The Mattachine Years

1948-1953

This section focuses on the germination of the idea to the founding of the Mattachine Society, it's goals and activism to the removal of Harry and the other founders:

Founding Document of the Modern Gay Movement

"Preliminary Concepts: International Bachelors' Fraternal Order For Peace & Social Dignity, Sometimes Referred to as Bachelors Anonymous."

Bachelor's Anonymous
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In 1948, Hay attended a beer bust in support of progressive Democratic presidential contender Henry Wallace where he talked with a few other gay men about the possibilities of creating an organization of homosexuals to lobby for the reform of anti-gay laws. Later that night he wrote up a prospectus for such an organization. No copy of that document has survived.

This document is an expanded, later version of that first document which Hay wrote in July 1950 to show his then-lover, Rudi Gernreich. Gernreich responded enthusiastically to it and its ideas and the two became the nucleus of what was to become the Mattachine Society. As such, this is the founding document of the modern gay rights movement in the USA.

Photo of the earliest Mattachine members at a Christmas party

Mattachine Members at A Christmas Party
Photographer Jim Gruber; J. Gruber Papers (GLC 66)

Because of the risk of arrest, Mattachine had to implement tight security measures to ensure the safety of its members which included forbidding the taking of photos of its members. This photo of a Mattachine Christmas party was secretly snapped by member John Gruber and is the only photo ever taken of the early founders. (l-r) Dale Jennings, Harry Hay, Rudi Gernreich, Stan Witt, Bob Hull, Chuck Rowland, and Paul Bernard. Missing from the photo are Konrad Stevens and Jim Gruber.

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