Eldon Murray Papers, 1938-2007


Summary Information
Title: Eldon Murray Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1938-2007

Creator:
  • Murray, Eldon
Call Number: UWM Manuscript Collection 256

Quantity:
  • 4.2 cubic ft. (10 boxes)
  • 7 safety film negatives

Repository:
Archival Location:
UW-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives / Milwaukee Area Research Ctr. (Map)

Abstract:
Eldon Murray's papers include correspondence, photographs, writings, and files that document his pioneering role in the national gay rights movement. Collection also includes extensive clippings files compiled by Murray dating from 1947 to 1974 on the topic of homosexuality.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-mil-uwmmss0256
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Biography/History

Eldon Murray was born on March 1, 1930 to Lawrence Gilbert Murray and Eleanor Agnes Murray (née Hobson) in Vincennes, Indiana. Eldon was the youngest of four children born to the couple, who had separated several months before his birth. Siblings included Rosalee, Robertine, and George. Upon graduating from Lincoln High School in 1948, he moved to Chicago, where he worked various jobs and, for a brief period, attended evening classes at Northwestern University. In September 1951, Murray enlisted in the U.S. Army, then served in Korea as a forward artillery officer. At the end of his service, he returned to Chicago and took up a career in finance. He lived there until the mid-1950s, when he relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In fall 1970, Murray attended meetings of the Gay Liberation Organization, a recently formed student organization at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, at which he met Alyn Hess, Donna Utke, Shelia Sullivan, and others who would become close friends and allies in the gay rights movement. In early 1971, GLO-UWM reorganized itself as the Gay Peoples Union and emphasized its identity as a resource for the entire local community. Distancing itself from the radical politics of the New Left, GPU adopted a politically moderate approach to social change, emphasizing education and legal reform. The organization actively embraced mainstream and alternative media outlets in order to educate the general public about homosexuality. Murray edited the organization's newsletter, GPU News, from 1971 to 1981; participated in the production of Gay Perspective, a half-hour radio program broadcast locally from 1971 to 1972; and spoke eloquently on the topic of gay rights at numerous public events.

Following the first reported cases of AIDS in Wisconsin in the early 1980s, Murray was instrumental in raising funds for the Milwaukee AIDS Project, which was later reorganized as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. In December 1993, he founded SAGE/Milwaukee, the first organization in Wisconsin dedicated to serving the needs of older gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. He served as the board chair from 1993 to 2003 and represented SAGE/Milwaukee on an advisory board to the Commissioners of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging.

Murray received local and national awards for his work in the LGBT community, such as Pridefest Milwaukee's Stonewall Award and the Human Rights League's Cream City Brick Award. He was elected to the Cream City Business Association's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1998, ONE Institute and the International Gay and Lesbian Archives recognized him as one of thirty-two "pioneers of the movement."

Murray passed away on March 5, 2007, at the age of 77.

Scope and Content Note

Murray's childhood and adolescence in Vincennes, Indiana is represented in grade school reports, high school yearbooks and related materials, and photographs. Incoming correspondence from the 1950s and 1960s sheds light on his relationship with his mother, Eleanor Littleton (previously Murray), and his circle of gay friends and sexual partners. Of particular interest is incoming correspondence from Lt. George Lawson, who wrote to Murray from Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas, often commenting on "gay life" in the officer training program. Murray's outgoing correspondence from this period consists of drafts to various correspondents, including Lawson, and the original correspondence sent to his mother, returned to Murray presumably upon her death.

Murray's political activism in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is represented in files pertaining to various local organizations such as the Business Association of Milwaukee, the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, the Milwaukee AIDS Project, and SAGE/Milwaukee. The series of SAGE/Milwaukee records consists of Murray's personal copies of materials. Murray's involvement with the Gay Peoples Union is well-represented in the editorial files of the Gay Peoples Union records, a related collection held by the UWM Libraries Archives Department.

