Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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D.C. councilman donates documents to Gelman Library

GW honored D.C. Councilman Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) at a reception Thursday for donating his personal collection of documents to Gelman Library. The collection, which is housed in Gelman Library’s Gay and Lesbian Archives, is among the most prominent ever collected in the gay and lesbian communities of the United States, said Francine Henderson, head of the Special Collections department.

Henderson said the papers include 20,000 cubic feet of original documentation from the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C. Graham served as executive director of the clinic. The collection includes photos of events, such as Elizabeth Taylor visiting the clinic and the AIDS Walk.

The collection includes clinic reports and analysis, posters of events and newspaper clippings. Graham also offered a scrapbook kept by the clinic for those who want to see a more human side of the collection.

The Whitman-Walker Clinic is the only clinic of its kind in the United States because its programming is geared toward the AIDS epidemic within the gay and lesbian community. The clinic set the standard for how the American society should deal with issues concerning AIDS, such as housing for those with the virus and health care for those who are dealing with the disease.

Henderson said the collection can serve GW students well.

“Because of the rarity of these documents, as well as the shear quantity of them, the collection is an invaluable research tool,” Henderson said. “I think this is especially so because of the fact that there are quite a few very prominent gender-related courses, as well as gay and lesbian groups at this school.”

While the collection was brought to Gelman last December, the same month that Graham took his place on the D.C. council, the reception in his honor was not held until last week.

Henderson said that a reception was held because of the size and stature of the donation by Graham.

“I do not give donor receptions to all who donate papers to Gelman, but in this case the collection was of such size and of such rare content that I felt it necessary,” she said. “And I put it off until recently because I wanted him to have time to get settled into his new position, and I wanted to have time to give him a proper reception to show gratitude.”

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