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Tom Wilson Weinberg papers

 Collection
Identifier: Ms-Coll-39
The Tom Wilson Weinberg papers are divided into four series: I. Personal materials; II. Organizations; III. Musical recordings and productions; and IV. Oversized material.

Of particular note among the "Personal materials" is the collection of obituaries, memorial services, photographs, and correspondence of "friends and boyfriends" who died of AIDS as well as other causes, between 1986 and 2007. Weinberg has said that he and partner John Whyte lost half of their friends during the AIDS crisis and as he learned of their deaths he began putting the announcements and other remembrances into a folder. The folder grew to include evidence of the lives of over 65 individuals. Not every person included represents an AIDS death, but the majority do, and the cumulative effect is powerful. They have been arranged in chronological order by date of death, which may approximate the order in which Wilson Weinberg learned of their passing. Birth and death dates for most individuals have been included to aid in their precise identification. A full list of names can be found in the Obituaries note. There is also a folder on HIV/AIDS generally, which includes, in part, information from or about the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP), which Wilson Weinberg helped to found while living in Minneapolis. Other material in this series includes a small collection of political buttons, as well as postcards and fine art material of a personal nature to Wilson Weinberg (a larger collection of political buttons as well as t-shirts donated by Wilson Weinberg exist in separate collections in the Archives).

The series on "Organizations" includes records from several LGBT organizations with which Wilson Weinberg was associated over the years. These include material from the Attic Youth Center (where Wilson Weinberg was a board member and later board president), the Eromin Center (mainly concerning a civil action case between the City of Philadelphia and the Center), and the Gay and Lesbian Defense Committee (GLDC) (which successfully overturned a Massachusetts policy banning same sex couples from adopting), as well as correspondence with and concerning additional organizations, a special issue of Wilson Weinberg's Philadelphia Daily Gayzette called The Legislature's Gayzette, and a file on LGBT library and archival collections.

The series on "Musical recordings and productions" is the most substantial and concerns Wilson Weinberg's career as a performer, composer, recording artist, and musical producer, spanning nearly 40 years. A wide variety of material types in this series include personal correspondence, business and financial records, promotional materials, newsletters, clippings, and reviews, as well as programs, scripts, lyrics, sheet music, sound recordings, and photographs. Of note are the production and sales records of Wilson Weinberg's record company, Aboveground Records, and the license and royalty records from Broadway Play Publishing Inc. for his stage works. There is also significant documentation on the multiple performances of Wilson Weinberg's musicals Ten Percent Revue and Get Used to It! as well as several other stage works. Several files of photographs and negatives document performances and photoshoots over the years, including those for Wilson Weinberg's two solo albums, Gay Name Game and All-American Boy.

The final series of "Oversized material" is made up primarily of posters and other large-format material promoting Wilson Weinberg's performances and productions. This series is described at the item level.
Obituaries The following individuals are represented in the "Obituaries" files (Box 1, Folders 4-6). See the Scope and Contents note for further information on these files.