The collection includes an extensive series of newspaper and magazine clippings compiled by Murray and documenting coverage of homosexuality in print media from 1947 to 1974. Many clippings were taken from the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel, although coverage is national in scope.

Finally, the collection includes materials created by Louis Sullivan, born Shelia Sullivan, a transgender community activist with whom Murray became acquainted through the Gay Peoples Union. Sullivan moved to San Francisco in 1975 and became a pioneer in the female-to-male transsexual community. The collection includes a signed presentation copy of Sullivan's ground-breaking Information for the Female-to-Male Crossdresser and Transsexual, as well as research notes on homosexuality and transgender issues, and miscellaneous writings.

Preferred Citation

Citation Guide for Primary Sources

Alternate Format

Selections from this collection are included in the Gay Peoples Union Collection, an online resource created by the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections in collaboration with the UWM Libraries and opened in March 2009.

Related Material in the UWM Libraries
Separated Material in the UWM Libraries

In addition to this manuscript collection, the Estate of Eldon Murray also donated Murray's extensive book collection. Catalog records of items selected for acquisition include the following note: "From the collection of Eldon Murray/Gay Peoples Union."

Administrative/Restriction Information
Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the collection, which is open to all members of the public in accordance with state law.


Use Restrictions

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of this collection (Wisconsin Statutes 19.21-19.39).


Acquisition Information

The Estate of Eldon Murray donated this collection in June 2007 (accession 2007-001).


Processing Information

Rachel Arndt processed the series of SAGE/Milwaukee records in September 2007. Michael Doylen processed the remaining materials between August and December 2007.

In September 2011, Bob Jaeger removed 7 safety film negatives from the collection and placed them with other safety film negatives.

One box of SAGE-related materials (box 7) were removed from the collection and integrated into the SAGE Milwaukee records in October 2013.


