National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Science, Medicine, and Society Search this
7.5 Cubic feet (21 boxes, 3 oversized folders)
This collection consists of pamphlets, books, and a wide variety of printed matter and ephemera relating to HIV/AIDS. The collection was principally assembled by National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution curators Ramunas Kondratas and Katherine Ott.
Scope and Contents:
The Division of Science, Medicine, and Society HIV/AIDS Reference Collection contains a large amount of printed material representing how HIV/AIDS was depicted in popular culture, in the medical sciences, by activist groups, and by government agencies principally during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Most of the collection consists of pamphlets, brochures, reports, and other educational material designed to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in the general public.
This collection includes correspondence and conference proceedings related to the history of HIV/AIDS. The materials were collected by NMAH curator Ramunas "Ray" Kondratas, working together with the AIDS history group that was part of the American Association for the History of Medicine. A number of bibliographies and resource guides to literature related to HIV/AIDS are included in the collection. Geographically, the material is primarily from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, with New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the general United States, as well as Lithuania and London, also represented in the collection.
An addendum was added to the collection in 2023. These materials were gathered during research for the National Museum of American History exhibition that opened in May 2011.
The Smithsonian Institution press release described the three pronged exhibit: ""HIV and AIDS Thirty Years Ago" will look at the public health, scientific and political responses in the early phase (1981-87) of the global pandemic. This showcase will be located in the museum's "Science in American Life" exhibition, which focuses on the connections among science, culture and society in American history. The display will feature photographs, magazine covers and other graphics plus equipment that Dr. Jay Levy used to isolate the virus in his lab at the University of California, San Francisco, a copy of the Surgeon General's 1986 report presenting the government's position, samples of the drugs AZT and Retrovir and public health information pamphlets from AIDS service organizations. The website will be available at americanhistory.si.edu/hivaids.
In "Archiving the History of an Epidemic: HIV and AIDS, 1985-2009," the museum's Archives Center will show how individuals and society were affected by the epidemic through a selection of archival materials from its collections, including posters for the 1993 movie Philadelphia with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington and the 1989 film Longtime Companion; brochures, photographs and other popular culture materials; and quotes from oral histories of people affected by the epidemic.
The museum will also display a panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt of the Names Project Foundation, honoring Roger Lyon, who died of complications from AIDS in 1984 shortly after testifying before Congress to appeal for funding to combat the growing epidemic. The quilt will be on view in the first-floor Artifacts Wall." SI Press Release, May 2011.
The collection is organized into five series.
Series 1, Educational Material and Advertisements, 1984-2004
Subseries 1, American Red Cross, 1986-1993, undated
Subseries 2, Gay Men's Health Crisis, Incorporated, 1985-1994, undated
Subseries 3, New York State Health Department, 1984-1991, undated
Subseries 4, Government of the District of Columbia, 1990-1996, undated
Subseries 5, United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1984-1995, undated
Subseries 7, Various Organizations, 1984-2004, undated
Subseries 8, Posters, Newspapers, and Ephemera, 1986-1994, undated
Series 2, Reports, Commissions and Bibliographies, 1981-1999
Subseries 1, Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Epidemic, 1987-1989
Subseries 2, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1981-1999
Subseries 3, National Library of Medicine (NLM), 1986-1993
Subseries 4, Other Organizations, 1987-1988
Series 3, Ramunas Kondratas, Correspondence and Collected Materials, 1979-1994, undated
Series 4, AIDS/HIV Related Press Clippings and Periodicals, 1982-2006
Series 5, Audiovisual Material, 1988
Series 6, 2023 Addendum, 1975-2019, undated
Subseries 6.1, Research Files, 1975-2019, undated
Subseries 6.2, Periodicals, 1983-2012, undated
Subseries 6.3, Photographs and Audio-Visual, 1985-2010, undated
Biographical / Historical:
The HIV/AIDS crisis that began in the 1980s is a defining event of the latter half of the 20th century. Once thought to be a disease affecting homosexual men only, the epidemic spread to the broader population of the United States and the world at large. The response to the epidemic came from many public and private organizations, some internationally known like the Red Cross and some at the local level such as the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C. Many organizations produced a variety of pamphlets, studies, and reports dealing with all aspects of the disease.
This collection consists of material collected by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Division of Science, Medicine, and Society. The bulk of the collection was assembled by curator Ramunas "Ray" Kondratas during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Received from Ramunas Kondratas, curator, Division of Science, Medicine, and Society. 2023 Addenda received from Katherine Ott, curator, Division of Science, Medicine, and Society.
The collection is open for research use.
Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow. Please ask staff to remove any staples before copying.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Charles W. White papers, 1933-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Funding for the digitization was provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.
Netherlands -- Amsterdam -- Description and Travel
New York (N.Y.) -- Description and Travel
Tanzania -- Description and Travel
2017 March 27-29
Scope and Contents:
An interview with Lyle Ashton Harris, conducted 2017 March 27 and 29, by Alex Fialho, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Harris's studio and home in New York, New York.
Harris speaks of his childhood in the Bronx; his family's influence on his race-consciousness; living in Tanzania for two years as a child and the effects on his understanding of race and sexuality; his grandfather's extensive photographic archive; contact with the South African diaspora through his step-father; attending Wesleyan University; formative experiences in London, Amsterdam, and New York in the mid-1980s; his education and development as a photographer; attending CalArts and encountering West Coast AIDS activism; encountering systemic racism in Los Angeles; close friendships with Marlon Riggs and Essex Hemphill; exhibitions of his work in New York in the early 1990s; the production of his Ektachrome Archive and his impulse to photograph daily life; his work on the Black Community AIDS Research and Education (Black C.A.R.E.) project in Los Angeles; participating in the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program; being diagnosed with HIV and remaining asymptomatic; attending the Dia Black Popular Culture Conference in 1992; photographing and mounting "The Good Life" in 1994 and "The Watering Hole" in 1996; issues of blackness and queerness in his photographic work; his residency at the American Academy in Rome in 2000; moving to Accra, Ghana for seven years in 2005; his pedagogy as an art professor; his thoughts on the lack of voices of color in the Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic Oral History Project and in the larger power structures of the art world; and his hope that his artistic legacy will be evaluated in its proper context. Harris also recalls Jackie and Robert O'Meally, Jay Seeley, Ellen O'Dench, Francesca Woodman, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jim Collier, Robert Mapplethorpe, Allan Sekula, Hazel Carby, Isaac Julien, Catherine Lord, Millie Wilson, Todd Gray, John Grayson, Tommy Gear, Marlon Riggs, Essex Hemphill, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Nancy Barton, Vickie Mays, Connie Butler, Greg Tate, Henry Louis Gates, Houston Baker, Nan Goldin, Jack Tilton, Simon Watson, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Lyle Ashton Harris (1965- ) is an artist who works in video, photography, and performance in New York, New York. Alex Fialho (1989- ) is a curator and arts writer and works as Programs Director for Visual AIDS in New York, New York.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Performance artists -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Photographers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Video artists -- New York (State) -- New York Search this