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Bill Gripp collection of Atlanta Gay Center records

Identifier: Q196

Scope and Contents of the Records

The Bill Gripp Collection of Atlanta Gay Center Records consists of administrative reports, committee and board minutes, correspondence, press releases, flyers, photographs, photo negatives, audio cassettes, VHS tapes, newspapers, and newspaper clippings collected by William (Bill) Gripp in connection with the Atlanta Gay Center. The collection spans from 1940-2006, with most materials from 1982-1996. This is the period Gripp served as a board member of the Atlanta Gay Center.

Included in the collection are public health notices, legislation, and correspondence regarding the AIDS epidemic from government agencies and public health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control, Georgia General Assembly, and the City of Atlanta. These materials shaped the Center’s practices in its clinic and the information it published related to the disease.

Correspondence between the Center and other Atlanta LGBTQ organizations for the purposes of collaboration for events, protests, advocacy, or studies is also included in this collection. Such organization include the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, AID Atlanta, the Americal Civil Liberties Union, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Community Gay and Lesbian Association.


  • Creation: 1940-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1982-1996


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use. Access to some items is restricted for 75 years from the date of creation.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

No user copies of audiovisual items. Please contact Spaceial Collections and Archives about accessing this material.

Biography of Bill Gripp

William Smith Gripp, 77, passed away at his home on February 24, 2020. Bill was born to Lowell and Elizabeth Gripp on April 4, 1942, in Rockford, Illinois. He was an accomplished soprano and vocal soloist as a young boy in the Methodist Church choir in Rockford and pursued his passion for music his entire life. As a gifted cellist, he performed publicly in Illinois, Iowa, Georgia and Oregon in concerts, recitals, public events and memorials. He played the piano beautifully by ear, and played the violin, as he quipped, for his own amusement and the consternation of his friends. He received his degree in social work from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, moved to Atlanta in the 1970s, and settled in Candler Park in 1977 where he resided from 1983 until his death with his partner and husband Michael Wilson.

Bill retired in 2008 after a long career as executive director of Piedmont Counseling Services. He was a distinguished classical music critic for many years at the Atlanta publications Gazette and Creative Loafing, published in the magazine Viol, and was an avid collector of rare classical music and opera recordings. Stringed instrumental music and the re-creative artists who performed this music were his favorites, especially those whom he personally met - Pablo Casals, Nathan Milstein, Gaspar Cassado and Maurice Gendron. A tireless advocate for the gay community, he served several terms as the chairperson of the board of directors at the Atlanta Gay Center, conducting training of volunteers to staff the peer counseling helpline services offered by the AGC, facilitating the Young Adult Support Group at the AGC, and providing cultural sensitivity training for cadets at the Atlanta Police Academy. He appeared in countless interviews for print and broadcast media advocating civil rights for gay people, and raised public awareness and police accountability for hate crimes in Atlanta. In 1987, he inspired many gay Atlantans to attend the March on Washington, D.C., for the unveiling of the national quilt honoring those who died from AIDS, and subsequently played his cello for The Quilt exhibit tour in Atlanta. He loved birds, especially his mealy Amazon and orange-winged Amazon parrots, and bred parakeets and most recently canaries. His Swedish ancestry inspired his Swedish pancakes and lingonberries. He was a collector of antique automobiles and had a voracious curiosity for just about everything, especially anything about music, composers, musicians, animals, cars, novels and any non-fiction obscure minutia.

History of the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Center

The Atlanta Gay Center was founded October 11, 1976. The Center served as a resource for Atlanta's LGBT community, adapting programs and services to the changes occurring over the next two decades. By 1997, the Center changed its name to The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Center. The Center had a regular publication, library, HIV/STD Clinic, and helpline that provided referrals, general information, and some counseling services. At both their early location, 931 Ponce de Leon, and then their later one, 159 Ralph McGill Boulevard, the Center provided space for support groups and various community programs.


11.4 Linear Feet (in 19 boxes)

Language of Materials



The records are arranged in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Michael Wilson, November 2021.

Processing Information

Processed by Alexander Berry at the file level, Spring 2023.



Atlanta Gay Center
A Guide to Bill Gripp's Collection of Records at Georgia State University Library
Alexander Berry
May 2023
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)