Contents List
Box   8-10
Awards and Plaques, 2000-2007, , undated
Box   1
Folder   1
Arrest Records, 1987, , 2000
Box   1
Folder   2
Birth Certificate, 1993
Note: Date corresponds to date of issue
Box   1
Folder   3
Business Association of Milwaukee, 1979-1980, , undated
Certificates of Recognition
Box   1
Folder   4
1986-2000
Box   11
Folder   2
circa 2005
Box   1
Folder   5
Checklist of Lesbian, Variant, and Homosexual Fiction, 1960, with Supplements, , 1961, , 1962
Clippings
Box   1
Folder   6
1947-1965
Box   1
Folder   7
1971
Box   1
Folder   8
1972
Box   1
Folder   9
1973 January-April
Box   1
Folder   10
1973 May-August
Box   2
Folder   1
1973 September-December
Box   2
Folder   2
1974 January-June
Box   2
Folder   3
1974 July-October
Box   2
Folder   4
undated
Box   2
Folder   5
Milwaukee Sentinel Series, 1965
Correspondence
Incoming
Box   2
Folder   6
"Chips," 1950-1969
Box   2
Folder   7
General Correspondence, 1938-1949
Box   2
Folder   8
General Correspondence, 1950-1958
Box   2
Folder   9
General Correspondence, 1960-2007, , undated
Box   3
Folder   1
Lawson, George, 1951 January-May
Box   3
Folder   2
Nance, Dana, 1948-1951
Box   3
Folder   3
Sullivan, Sheila, 1975
Outgoing
Box   3
Folder   4
General Correspondence, 1952, , 1984
Box   3
Folder   5
Lawson, George, 1951
Box   3
Folder   6
Littleton, Eleanor, 1949-1950
Box   3
Folder   7
Littleton, Eleanor, 1951
Box   3
Folder   8
Littleton, Eleanor, 1952 January-July
Box   3
Folder   9
Littleton, Eleanor, 1952 August-1953
Box   3
Folder   10
Sullivan, Sheila/Lou, 1975, , 1984, , undated
Box   3
Folder   11
Third Party, 1951-1981
Box   3
Folder   12
Council on Religion and the Homosexual, 1973-1974
Box   11
Folder   3
Diplomat Review (Program of a Drag Show), circa 1950
Box   4
Folder   1
Eastside Coalition, 1971-1972
Box   4
Folder   2
Field Artillery, Battery C, 3rd Battalion, Yearbook, circa 1951
Box   11
Folder   1
Gay Liberation Organization [GLO-UWM] Manifesto, circa 1970
Box   4
Folder   3
Grade School Reports, 1938-1939
Hess, Alyn
Box   4
Folder   4
Funeral Register, 1989
Box   4
Folder   5
Obits and Death Notices, 1989
Box   4
Folder   6
High School Commencement, 1948
Box   4
Folder   7
High School Diploma, 1948
High School Yearbook
Box   4
Folder   8
1947
Box   4
Folder   9
1948
Box   4
Folder   10
Interviews, 1994
Box   4
Folder   11
Military Records, 1951-1952
Box   5
Folder   1
Milwaukee AIDS Project, 1985-1987, , undated
Box   5
Folder   2
Milwaukee Area Lambda League, undated
Box   5
Folder   3
Milwaukee County Senior Citizens Hall of Fame 2000 Awards Ceremony, 2000
Box   5
Folder   4
Passports, 1960, , 1976
Photographs
Box   5
Folder   5
circa 1960s-1980s
Note: Negatives of some of these prints are housed with other 4" x 5" safety film negatives.
Box   5
Folder   6-7
circa 1990s-2000s
Box   5
Folder   8
undated
Box   5
Folder   9
Chicago, circa 1950s
Note: Negatives of some of these prints are housed with other 4" x 5" safety film negatives.
Box   5
Folder   10
Chicago, Gay Party, circa 1950s
Box   5
Folder   11
Childhood and Grade School, 1930-1943
Box   5
Folder   12
China, 1997
Box   5
Folder   13
Gay Pride Milwaukee, 1973
Box   5
Folder   14
Gay Pride San Francisco, 1976
High School
Box   5
Folder   15
1945-1948
Box   11
Folder   4
1948
Korea
Box   5
Folder   16
City and Town Life, circa 1950-1953
Box   5
Folder   17
Military Life, circa 1950-1953
Box   5
Folder   18
Nature, circa 1950-1953
4 x 5 Safety Film Box   2
Miscellaneous Images of Murray and Others (Not Matched with Prints), circa 1950s-1960s
Physical Description: 4" x 5" Safety film negatives 
Box   6
Folder   1
ONE Institute, 2000
Box   6
Folder   2
SAGE/Milwaukee, 2001
Box   6
Folder   3
Sullivan, Lou, undated
Box   11
Folder   5
Unidentified, circa 1950
Box   6
Folder   4
Rice, Lee, "Homosexuality and the Social Order," circa 1974
SAGE/Milwaukee
Box   6
Folder   5
Affiliation Agreement, 1994
Box   6
Folder   6-17
Annual Reports, 1993-2003, , 2005
Box   6
Folder   18
Articles of Incorporation, 1994
Box   6
Folder   19
Board of Directors Minutes, 1994-2000
Box   6
Folder   20
Bylaws and Amendments, 1994-1995
Box   6
Folder   21
Clippings, 1994-2004
Box   6
Folder   22
Correspondence, 1993-2005
Grant Files
Box   6
Folder   23
Milwaukee County Commission on Aging-Advocacy Committee, 1994
Box   6
Folder   24
Remarks, Eldon Murray, 1994
Sullivan, Shelia/Lou
Box   6
Folder   25
Information for the Female-to-Male Crossdresser and Transsexual, 1985
Note: Signed presentation copy
Box   6
Folder   26
Research Notes By, circa 1975
Box   6
Folder   27
Writings by, undated
Writings by Eldon Murray
Box   6
Folder   28
Articles, undated
Box   6
Folder   29
Autobiographical, undated
Box   6
Folder   30
Literary, 1975, , undated
Box   6
Folder   31
Reviews, undated
Box   6
Folder   32
Speeches and Remarks, undated