Miriam Ben-Shalom Papers, 1971-1999


Summary Information
Title: Miriam Ben-Shalom Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1971-1999

Creator:
  • Ben-Shalom, Miriam
Call Number: UWM Manuscript Collection 237

Quantity:
  • 3 cubic ft. (3 boxes)
  • 14 videocassettes
  • 10 audio cassettes

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

Abstract:
The collection contains personal papers and other documentation collected by Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first gay or lesbian member of the United States military service to be reinstated after being discharged for her sexual orientation. The collection documents Ben-Shalom's legal battles with the military, as well as the general topic of homosexuals and the military. Other materials pertain to the gay and lesbian veterans movement, feminism, and related social justice issues.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-mil-uwmmss0237
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Biography/History

Born on May 3, 1948 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Miriam Ben-Shalom attended Catholic Memorial and graduated from East Troy Community High School in 1967. She married for a short time and had a daughter. After moving to Israel in 1968, Ben-Shalom converted to Judaism and changed her name. Upon returning to the United States in the early 1970s, Ben-Shalom returned to Wisconsin and completed both her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1974, she began serving in the 84th Army Reserves Training Division. She also completed drill instructors school, becoming one of the first two female drill sergeants in the division. During this time, she became openly involved in the local gay rights movement and lesbian-feminist organizations. In late 1975, she publicly expressed her sexual identity as a lesbian, and was subsequently discharged from the Army Reserves. Her suit for reinstatement was heard by the U.S. District Court in Chicago, which ruled that ruled that Ben-Shalom's discharge violated the First, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments of the Constitution. The U.S. Army appealed the decision, then withdrew its appeal and simply refused to comply with the order. In 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago supported the lower court's ruling, and in September 1988 Ben-Shalom was reinstated. The Army appealed the decision and in August 1989 a federal appeals court ruled against Ben-Shalom. Ben-Shalom then appealed her case to the U.S. Supreme Court. This body declined to hear her case and let stand the previous court's ruling, effectively ending Ben-Shalom's military career. In following years, Ben-Shalom remained active in gay and lesbian politics, forming the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Veterans Association (now known as American Veterans for Equal Rights). She has received several awards for her community activism, and published poetry, short stories, and other writing.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains personal papers and other documentation collected by Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first gay or lesbian member of the United States military service to be reinstated after being discharged for her sexual orientation. The collection documents Ben-Shalom's legal battles with the military from 1976, when she publicly expressed her sexual identity as a lesbian, to 1990, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear her appeal and effectively ended her military career. It includes recordings of Ben-Shalom's appearances on local and national television and radio programs. The collection contains a wealth of material accumulated by Ben-Shalom documenting the general topic of gay men and lesbians and the military. This material falls roughly between the enactment of Department of Defense Directive 1332.4 passed in 1982, which stated the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service, and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy enacted in 1993 (U.S. Code Title 10 § 654). Other materials collected by Ben-Shalom include organizational papers, newsletters, and correspondence from the Campaign for Military Service; American Civil Liberties Union; Grassroots Vets; Human Rights Campaign Fund; and the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Veterans of America. Of special note are materials pertaining to the gay and lesbian veterans movement.

Arrangement of the Materials

Ben-Shalom organized the majority of the collection chronologically under the general heading of "Homosexuality." These chronological files contain material on a variety of topics and consist of news clippings, brochures, flyers, organizational newsletters, and correspondence. Archivists arranged loose material into subject-specific folders (e.g., "Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Veterans of America" and "Milwaukee Lesbian Gay Pride Committee"). Researchers are encouraged to explore both subject-specific folders and the general files.

Preferred Citation

Citation Guide for Primary Sources

Related Material in the UWM Libraries
Administrative/Restriction Information
Access Restrictions

Researchers must use digital copies of the audio and video recordings. There are no other access restrictions on the materials, and the collection 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

Miriam Ben-Shalom donated this collection in January 2006 (accession 2005-039).


Processing Information

Jessica Sawinski processed this collection July-August 2006.


Preservation Information

Scene Savers digitized the audio and video recordings in November 2014. Audio preservation master files were created as 96 kHz/24-bit resolution 2 channel .wav files. Audio access copies were created as 44 kHz/320 kbps bit rate 2 channel .mp3 files. Video preservation files were created as uncompressed 720x480 (3:2) .avi files. Video access copies were created as compressed 640x480 (4:3) .mp4 files.


