1media/Jim Kepner in apartment_thumb.jpeg2020-04-13T12:58:02-07:00Alexis Bard Johnson9328ae6a5985e503ee2cbc8a82cadb50636ac23d370892Jim Kepner in his Lexington Avenue apartment during the era of his Western Gay Archives. Undated.plain2020-04-18T21:56:16-07:00United StatesONE Archives at the USC LibrariesColl2012-002 International Gay and Lesbian Archives recordsONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives20130131This online display has been made possible by NEHKMJim Kepner in his Lexiginton Avenue apartment during the era of his Western Gay Archives. Undated.Archives--California--Los AngelesGay activists.CAUSone_2012-002_ba_i01Jim Kepner in apartmentNEH171808-0800Los AngelesLexington AvenueAlexis Bard Johnson9328ae6a5985e503ee2cbc8a82cadb50636ac23d
In this photograph, Jim Kepner, gay activist and collector, sits at his desk in his Lexington Avenue apartment in Hollywood. At the time of this photograph, he was storing his collection of gay and lesbian materials, then named the Western Gay Archives, in his rented apartment. Kepner was a founding member or board member of numerous gay and lesbian rights organizations, including ONE, Inc., PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education), and the Los Angeles chapter of the Gay Liberation Front. His collection is now part of the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.
With the photograph’s long perspective, Kepner is dwarfed in relation to his papers, boxes, and books. His hallway has boxes and papers piled high, and his bookcase is completely full. Until the collection outgrew the space and Kepner moved it to a storefront space and changed its name to the National Gay Archives, Kepner shared his living quarters with these important documents and items. While many of us are spending more time at home than before, this photograph reminds us that we don't share a home only with other humans or animals, but also with the objects and items we collect. The material we surround ourselves with can provide comfort, inspiration, and provocation. While our “at home archive” might not be as extensive as Kepner’s, we all have treasures at home waiting to be rediscovered or revisited.