the emphasis shifted toward nude parties. The League reorganized
in 1967 as the Sexual Freedom League, Incorporated with its national headquarters in Oakland and chapters in San Jose, Los
Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, and elsewhere.
The League advocated three main issues: the right of each person to make his or her own choices in sexual matters, without
coercion or restrictive laws; the psychological and spiritual liberation which allows people to joyfully accept their sensuality;
and the right of all persons, including women and homosexuals, to be free from sexual discrimination in the exercise of their
non-sexual rights and liberties. Each independent group chose its own emphasis and methods, with activities ranging from legislative
lobbying to parties; most concentrated on laws, while some focused on personal growth.
Scope and Content
While the records of the Sexual Freedom League reflect their international activities, the bulk of the collection primarily
concerns their presence in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York from 1964 to 1973, and particularly Jefferson Poland's
involvement as founder and chief promoter of League organization. Divided into four series, the collection consists of correspondence,
newsletters, and other records of the National headquarters of the League, variously located in New York City, San Francisco,
Berkeley, and Oakland, with chapters in other west coast cities. A major component are the Research and Reference Files, containing
clippings, notes, flyers, and solicitations from a variety of sources reflecting the League's broad interest in personal freedom,
with miscellaneous printed materials, including sample issues of journals and mail order catalogs. The collection concludes
with correspondence, writings, and other personal material by and pertaining to Jefferson Poland.
A portion of this collection was described in
Alternative Lifestyles; a Guide to Research Collections on Intentional Communities, Nudism, and Sexual Freedom by Jefferson P. Selth (Greenwood Press, 1985: p. 63-73). The alphabetical arrangement noted therein applies only to the research
and reference files series of this collection, and folder and item counts are no longer accurate as duplicates have been weeded
and the material further organized.