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North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance Records

Identifier: M.15

Scope and Contents

The North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance Records contains the administrative records of the group, including meeting minutes, organizational history, and notes on event planning. The folders are comprised primarily of documents, newspaper clippings, and event fliers with only a limited amount of photographs. Topics in this collection include: gay and lesbian rights, health education, political movements, and social clubs,with the bulk of material from 1978-1994.


  • 1977 - 1994


Biographical / Historical

The North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance (NSGLA) began as The North Shore Gay Alliance in September 1978, when David Newton formed an alliance of gays and lesbians to poll political candidates to determine their level of support for gay and lesbian rights. On October 23, 1978, the first meeting was held on Ober Street in Beverly, MA. and a survey for political candidates was created. By the following month about a half dozen students from Salem State College and residents of the North Shore had signed on to the taskforce.

On December 11, 1978, at what was scheduled to be the last meeting, group members voted to continue their political work, formally creating NSGLA. Aside from politics, the organization hoped to create educational programming and offer social events to unite the gay and lesbian community. Over the next year, the NSGLA met often in board members’ homes and quickly gained a following of over 400, moving their meetings to public halls and community spaces. Some members were not comfortable being publically identified and used P.O. boxes and false names to attain their monthly newsletter due to fears of violence and discrimination. In October 1979, NSGLA participated in the March on Washington to demand LGBTQ rights.

In 1980, the organization voted to add Lesbian to its name, officially becoming the North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

The NSGLA drew crowds of over 700 with events such as Gay May Day, an all-day fair and music festival held at Salem State College and Salem’s Old Town Hall, and a week-long lecture series, Gay History Week. The organization also offered educational programs on topics such as the aids epidemic, coming-out, and the Family Protection Act.

The North Shore Gay and Lesbian Alliance dissolved in 1998.


2.38 Cubic Feet

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Repository Details

Part of the Salem State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Archivist
352 Lafayette St.
Salem MA 01970 United States