Now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force, the image above is of a handwritten note welcoming Bill Bordeau into the National Gay Task Force, and a business card sized membership card.
Authored by Kathleen Daly
At a time when there was a great deal of political and cultural turmoil there was one local New York City man who was a vocal activist for gay rights. Affiliation of any kind with a group like the National Gay Task Force was polarizing for some, especially when this was a time when the American Psychiatric Association, or APA, still had homosexuality classified as a mental illness. In the publication of the original Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, in 1952, as well as in the second version, “individuals were labeled sick because they did not fit in, not necessarily because they felt afflicted, in pain, or under any kind of mental stress” (Dunn 2017, 183). The stigma that homosexuals had to live under was codified under the guidelines of mental health diagnoses and it took a great deal of fighting back from many groups inside the APA, and a few outside as well, to get those definitions removed finally in late 1973. Other legal definitions and laws changing, such as the case of 1964’s Civil Rights Act and the fallout within the homosexual community (Bruce 2016, 46-47) gave rise to many people within it wishing to take further action. Continue reading →
In 1971, Marymount Manhattan College and the St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf united forces to present “Androcles and the Lion,” written by Aurand Harris and adapted by Dorothy Dodd. Harris’ plays for children are remarkable, as he had a deep and real understanding of children’s interests and concerns, what they find funny, and what they find important (McCaslin 1984, 115).
Playbill featuring Marcel Marceau from the William Harris Papers
The William B. Harris Papers are a collection of theater ephemera collected over a period of 30 years. After graduating from college William Harris moved to New York to become a writer. He would eventually be the theater editor for SoHo Weekly News and managing editor of Theatre Crafts Magazine. In the process of doing this work he would accumulate his theater collection. Mr. Harris would die of a massive coronary at the age of 49 on July 27, 2000. His brother John would donate the collection to Marymount Manhattan College, which has a dance and theater program.
Mr. Harris’s papers are divided into eight separate genres; three are not in the archives at Marymount Manhattan College. The remaining five include unpublished scripts, photographs, posters, one videocassette and the largest part of the collection is in series #2. Series #2 contains 4,450 folders primarily newspaper clipping of reviews, playbills, photographs, postcards, advertisements for performances, as well as personal correspondence. This playbill from 1958 of Marcel Marceau is part of the collection. Continue reading →
1989 Theater Review of James Mundy’s ‘Sinners and Saints’
One of the many treasures in the archives of Marymount Manhattan College is the William B. Harris papers. Harris, a theater and dance critic for the SoHo Weekly News and Theatre Crafts magazine accumulated over 96 unpublished play scripts and 4,450 archived boxes of clippings connected to various authors and playwrights over a thirty year period. When Harris died in 2000, his family donated his entire collection to the performing arts library at Marymount. Continue reading →
Playbill for a production of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” from the William Harris Papers.
William B. Harris collected this playbill, along with many other theater-related items. The collection is titled “The William Harris Papers,” and is located at Marymount Manhattan College in their library’s archives. “This collection has been completely processed and consists of 96 scripts, 4,450 folders of clippings and a collection of photographs gathered by Mr. Harris during the decades of the 1960s to the 1990s, to support his work as a critic of avant-garde theater and dance in downtown Manhattan.” The collection is alphabetically organized within eight genres, (unpublished scripts, clippings, a videocassette, photographs, books, ephemera, periodicals, and recordings) three of which are not preserved in the archives, and are titled as Series 1-8.