Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

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Collection Overview

Biographical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection Overview
Name of Creator:Canfield, William J., 1946– .
Title:William J. Canfield papers
Date: 1946–2012 (bulk 1970–1999)
Reference Code:M69
Location Code:65/4, 40/1-2
Extent:12.50 cubic ft. (17 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:This collection was assembled by William J. Canfield II. It documents homophile groups (the Homophile Union of Boston (HUB), Student Homophile League (SHL)), services, and publications (Esplanade, Fag Rag, Gay Community News) in Boston in the late 1960s through the mid–1980s. In addition, the collection includes planning documentation for the Gay Liberation Reunion (GLR) of 1990 and the Boston Gay Reunion (BGR) of 1999.
Historical Abstract:William J. Canfield II was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1946. He was a gay activist in Boston and was involved in the Boston gay liberation movement between 1970 and 1975. In 1971–1972, Canfield was president of Homophile Union of Boston (HUB). The Homophile Union of Boston was founded in 1969 by Frank Morgan in order to broaden awareness of gay lifestyles and seek civil rights for gays and lesbians. Along with John C. Graves (MIT professor, psychologist, and psychotherapist at the Homophile Community Health Services (HCHS), an organization that served Boston's gay population, providing psychological counseling, medical services, draft counseling, and referrals for homeless teens.), Canfield was a primary force behind the second attempt at collecting materials for a Boston Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Language and Scripts:Materials are in English.
System of Arrangement:Organized into 6 series: 1. Boston and Vicinity Gay Movement; 2. National Gay Organizations; 3. Gay Publications; 4. Boston Gay Reunions; 5. Boston Gay Archives Microfilmed Selections; and 6. Personal Papers.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Canfield, William J., 1946–
  • Braun, Rich
  • Graves, John C.
  • Johnson, Lois
  • McCassie, James
  • Mitzell, John
  • Thiersch, Craig
  • Tillotson, Stanley

  • Homophile Union of Boston
  • Student Homophile League (Cambridge, Mass.)

  • Gay activists––Massachusetts –– Boston
  • Gay liberation movement –– Massachusetts –– Boston
  • Gay men –– Identity
  • Gay newspapers –– Massachusetts –– Boston
  • Gay rights –– Massachusetts –– Boston

Conditions Governing Access:The collection is unrestricted.
Technical Access:Ten of the twenty 3.5–inch floppy disks comprising Falinge Farm: Budgets failed to mount on departmental computers.
Processor: Finding aid prepared by Michael Blech, 2002; updated by Dominique Medal, February 2016