In many ways, Boston’s history is America’s history

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 History Project — established in 1980 by a group of historians, activists and archivists — is the only group focused exclusively on preserving the history of Boston’s LGBT community, and on making that history accessible to future generations. This research and preservation is of paramount importance for the LGBT community, which is often excluded from history. In fact, some historians —whether deliberately or negligently— have taken steps to hide or obscure the nature of those contributions.

Since the documentation of the gay and lesbian experience is fragmentary and scattered, it has remained largely inaccessible to researchers, educators, the general public, and even the gay community itself. Through its mission, THP seeks to provide an accurate portrayal of the contributions our community has made to the political, cultural and economic life of the region.

To this end, The History Project produces or participates in 15-20 events or projects per year. Our audiences range from a few dozen people for our Out of the Archives series to the thousands of people who have purchased and read our full-length book, Improper Bostonians (Beacon Press).

THP also collaborates with different organizations that need information regarding Boston’s LGBT community. In recent years these groups have included Northeastern University, Speak Out, GLSTEN, the American Historical Association, BAGLY, Boston GLASS, and Prime Timers, as well as other groups and individuals. We make frequent appearances at conferences, meet with individual historians about Boston’s LGBT history, and answer inquiries from the general public related to our archives and our ongoing research.

THP is led by an all-volunteer board, currently co-chaired by Joan Ilacqua and Andrew Elder. In the absence of paid staff, board members and volunteers are responsible for all aspects of operations including administration, fundraising, program development, research, and archiving.