Our Mission
To document and preserve the history
of Boston's LGBT community, and
to share that information with the public.

Find out what we're doing...

Watch a short movie about THP.

Explore our digital collections.

The History Project's Events Calendar

The "Out of the Archives" Series

May 3, 2018: Rebuilding the Historic Closet: The Up Stairs Lounge Fire

While writing Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, author Robert Fieseler spent much time and effort recreating the context of "the closet" of 1973 - a societal condition that now puzzles LGBTQ+ youth, as well as many allies who prefer to overlook their past attitudes. Fieseler will discuss this part of his writing process, and his research into the fire and its ramifications.

Read more about the Out of the Archives Series
Author Robert Fieseler and the book cover for Tinderbox

Introducing a new way to celebrate and support LGBT history. . .

poster for hanky panky shows a series of mustached 70s-style men, from the back, hankies in back pockets, each hanky colored like the rainbow flag

Hanky Panky: A Flagging Party
Sunday, April 22, 6:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Music by DJ Brian Halligan | Performance by Werewolf Becky
Jacques Underground | 79 Broadway | Bay Village, Boston

All are welcome! (21+ only, though)
Tickets: $20 (Tickets are required.)

Image credit: Adam Fearing & Brendan Denommee

  The House At Lobster Cove: The Hidden Life Of George Nixon Black

Wednesday, May 9, Reception 6:00 p.m., Lecture 6:30 p.m.
Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Mass.

George Nixon Black was exceptional for a gay man in the nineteenth century. Boston's largest taxpayer, Black's great privilege contrasted with his awareness that his sexual orientation represented a danger. While Black was probably content to slip unnoticed into history, Kragsyde, his now-demolished house at Lobster Cove in Manchester-by-the-Sea, was adored by architects and scholars, and appeared in many publications, from the time it was built in 1883.

Historic New England and The History Project welcome author Jane Goodrich for a special talk on this elusive Boston bachelor, his two great loves, and his famous and beloved house.

Advance tickets required. Call 617-994-6679 and mention The History Project for the discounted price ($15), or order online for $20 to support both organizations.


On October 11, The History Project honored our 2017 HistoryMaker
Larry Kessler — a monumental figure in Boston's LGBTQ community.

Larry Kessler, center, with THP Co-Chairs Joan Ilacqua and Andrew Elder

Larry Kessler, center, with THP Co-Chairs Joan Ilacqua and Andrew Elder

We also presented The Lavender Rhino Award
to emerging history-maker Allison Wright.

Allison Wright, right, with THP member Carisa Cunningham

Allison Wright, right, with THP member Carisa Cunningham


Fran's Place Collection

One of the oldest bars in Massachusetts, Fran's place had a long and vibrant life in the city of Lynn. The bar was a gathering place for the local LGBTQ Community, drawing a large lesbian crowd from the bowling alley next door. It is known as the first bar to host a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research, the first bar to have a float in the Boston Gay Pride Parade, and the first to host gay weddings. Fran's Place closed in September 2016.

Read more about Fran's Place and view the finding aid
Men of All Colors Together/Boston Collection

Men of All Colors Together/Boston (BWMT/Boston; MACT/Boston), founded under the name "Black and White Men Together/Boston" in 1980 is the Boston chapter of the National Association of Black and White Men Together (known as the "International Association of Black and White Men Together" at its inception). MACT/Boston is the second-oldest national chapter and the oldest interracial gay group on the East Coast.
View digitized materials
Older Lesbian Energy (OLE) Collection

Older Lesbian Energy (OLE) is a social organization for lesbian women over age 40. Founded in 1980 by Toni Schiff and Anita Fast, OLE grew out of Schiff's 1979 master's thesis, "The Development of a Radical Lifestyle in Mid-Life." Schiff interviewed a number of middle-aged lesbians who told her they felt isolated and alone. In October 1979, Schiff invited these women and their over-40 friends to her home for a dinner party. Forty women showed up...
View digitized materials
Gays for Patsy Collection

Gays for Patsy (GFP) is a Boston-based, nonprofit, all-volunteer organization made up of Country/Western dance enthusiasts. They mission is to share the joy of country-western dancing while raising funds for groups serving those in need. View digitized materials
Black Gay and Lesbian Collection

In April 2017, an anonymous donor gave this collection to The History Project — left for us at an event at Fenway Health, in two cloth bags and three archival magazine boxes. The collection consists of a variety of printed media including newspaper articles, (original and photocopied,) brochures, flyers, magazines, and photographs, which documents Boston's black gay and lesbian history.
View digitized materials
Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project Collection

The Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project (LGBTQ-DVP) was founded in 1994, by a victim of domestic violence when he was repeatedly denied services by mainstream domestic violence shelters in his attempt to leave his abusive partner.
View digitized materials
The Charles Shively Collection

Charles "Charley" Shively, born in 1937, is a gay activist known for his 1977 Boston Pride keynote where he burned several documents, including his Harvard degree and pages from the Bible. He was founder of Fag Rag, a scholar of gay history, and a poet. The collection contains a variety of printed media including newspaper articles, (original and photocopied,) poetry magazines, serials, books, personal correspondence, and speeches.
View digitized materials


There are many ways to volunteer with The History Project. You can help us to plan events like our HistoryMaker Awards or From the Archives series, work on processing archives & new collections, or help us with fundraising.

We send out a monthly email with specific volunteer opportunities, including dates and times. To receive this volunteer-specific email, contact Tony Grima.

We hope you'll join us!

Watch clips from interviews in
the Boston Deejay Project
We're collecting oral histories from deejays in LGBT clubs in the Boston area, past and present. We put the full interviews into our archives and present parts of them on YouTube. If you are or were a DJ in Boston's gay clubs - at any point in time - and would like to sit down with The History Project, please email Tony.

Right: Boston deejay Anthony Porter talks about his early years; going to clubs in early 70s to cruise tearooms and The Art Cinema; going to The Other Side at age 14 (1971); moving out to live on Beacon Hill at age 16; going to the 1270 in 1972 and noticing Jimmy Stuard's music.


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to pursue the dream of one day securing a permanent home for our collections.
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The History Project: Calendar

The History Project is a volunteer-driven organization focused on several important initiatives: 
  • Conducting research on lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people in Massachusetts
  • Preserving the documentary record of that community's social and historical contributions
  • Providing a forum for educating the general public

The Women's Theatre Project present
Silence is Never Golden (1994)

The History Project | 29 Stanhope Street, Boston MA 02116
617.266.7733 | info@historyproject.org