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Atlanta's Unspoken Past oral history transcriptions

Collection number: ahc.MSS994

Scope and Contents of the Records

The collection is comprised of eleven interviews, transcript of each interview (edited and unedited), original audio recordings for each interview, and a CD access copy of each. The interviews with Billy Jones and Ginny Boyd are part of the Maria Helena Dolan collection (1999.142)


  • 1997, 2004-2005


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

In 2004, the Atlanta History Center began a lesbian and gay oral history project, funded in part by a grant from the Georgia Humanities Council. “Atlanta’s Unspoken Past,” the oral history project, focused on lesbian and gay history and culture in Atlanta prior to the explosion of gay rights movements that occurred in cities across the United States in the early 1970s, and provided the framework and foundation for a public exhibition in 2005, The Unspoken Past: Atlanta Lesbian and Gay History, 1940-1970.

For the oral history project, participants were interviewed using a set of themes vetted by an advisory committee of recognized scholars and professionals from academic and cultural institutions. Gay women and men were asked to share their backgrounds; coming out experiences; reasons for staying in, moving to, or away from Atlanta; recollections of same-sex relationships and local gay life; and ideas about community, race, gender, and religion, region, and sexuality. The sound recordings and transcripts, and subsequent donations of related personal manuscript and visual collections, document the specific features of Atlanta that facilitated and structured social interactions; the institutions of everyday life (church, school, clubs, sports, etc.) that figured into participants’ identities; how work and leisure activities limited or facilitated same-sex friendships and relationships; and how race and gender shaped the everyday lives and experiences of participants.

The interviewees are mostly white, middle-class, and were raised in Protestant Christian faiths. Most of women and men were born before or during World War II and lived in Atlanta or the South during most of their adulthood or at least prior to the late 1960s. Interviews conducted after grant period include recollections post-1970.


0.834 linear ft. (two document cases)



Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged alphabetically by lastname of interviewee

Acquisition Information

Collected by staff.

Existence and Location of Originals

A CD access copy is available for each interview, and digitized interviews are available at Where digital transcripts of the interviews exist, they are attached.

Related Materials

Atlanta's Unspoken Past oral history recordings, VIS 178, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center.

Processing Information

Collection processed in 2009.

Atlanta's Unspoken Past oral history transcriptions
Inventory prepared by Melanie Stephan
October 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305