Papers documenting Fred Karger's acting career, his activism for marriage equality, preservation of the Boom Boom Room (Laguna Beach, California) and other LGBT concerns, Karger's political consulting, and his candidacy for United States President, 2012, as the first openly gay candidate of a major political party.
The Fred Karger Papers consist mostly of secondary materials, film scripts, newspapers, periodicals, and clippings documenting activist and former presidential candidate Fred Karger's brief film and television acting career, his activism for preservation of the Boom Boom Room (originally the South Seas) at the Coast Inn, "Save the Boom", and material from his candidacy for president in 2012. The papers contain material related to Karger's activism for marriage equality and other LGBT concerns.
The collection includes material relating to his childhood education, such as school photographs; his acting career, scripts from television shows and motion pictures he appeared in; and brochures and flyers from his political activism, including boycotts of businesses supporting Proposition 8 (protecting "traditional marriage") in California. The bulk of material relates to Karger's efforts to save the Boom Boom Room (Laguna Beach, California) credited with being the oldest gay bar in West of the Mississippi. The collection includes protest posters, some hand made; columns, articles, clippings and magazines containing articles by and about Karger, some gay-oriented, others not. Material from his presidential campaign is also included such as yard signs, posters, and posters from the 2014 documentary, Fred. There is also a framed letter from Richard M. Nixon.
There are also vintage magazines and newspaper articles covering major events, such as President John F. Kennedy's assassination and the attack on 9/11.
These papers are arranged into four series.
Series 1: Activism and Presidential Campaign, 1988-2014, undated
Series 2: Theatrical Scripts, 1971-1976
Series 3: Newspapers and Magazines, 1963-2025
Series 4: Photographs and Ephemera, 1950-2010, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Portions of this biography were supplied by the donor, Fred Karger.
Fred S. Karger was born on Januray 31, 1950 in Glencoe, Illinois, the son of Richard (1911-1998) and Jean Foreman Karger (1918-2003). He attended primary and secondary schools in Glencoe. In the mid-1970s Karger pursued an acting career in Los Angeles, California. He later pursued a career in political consulting.
"Fred Karger is an American political consultant, LGBTQ rights activist, author, political pundit, writer, public speaker, former actor and 2012 presidential candidate for the Republican nomination for President. Karger has worked on ten presidential campaigns and served as a senior consultant during the campaigns of President's Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
Karger was a partner in the Dolphin Group, a California based political consulting firm for 27 years. He retired in 2004 and has since worked as an LGBTQ activist. He began in 2006 trying to save a Laguna Beach, California landmark gay bar, the Boom Boom Room.
In 2008 he founded Californians Against Hate, now Rights Equal Rights and led boycotts of four of the biggest donors to California's Proposition 8. He successfully settled three of those boycotts. Immediately after Prop 8 passed, Fred called for the State of California to investigate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon Church) and later the states of Maine, Iowa, Hawaii and California to investigate the rabidly anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM). In the summer of 2012, he launched the ongoing global Boycott of Amway after its owners, the DeVos family, contributed $750,000 to NOM.
Fred's running for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 made him the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history, helping to pave the way for Mayor Pete Buttigieg's run in 2020." [Fred Karger Biography, AC/NMAH Control File, AC1439]
During his presidential campaign Karger appeared on six ballots; New Hampshire, Michigan, Puerto Rico, Maryland, California, and Utah. He campaigned in over 30 states and received, "widespread praise for paving the way for future LGBT candidates." Karger has been interviewed on many local, national, and international television, radio, and webcast programs. His autobiography, Fred Who? was published in 2011.
Donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution by Fred Karger in November 2017.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The Jerry Dreva papers measures 1.0 linear foot and dates from circa 1963-1982. The papers include biographical information; rare printed material; scrapbooks; correspondence consisting of letters of support for the exhibition DREVA/GRONK 1968-78: Ten Years of Art/Life (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 1978) and mail art; zines and small artist books exchanged with collaborators and friends; material documenting Dreva's relationship with performance artist, Gronk, including staged photographs, candid snapshots, correspondence, and ephemera, chronicling their shared practice, and the glam Hollywood, activist Chicana/o, and queer scenes in 1970s and 80s Los Angeles. Also included are two small labeled vinyl albums, one of which appears to have been used in a piece of artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The Jerry Dreva papers measures 1.0 linear foot and dates from circa 1963-1982. The papers include biographical information; rare printed material; scrapbooks; correspondence consisting of letters of support for the exhibition DREVA/GRONK 1968-78: Ten Years of Art/Life (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 1978) and mail art; zines and small artist books exchanged with collaborators and friends; material documenting Dreva's relationship with performance artist, Gronk, including staged photographs, candid snapshots, correspondence, and ephemera, chronicling their shared practice, and the glam Hollywood, activist Chicana/o, and queer scenes in 1970s and 80s Los Angeles. Also included are two small labeled vinyl albums.
Correspondence consists of letters to friends and institutions for which Dreva created mail and graphic art for. Some of the indiduals include: Vittore Baroni, John Jack, The Gay Activists Alliance, Michael Scott, and Sandy Robertson. Also included are files of mail art created by Dreva or sent to him by friends and other artists.
Professional files consist of some invoices and receipts, material related to the "Dreva/Gronk 1968-1978 Ten Years of Art/Life" exhibition, work for Mohammed publication company in Italy, certificates, a vinyl record produced by Le Petite Bon-Bons, and a scrapbook.
Printed material consists of clippings, announcements and posters, editions of Mainman Newsletter, "Despair" comic book, "How I Became Rich and Famous" by Captain Zerox, and "Mail Art Show" exhibition catalog.
Photographic material consists of photographs of Dreva, photographs of Dreva and Gronk, photographs of Le Petite Bon-Bons band members and various famous rock stars, and candid shots.
The collection is arranged into four series
Series 1: Correspondence, 1972-1983 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Professional Activity Files, 1975-1984 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Printed Material, 1964-1979 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 4: Photographic Material, circa 1975-1979 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
Biographical / Historical:
Jerry Dreva (1945-1997) was a performance artist, writer, activist, and teacher based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Los Angeles, California. Dreva was a leader in the mail art movement during the 1970s and 1980s. He was a founding member (together with Robert J. Lambert) of Les Petites Bon-Bons, a flamboyantly attired musical group that never played a single concert. In fact, they never so much as picked up an instrument. Instead they dressed as glitter rock musicians of the era (1970's) and were frequently featured in newspapers and magazines.
Donated in 2020 by Patrick Veda, a family attorney and the executor of Dreva's mother's estate.
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.
Performance artists -- California -- Los Angeles Search this