Tim Mayhew photograph collection, 1971

Overview of the Collection

Mayhew, Tim
Tim Mayhew photograph collection
1971 (inclusive)
5 black & white photographs (1 folder) ; 8 ½ x 5 ½
Collection Number
Images of the interior of the Gay Community Center a counseling center and employment service for Seattle's gay community by a gay rights activist
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries' Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials curator is required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Tim Mayhew was a gay community activist in Seattle throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. He became an archivist of the gay community, collecting materials related to gay activism from Seattle groups he was involved in and from many other organizations. Mayhew donated his collections (see Related Collections) to the University of Washington Special Collections in the 1990s. Maxwell Timothy Mayhew was born in Detroit on January 1, 1941 to Maxwell and Jeanne Mayhew. His family lived in Denver, then Salt Lake City, and Salmon, Idaho before moving to Spokane, Washington where Mayhew attended high school. He played flute and piccolo in his high school marching band and in the Husky Marching Band at the University of Washington. He majored in Russian language and linguistics, but interrupted his studies to volunteer in the Army, where he served as a medic stationed at Fort Lewis. After his honorable discharge, he returned to the UW, where he earned a BA and completed graduate studies.

Mayhew was a member of the Seattle Gay Alliance (SGA) in the early 1970s. He served as the chair of the SGA Education Committee circa 1972-1975 and as SGA's first lobbyist in Olympia, Washington in 1973. He helped found Seattle's first Gay Community Center in 1971 and was also involved with the Gay Liberation Front. For several years in the 1970s he served as Seattle editor of the Northwest Gay Review, a newspaper based in Portland, Oregon. He was a member of the ACLU of Washington and served on its Sexual Minorities Committee around 1977 to 1980. Among his many public testimonies and statements are the Position Statement on Homosexual Civil Liberties and Position Statement on Marriage for the ACLU of Washington in 1971. He lobbied in Olympia again circa 1981. In 1993 he helped found the Harvey Muggy Lesbian/Gay Democratic Organization.

Mayhew died on April 30, 2017 in Seattle.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

In the years following World War II, Seattle developed a reputation as tolerant (by standards of the day) of homosexuality. Nevertheless, most gay men and women in Seattle remained closeted and lived with the fear of harassment and discrimination. The Dorian Society, organized in 1967, was Seattle's first documented gay organization. It was part of a national "homophile" movement that emerged in the 1950s and continued to develop through the 1960s. The group sought to promote acceptance of gays in the larger society and to serve as a social organization for gays.

In the period following the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York City, gay liberation organizations sprang up in cities across the country, including Seattle. Students at the University of Washington organized the Gay Student Association and the more radical Gay Liberation Front. The first Gay Community Center in Seattle was founded in 1971. Other organizations born in the 1970s include the Gay Women’s Alliance; the Gay Women’s Resource Center (now the Lesbian Resource Center); Seattle Gay Alliance; Union of Sexual Minorities; Stonewall Recovery Center; Lesbian Mother’s National Defense Fund; the Metropolitan Community Church; Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); and the Seattle Municipal Elections Committee.

In 1978, Initiative 13 attempted to repeal Seattle's ordinances protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in housing and employment. It came on the heels of a national spate of successful anti-gay measures. The campaign galvanized the political voices of Seattle's gay community, and the measure was soundly defeated.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Images of the Gay Community Center, 102 Cherry Street, Seattle.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View the collection in digital format.

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Gift of Tim Mayhew, September 21, 1993.

Processing Note

Processed by Solveig Ekenes, 2005.

Photographs were relocated from the Tim Mayhew Collection on Gay Rights, Manuscripts Accession No. 4440-001, in the repository in 2004.

Separated Materials

Tim Mayhew Collection on Gay Rights (Mss Coll 4440)

Related Materials

Martin Lee reminiscence of Tim Mayhew (Mss Coll 6340)

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Gay clubs--Interiors--Washington (State)--Seattle--20th century--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Mayhew, Tim--Photographs

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)--Buildings, structures, etc.--Interiors--20th century--Photographs