Archiving AIDS

Still Fighting for Our Lives: Preserving Philadelphia AIDS History

On September 25, 1986, a coalition of men and women from diverse communities came together to voice their concern and to bear witness to the commitment to the fight against AIDS. They demanded increased funding from both city and state to help in the struggle to save lives. The motto of the march was “Fighting for our lives!” Now, in 2017, the William Way LGBT Center is collaborating with community partners to capture the history of how we responded to the AIDS health crisis and preserve these stories for posterity.

We seek to raise $20,000 to support the work of the Center’s Archives staff through the spring of 2018. During this time, we will exhibit and digitize our AIDS Graphics Exhibit and support the Philadelphia AIDS Oral History Project through the preparation and collection of 12 interviews with women who were early responders to the epidemic through advocacy, community service and education.

We need $10,000 to support our staff.

The Wilcox Archives at the William Way LGBT Center employs two outstanding part-time staff members: Archivist John Anderies and Curator Bob Skiba. Together, they acquire new material; process, organize and preserve numerous special collections; assist researchers; and prepare exhibitions to educate the public and increase awareness of our holdings. We proudly boast one of the nation’s premier collections for LGBT studies. Your donation will advance the preservation or our history and open this collection to researchers of all ages.

We need $5,000 to preserve and digitize the AIDS Graphics Exhibit.

The AIDS Library of Philadelphia, marking its 30th anniversary this year, turned to the William Way Archives to preserve and protect its AIDS Graphics Collection. These materials were designed to increase awareness and public education about the AIDS epidemic. This collection, currently on the walls of the lobby of the William Way LGBT Community Center,  tells a powerful story of community response. As part of the AIDS Library’s anniversary, William Way has mounted an exhibit showcasing through graphic arts our community’s mobilization to confront the epidemic.  Your donation will pay for materials conservation, digitization, and an promotion of this important public programing around AIDS history.  (Please stop by the Center at 1315 Spruce Street to see this wonderful exhibit on the walls!) 

We need $5,000 to collect oral histories from 12 women who were early responders to the AIDS epidemic in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia AIDS Oral History Project is led by a Community Advisory Board in partnership with the AIDS Library of Philadelphia FIGHT, Drexel University’s School of Public Health and community partners like William Way. Interviews were conducted with individuals involved We the People with HIV/AIDS during 2017; this self-help and advocacy organization became the leading voice of those diagnosed with AIDS at a time when the mortality rate was exceedingly high. Access to these interviews and transcripts will be available from the AIDS Library of Philadelphia’s website in 2018. A second round of interviews is now planned to capture the stories of women early responders. Your donation will support the work of an oral history intern and pay for transcriptions of the interviews.

Your donation will honor the many lives lost during the AIDS Epidemic and the heroic work of so many to change the course of the epidemic.

  • The Philadelphia Foundation 
    • $5,000 (Offline)
    • 47 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $1,000 
    • 50 mos
  • Our Friends @ NSFW Dance Party 
    • $3,000 (Offline)
    • 51 mos
  • Malcolm Lazin 
    • $250 
    • 52 mos
  • Tony Michael 
    • $10 
    • 52 mos
See all


Christopher Bartlett 
Philadelphia, PA