Michael McDuffee (November 6, 1945-July 10, 1984)
John Stevens Powell (November 29,1949-September 25, 1985)
Victor Bender (July 19, 1946-February 23, 1986)
Justin Smith (June 15, 1921-February 27, 1986)
Barry S. Kohn (January 31, 1943-June 2, 1987)
Barry Laine (June 25, 1951-September 19, 1987)
Robert Erik Alderman (June 11, 1963-December 13, 1987)
Barry M. Binkowitz (August 25, 1959-December 18, 1987)
Benjamin E. Price (d. February 1, 1988, age 49)
Joey Branden (born Joseph E. Cloyd) (September 13, 1960-April 18, 1988)
DuMont Howard (July 22, 1954-November 5, 1988)
John Karl Giosi (August 7, 1953-February 3, 1989)
Stephen J. Gibson (April 7, 1955-February 12, 1989)
George Clark, III (October 16, 1959-April 18, 1989)
J. Richard Piper (January 25, 1956-January 2, 1990)
Marty Finkelstein (September 13, 1953-January 15, 1990)
Paul A. Paroski, Jr. (July 9, 1952-March 3, 1990)
Ethyl (born James Roy) Eichelberger (July 17, 1945-August 12, 1990)
Terryl Joseph (T.J.) Myers (February 7, 1960-August 28, 1990)
Vito Russo (July 11, 1946-November 7, 1990)
David P. Riel (November 11, 1962-November 21, 1990)
Lynn C. Leatham (September 6, 1938-December 4, 1990)
Robert Chesley (March 22, 1943-December 5, 1990)
Stan Hurwitz (February 28, 1944-January 5, 1991)
Joe Bracco (May 2, 1960-March 3, 1991)
Ron Hays (May 5, 1945-April 16, 1991)
Peter Hughes (May 5, 1991?)
George Lichtenwalner (August 27, 1927-May 16, 1991)
Bill Smith (d. August 1991)
Charles A. (Charlie) Willard (July 11, 1943-August 11, 1991)
Charles W. (Skip) Palmquist (July 18, 1950-August 12, 1991)
Perry Tilleraas (February 8, 1949-September 25, 1991)
Alfred S. Branam, Jr. (July 4, 1944-October 30, 1991)
Mike Riegle (May 30, 1943-January 10, 1992)
Michael Goldberger (October 21,1935-January 15, 1992)
Rusel Silkey (May 11, 1945-June 15, 1992)
Bern Boyle (November 26, 1951-June 17, 1992)
Lloyd (Buddy) Mailander (July 4, 1952-July 27, 1992)
Michael R. Haddad (d. August 28, 1992, age 40)
Dominic Bash (August 14, 1946-January 24, 1993)
Jon Urban Holmgren (April 25, 1939-March 29, 1993)
Brian Jones (September 6, 1955-May 20, 1993)
Karl Francis Hee (August 10, 1956-October 7, 1993)
Michael Callen (April 11, 1955-December 27, 1993)
Walta Barowski (October 15, 1947-February 9, 1994)
Bruce Voeller (May 12, 1934-February 13, 1994)
John Preston (December 11, 1945-April 28, 1994)
Tom Snyder (November 15, 1956-August 5, 1994)
Timothy A. Gelatt (August 12, 1955-August 22, 1994)
Lee Edward Chastain (September 24, 1962-November 24, 1994)
Jürgen (Bobby) Baumann (May 10, 1961-February 19, 1995)
Stephen J. deBaun, Jr. (November 11, 1916-March 8, 1995)
Rev. Alan Taylor (June 27, 1919-August 1, 1995)
Essex Charles Hemphill (April 16, 1957-November 4, 1995)
Thomas Patrick Smith (March 29, 1964-December 9, 1995)
Jonathan R. Lax (July 18, 1949-January 11, 1996)
David Robert Orsini (April 4, 1962-March 5, 1996)
Curtis P. Washington (November 22, 1952-August 26, 1996)
John C. Bovée (June 30, 1958-January 31, 1997)
Maurice Neville (Mo) Young (January 7, 1961-February 21, 1997)
Herschel Engebretson (August 3, 1932-July 23, 1997)
Harry F. Langhorne, Jr. (November 3, 1947-May 26, 2001)
Margaret Caroline Yeakel (January 10, 1916-April 17, 2005)
Charles Engel (February 2, 1930-October 12, 2005)
Eric Rofes (August 31, 1954-June 26, 2006)
Richard Steinman (September 29, 1925-September 17, 2006)
Max Neiburg (November 10, 1921-January 10, 2007)
Barbara Gittings (July 31, 1932-February 18, 2007)
Kathleen King Whyte (September 16, 1913-October 1, 2007)

Dates

  • 1974 - 2013

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may exist. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center.

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet (5 boxes and 11 oversized folders)

Overview

Tom Wilson Weinberg (b. 1945) is a singer-songwriter and gay rights activist. He was a co-founder of the gay and lesbian bookstore Giovanni's Room and the Gay Coffee House, and a board member of the Eromin Center and the Attic Youth Center. He founded the newspaper the Philadelphia Weekly Gayzette. His first two albums are titled Gay Name Game (1979) and All-American Boy (1983). His stage productions include Ten Percent Revue, Get Used to It!, and others. The papers are divided into four series: I. Personal materials; II. Organizations; III. Musical recordings and productions; and IV. Oversized material.

Biographical / Historical

Tom Wilson Weinberg (b. 1945) is a singer-songwriter and gay rights activist. Born Thomas Arnold Wilson to Jerome and Dorothy Wilson, he grew up in Syracuse, New York, and took the former family name Weinberg in 1982. Wilson Weinberg attended the University of Pennsylvania earning a Bachelor's degree in English in 1966 and a Master's in Education in 1967. While at Penn, he wrote was a member of the Mask and Wig Club, performing and writing music and lyrics for the annual productions. After his time at Penn Wilson Weinberg worked in the public schools as a teacher and guidance counselor, and as a summer camp director.

He first became active in the gay liberation movement in 1971 or 1972. Together with Bernie Boyle and Danny Sherbo, Wilson Weinberg co-founded the LGBT and feminist bookstore Giovanni's Room in 1973. Its first storefront was at 232 South Street in Philadelphia. After a year and a half, the three founders sold the business to Pat Hill.

