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LGBTQ Institute's Jim Allen papers

Identifier: Q149

Scope and Contents of the Papers

The LGBTQ Institute's Jim Allen's papers, 1956-2016 (bulk 1989-1993) consist of documents surrounding his work as an AIDS Activist in Atlanta with the group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), from the late 1980s to late 1990s, with the motto "Silence = Death". Much of the gay community was trying to understand and fight the AIDS epidemic. The papers consist of flyers, fact sheets, correspondence, articles, surveys, questionnaires and a variety of ephemera from the many demonstrations and activist activities he was championing.


  • 1956-2016
  • Majority of material found within 1989 - 1993


Restrictions on Access

Access to certain files restricted as noted on the collection inventory.

Biography of Jim Allen

James E. Allen (born 1954) was raised in Winter Park, Florida, within an Irish Catholic family of 11 brothers and sisters. He has always liked the rare and unusual and has a passion for Civil Rights memorabilia. He became a "picker" of antiques, some of which are now housed at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. He amassed a major collection of lynching photographs and postcards and photographs in his antique business. In 2000, Allen published Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (with contributions by Representative John Lewis, Leon Litwack, and Hilton Als) from his collection. The following year he placed the photos on exhibit in New York to help draw worldwide attention to America's history of racial violence. When the National Center for Civil and Human Rights opened in 2014, it displayed the exhibit as part of its permanent collection.

During the AIDS crisis in the mid to late 1980s he became an Atlanta activist with the group "AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power" (ACT UP). ACT Up was a diverse, non-partisan group united in frustration and committed to ending the AIDS crisis through protest and other forms of civil disobedience.


39.2 Linear Feet (in 43 containers)

Language of Materials



The LGBTQ Institute's Jim Allen papers, 1956-2016 (bulk 1989-1993), includes articles, clippings, correspondence, flyers, petitions, and protest ephemera and photographs of the many protests ACT UP organized in Atlanta. The materials relate to the many challenges posed to people with HIV during the height of the AIDS crisis.

Provenance Information

After being received by the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the collection was housed at the Atlanta History Center from circa 2013 until transfer to Georgia State University Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated on behalf of the LGBT Institute of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, 2016.

Related Archival Materials

Related Materials in This Repository

  1. Thomas H. Crim, Jr. papers, 1984-1993 (Q105)
  2. Richard Rhodes papers, 1987-1993; 2012; undated (Q138)
  3. Jeff Graham oral history interview, August 8 and September 25, 2014 (Q101.11)
  4. Gender and Sexuality Oral History Project, 2011- (Q101)
  5. Andrew P. Wood papers, 1987-2014 (bulk 1988-1990) (Q121)
  6. Andrew Wood oral history interview, June 24 and August 19, 2014
  7. Carl Owens collection on Cracker Barrel Restaurants, 1991-2002 (Q129)

Separated Material

Separated to Special Collections books; see archivist for list

Collection Transfer Note

This collection was previously designated W149, but was assigned collection number Q149 with the formationĀ of the Gender and Sexuality Collection in 2018.

Processing Information

Processed by Samantha Harvil, Morna Gerrard and Hilary Morrish at the file level, 2017.
Jim Allen:
A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library
Samantha Harvel and Hilary Morrish
Spring 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)