Contents List
Video   15
Action Newsmaker with Miriam Ben-Shalom, WISN12 News, 1978
Physical Description: Videocassette (U-matic) 
Box   1
Folder   1
American Psychiatric Association on Homosexuality, 1993
Box   1
Folder   2
Biographical Sketch and Resumes, 1976-1991
Box   1
Folder   3-4
Campaign for Military Service, 1993
Box   1
Folder   12
Campaign for Military Service, Ending the Ban: A Nationwide Plan for Local Media Coverage, 1993
Box   1
Folder   5
Campaign for Military Service, Spokespersons Guide, 1993
Box   1
Folder   6
Canadian Army Ban on Discrimination of Homosexuals, 1992
Video   2
CBS News Nightwatch with Miriam Ben-Shalom, 1988
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Correspondence
Box   1
Folder   7
Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Veterans of America, 1990-1992
Box   1
Folder   8-9
General, 1975-1993
Box   3
Folder   16
Incoming from Hope Gentle Stationed in the Persian Gulf During Operation Desert Storm, 1990-1991
Box   1
Folder   10-11
Personal, 1983-1994, undated
Audio   6
Erik Barker Story, Pacifica Radio News, WXPN-FM, 1991
Physical Description: Audio cassette 
Box   1
Folder   13
Facts or Fear from the Foxhole by Lt. Col. Vickie S. Longenecker, 1992
Box   1
Folder   14
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Veterans of America, 1992, undated
Audio   6
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Veterans of America Conference, WXPN-FM, 1992
Physical Description: Audio cassette 
Video   6
Gay Life in Milwaukee, WTMJ4 News Special Interest Series, Parts 1-3, 1987
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Box   1
Folder   15
General Accounting Office Report on Department of Defense Policy on Homosexuality, 1992-1993
Video   2
Geraldo Rivera Show, "Gays in Uniform," with Miriam Ben-Shalom and Perry J. Watkins, 1988
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   7
Good Company Morning Show with Miriam Ben-Shalom and Perry J. Watkins, 1989
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Box   1
Folder   16
Grassroots Vets, 1993
Box   1
Folder   17-24
Homosexuality, 1971-1991
Box   2
Folder   1-21
Homosexuality, 1991-1993
Box   3
Folder   1-12
Homosexuality, 1993, undated
Box   3
Folder   13
Homosexuality and Personnel Security by T. R. Sorbin, 1991
Box   3
Folder   14
Homosexuality and the U.S. Military by M. T. McIntyre, 1980
Box   3
Folder   15
Human Rights Campaign Fund, 1991-1992
Video   14
The Inhuman Perception: Homosexuals and Lesbians in America Today, 1978
Physical Description: Videocassette (U-matic) 
Audio   1-4
Jan Weller Show, "Gays in the Military" with Miriam Ben-Shalom, Wisconsin Public Radio, 1991-1993
Physical Description: Audio cassettes 
Box   3
Folder   17
March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Equal Rights and Liberation, 1993
Video   3
March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Equal Rights and Liberation, 1993
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Box   3
Folder   18
Memorabilia, 1992, undated
Box   3
Folder   19
Military Policy Toward Homosexuals: Scientific, Historical and Legal Perspective by Major J. S. Davis, 1991
Box   3
Folder   20
Milwaukee Lesbian Gay Pride Committee, 1992
Audio   8
Morning Edition with Miriam Ben-Shalom, Radio show, 1984
Physical Description: Audio cassette 
Video   2, 7, and 8
News Broadcasts, 1988-1989
Physical Description: Videocassettes (VHS) 
News Clippings
Box   3
Folder   21
1976-1993, undated
Box   3
Folder   22-26
Ben-Shalom, 1974-1993, undated
Box   3
Folder   27
Literature, 1990, undated
Box   3
Folder   28
Military, 1987-1990, undated
Box   3
Folder   29
Women, 1985-1992, undated
Video   9
Nightline, President Clinton vs. the Ban on Homosexuals in the Military, 1993
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   1
Nitebeat, "We Ask, You Tell" with Leo Dorrington and Cliff Arnesen, 2004
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   6
Nothing to Hide: ROTC, the Military, Gay Men, and Lesbians with Miriam Ben-Shalom, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1986
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Audio   5
One-Eyed Jack Show with Miriam Ben-Shalom, 1991
Physical Description: Audio cassette 
Audio   11
Outfront with Melinda, Triangle Radio Network, 1999
Physical Description: Audio cassette 
Video   8
People Are Talking with Miriam Ben-Shalom and Perry J. Watkins, undated
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Box   3
Folder   30
Personal Writings and Poetry, undated
Video   2
Phil Donahue Show with Miriam Ben-Shalom, 1990
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Box   3
Folder   31
Photographs, 1940-1980
Box   3
Folder   32
Pre-service Adjustment of Homosexual and Heterosexual Military Accessions: Implication for Security Clearance Suitability by M.A. McDaniel, 1989
Audio   7
Press Conference Court Room Statement, 1984
Physical Description: Audio cassette 
Audio   12
Radio interview with Miriam Ben-Shalom, WROK-AM, undated
Physical Description: Audio cassette 
Video   5
A Right to Serve: Gays in the Military, 1993
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   9
Rush Limbaugh Show, "America Held Hostage: Day 64," 1993
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   7
Sally Jesse Rafael Show with Miriam Ben-Shalom, Perry J. Watkins, Ellen Nesbitt, Mary Ann Humphrey, and Bob Burton, 1989
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   8
Smith & Company with Miriam Ben-Shalom, 1989
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   2
Sunday Night with Miriam Ben-Shalom, WTMJ4 News, 1990
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   3
Swann, Tom, News Broadcasts and Interviews Concerning His Discharge from the Military, 1992-1994
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   12
To Support and Defend: The Role of Homosexuals in the Military, 1993
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   4
Tribute and Memorial to Gay and Lesbian Veterans, Sacramento, California, 1991
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   13
Undefined Citizen with Miriam Ben-Shalom, Documentary, 1997
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Video   11
Undefined Citizen with Miriam Ben-Shalom, Raw Footage, 1997
Physical Description: Videocassette (VHS) 
Audio   6
Unfriendly Fire: Lesbians and Gays in the Military, undated
Physical Description: Audio cassette 
Box   3
Folder   33
United States Code Applicable to Homosexuality, undated
Box   3
Folder   34
Watkins vs. U.S. Army, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1989
Box   3
Folder   35
Woodward vs. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court, 1989