Also in 1973 Wilson Weinberg founded and produced the newspaper the Philadelphia Weekly Gayzette, which was aimed at the gay and lesbian activist community in Philadelphia. He joined the board of the Eromin Center as a charter member in 1974 and served as board treasurer in 1975. The Eromin Center was founded to serve the mental health needs of sexual minorities. In 1975 he was appointed by Governor Milton Shapp to the Pennsylvania Council for Sexual Minorities, the nation's first governmental body tasked with dealing with discrimination against LGBT individuals.

In 1973 Wilson Weinberg helped to found the Gay Coffeehouse, which was located in the basement of the same building as the early Eromin Center at 60 North 3rd Street. The Gay Coffeehouse was in many ways the predecessor of the Gay Community Center of Philadelphia, founded in 1975, which is the original name of today's William Way LGBT Community Center. After the Center opened its doors at 325 Kater Street the Gay Coffeehouse moved in and it was here that Wilson first performed his own shows in public in 1977. Soon he was performing shows in New York, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, and appearing at gay conferences, pride parades, and on college campuses.

Wilson Weinberg released his first album of original songs, Gay Name Game, in 1979, and his second album, All-American Boy, in 1983. Both were distributed by Wilson Weinberg's record company, Aboveground Records, as well as the feminist distributors, Olivia and Ladyslipper.

In 1981 Wilson Weinberg moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his partner John Whyte, a research physician specializing in recovery from traumatic brain injury. There Wilson Weinberg co-founded the Minnesota AIDS Project. In 1984, the pair moved to Boston, Massachusetts.

Wilson Weinberg wrote and developed the musical revue Ten Percent Revue, which gave its first performance in March 1985 at the Arlington Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts. The show is made up of about twenty musical numbers performed by a cast of two men and two women and celebrates the life and loves of gay men and lesbians. The show went on to play in numerous productions around the country, including an Off-Broadway run, a national tour, and recording, 1986-1989. Wilson Weinberg moved back to Philadelphia in 1989. His second musical show, Get Used to It!, was produced Off-Broadway in 1992, by John Glines, and was recorded by Aboveground Records. Both shows were published by Broadway Play Publishing Company.

In 1994, Wilson Weinberg's compilation Don't Mess with Mary was the official CD recording for the Stonewall 25 celebration. Sixty Years with Bruhs and Gean, commissioned by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, debuted at Carnegie Hall and was later sung at Lincoln Center in 1995. An expanded version of the show was presented by the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Theater Festival in 2003, at The Duplex in New York and by Arts Project Cherry Grove on Fire Island, New York, in 2004. Bruhs and Gean was revived in 2007 for the Philly Fringe Festival. Wilson Weinberg's The Teachings of Chairman Rick was part of the 2005 Philly Fringe Festival and was revived in 2006.

From 1997 to 2013, Wilson Weinberg was a board member and volunteer at the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia. And from 2003-2004, he served as the Center's president of the board. The Attic is devoted to serving the needs of LGBT youth in Philadelphia.

In 2008 Wilson Weinberg and singers Keith Kaczorowski and Melissa Kolczynski began a series of cabaret performances. His cabaret work has continued. His musical about the relationship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, called Eleanor and Hick, was developed in New York. Under the title Sunrise in Hyde Park was produced in Philadelphia and in Cherry Grove, Fire Island, New York, 2013-2014.

Wilson Weinberg's song "Lesbian Seagull" was featured in the film Beavis and Butt-head Do America (Paramount/MTV), on the soundtrack for the film (Geffen/Universal), in musical score (Warner Chappell), and released as a single on compact disc with Red Hot Chili Peppers' track "Love Rollercoaster."

Among Wilson Weinberg's awards are a Cable Car Award Nomination in San Francisco, the Bessie Smith Award for Cultural Contributions from the Greater Boston Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance, Provincetown's Golden Gull Award, the Los Angeles Drama-Logue Award, and the OutMusic Heritage Award of New York. He is a member of the Purple Circuit, OutMusic, and ASCAP. With husband Whyte and a lesbian couple, Tom is the parent of two children, Jesse and Max.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Tom Wilson Weinberg, 2013.

Related Materials

At ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives: Tom Wilson Weinberg collection, 1979-2009, Coll2014.007.

At Temple University: Eromin Center (Philadelphia, Pa.) records, 1972-1984, Acc. 573.

At John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center: Tom Wilson Weinberg button collection, unnumbered.
Title
Tom Wilson Weinberg papers, 1974-2013
Status
completed
Author
Alina Josan and John Anderies
Date
2015
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center Repository

Contact:
1315 Spruce Street
Philadelphia PA 19107
215-732-2220