Ms. Barbara Muirhead and G.C. "Brad" Brafford with archivist Dawn Schmitz
Thanks to the generosity and influence of G.C. "Brad" Brafford and Ms. Barbara Muirhead, Special Collections and Archives is making great strides to preserve the history of Orange County's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) communities.
Brafford, a passionate advocate for gay rights in Orange County for over 40 years, has donated his personal materials documenting his life and activism. Muirhead, influential in starting the LGBT History Timeline Project, has been a powerful advocate for the UCI Libraries in the LGBT community and the driving force behind the preservation of the LGBT community history in Orange County.
Brafford and Muirhead have both pledged generous gifts to support the work of processing the collection.
As a founding board member for The Center Orange County, Brafford has been and continues to be an activist for gay rights and access to services. The Center was established as a volunteer organization in a private home in Costa Mesa, California, in 1971, providing an opportunity for the LGBT community to come together in a safe environment to talk about topics such as religion, coming out, relationships, and the shifting political landscape. Brafford's collection documents their board meetings, social gatherings, and political demonstrations. Now, almost forty years later, The Center O.C. serves thousands of clients annually with a mission of advocating on behalf of the Orange County LGBT community and providing services that ensure its well-being and positive identity. Special Collections and Archives has acquired the Center's records as well.
Making archival collections available for research takes a great deal of expertise, effort, and financial support. Brafford and Muirhead have both pledged generous gifts of $10,000 each to support the work of processing Brad’s and other’s collections in the LGBT Archive. These gifts will expedite access to LGBT collections for our students, faculty, and community.
The Libraries has its own expert archivist, Dawn Schmitz, who is familiar with the LGBT community as she was a news reporter for many years and covered issues impacting LGBT rights. After earning her M.A. in Archival Studies and Ph.D. in Media and Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004, she worked in archives and special collections at the University of Illinois before coming to UC Irvine.
Together with strong advocates in Brad, Barbara, Dawn, and many others here at UCI Libraries and in the community, we are preserving the history of the LGBT community in Orange County and ensuring that future generations will have access to a diverse and rich historical record.
For further information, please contact Michelle Light in Special Collections and Archives at email@example.com or 949.824.7193.Background image: Parents and Friends of Gays flier, circa early 1980s, from the Pat Callahan files on Orange County lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activism
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