[Gay Ephemera] [Mattachine Society]

Mattachine Society: Minutes of Coordinating Council Meeting

N.p. [San Francisco] N.p. 17 January 1954

3 pp., typed, rectos only. Inked initials ('VCEB') in top right corner of top page, mark of rusted paper clip to top left. A little age-toned, otherwise clean, bright and uncreased.

The Mattachine Society was the offspring of the first national Gay Rights organisations in the United States. It started life in 1950 as the Mattachine Foundation, and was based in Los Angeles. It moved to San Francisco and became the Mattachine Society in April, 1953, but wasn't formally chartered until March the following year. These minutes, of a Coordinating Meeting which took place on 17 January 1954, speak of a movement trying to run before it can walk, of the best of intentions being defeated by the sheer scale of the task.
According to the minutes of the previous month's founding meeting, just four members had been in attendance; the good news was that attendance this month had increased to nine. (Again, names were avoided: those present are referred to by their office, or simply as 'Advisors' or 'members of the Society.') On the down side, these nine had found it impossible to act on the motions passed at the December meeting:


A. Legislative: (Report due on investigation re: Bill in Legislature to outlaw "Search Without Warrant".) NO REPORT.
B. Research: Chapter previously authorized to contact Dr. R. Gwartney re: Kinsey project. Had not done so. ...
C. Publications: Policy (previously refered back with minor changes.) NO REPORT.
D. Public Relations: ... (For record: Expression of dissatisfaction with incompletion of activities due to attempting more than present member-ship can successfully do).
E. Legal Committee Report: re: contact with Dept of Penal Instructions U.C.L.A. (Authorized December 18, 1953 - not done.)'

Undeterred by the inaction on Old Business, much New Business was discussed and agreed on. Since funds were very low -- the Treasurer reports a balance of $243.59, down from $379.97 the previous month -- most new proposals required no outlay:

'G. Motion: That persons of mature integrity be invited by majority vote to sit in on Coordinating Council meetings to witness Society progress and themselves become emissaries of good will and further cooperation with people of recognized standing in society. Carried.'

(It's probable that some funds had been spent since December on a new typewriter: the minutes of the December meeting had been typed on a machine with no 'e'. Here, the meeting -- and not the 'mooting' -- is called to order).

In light of the number of attendees at these meetings, and in order to maintain security, very few copies of these minutes would have been produced. Other than those in our current stock, we have never seen any others offered for public sale.

A fascinating document, placing the reader at the birth of the American Gay Rights movement.

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