Buzz Bense collection
Graphic design layouts, posters, apparel, condoms, and erotic illustrations.
- circa 1970-2002
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.
This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.
Extent29 linear feet (29 boxes)
Includes posters promoting AIDS education, safe sex awareness, and erotica. Printed materials also include graphic designs for condoms. Draft illustrations for erotic graphic novels, psychedelic gay erotic drawings, reproductions, and original art specifically commissioned for the Eros club. Business materials are included from Buzz Bense's business and from his involvement in other organizations. Buttons, t-shirts, condoms, mailers, calendars, and other ephemera focused on sex education are included.
Biographical / Historical
Buzz Bense (1949-2016) was a graphic designer, sex activist/educator, and sex club operator. Bense attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he focused on theater arts. After Bense completed a master's degree in theater at the University of British Columbia. In 1986 Bense opened a sex club in a large warehouse at 890 Folsom Street in San Francisco, California. In this space Bense hosted events by groups including J.O. Buddies, Blow Buddies, the San Francisco Jacks, the San Francisco Golden Showers Association, and the Mother Goose Club's "Jack and Jill" parties as well as AIDS benefits. After the closure of the club at 890 Folsom in 1991 Bense and his partner, Bob West, opened Eros, a sex club and sauna on Market Street in the Castro district of San Francisco in 1992. During the 1990s Bense was a part of the Coalition for Healthy Sex, formed to encourage safer sex and defending clubs from police brutality.
Collection is minimally processed. Materials are loosely arranged in fourteen series: Apparel; Audio-visual; Born-digital; Calendars; Condoms; Condom Resource Center documents; Correspondence; Financials; Graphic design and illustrations; HIV and STD training prevention; Images; Mailers and advertisements; Managerial logs; and Newspapers.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Special equipment or surrogate required; consult Houghton staff.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
2019M-061. Purchased from Center for Sex and Culture, 2019.
Born-digital material has been separated: Am3269BD.
Minimally processed by Magdaline Lawhorn, 2019.
- Center for Sex and Culture (San Francisco, Calif.) (Organization)
- Bense, Buzz. Buzz Bense collection, circa 1970-2002 (MS Am 3269): Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard University.
- 2019 April 10
- Description rules
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
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