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Collection #103

Herbert Spiers Papers

Date:1982 - 1990
Size:5 inches


Donated by Spiers Estate in November 2011.

Scope and Content

The significant majority of the material is dedicated to the Community Research Initiative (CRI) from 1989 and 1990, where Spiers served on the board. This includes meeting minutes, memos, financial statements, press releases, and drug trials. The collection also contains several scientific papers and popular articles on HIV and AIDS, as well as documents related to the Presidential Commission on HIV. This collection would be of interest to a person researching community and government efforts to treat HIV and AIDS in the late 1980s.

History or Bio

Herb Spiers was born on November 8, 1945, in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio State University, where he studied philosophy and received an M.A. After graduating from Ohio State, he taught political science at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus. He then moved to Toronto, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. In the early 1970s, he joined the burgeoning gay liberation movement in Toronto and was a founding member of Toronto Gay Action, a radical, confrontational group. Spiers was also a founding member of the intellectually provocative gay liberation periodical The Body Politic, for which he wrote reviews and articles. The complete run of The Body Politic is available in the National LGBT History Archive.

In the late 1970s, Spiers moved to New York City, where he had long dreamed of living. In March 1987, after attending a meeting at the LGBT Community Center, Spiers joined others to found ACT UP, the direct action protest group that drew public attention to the illness. Spiers headed the ACT UP Issues Committee that analyzed the organization’s medical and political priorities. He served on the board of the Community Research Initiative (CRI), a group of physicians, activists, and people living with HIV who were frustrated by the slow pace of government and academic AIDS research.

In 1984, Spiers joined S.I. International, an art agency representing European illustrators, mostly from Spain, who painted book covers for mass market paperbacks (gothic romance, historical romance, westerns, sci-fi). After that work dissipated, Spiers started selling original fine art paintings created by the same artists who made the book covers. That business evolved slowly into S.I. Fine Arts, and in the late 1990s or 2000 Spiers became the main U.S. owner of the agency, selling paintings, sculptures, and other art works to galleries.

A longtime survivor of HIV, Spiers died of cancer on March 2, 2011.

Folder List

Box 1

1. Torch Song Trilogy Playbill and Review [1982]
2. GMHC Benefit Art Auction catalog [1984]
3. ”Life Below the Life”  paper
4. Herbert Spiers unfinished papers
5. Bert Hanson paper, “American Physicians’ First Confrontation with Homosexuality” [1985]
6. Frank Rich article for Esquire Magazine, “The Gay Decade” [Nov 1987]
7. AIDS related scientific papers [1984-1988]
8. News clippings on morality and AIDS education [1987]
9. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations [1984-1987]
10. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) “Understanding AIDS” pamphlet [1988]
11. Gay Student Group at Columbia University [1987]
12. The War Conference [1988]
13.  The “800 Men” study final report [1988]
14. New York Times correspondence on AIDS [1989]
15. Community Research Initiative (CRI) general
16. CRI Board resumes and bios [1989-1990]
17. CRI Board minutes [1989]
18. CRI Board minutes [1989]
19. CRI Board minutes [1989-1990]
20. CRI Board notes [1989]
21. CRI Executive Committee minutes [1989-1990]
22. CRI memos [1988-1989]
23. CRI staff memos and salaries [1990]
24. CRI annual report [1989]
25. CRI financial statements [1988-1989]
26. CRI financial statements [1989-1990]
27. CRI development [1989-1990]
28. CRI media campaigns [1989]
29. CRI press releases [1990]
30. CRI Executive Director report to the Board [1989-1990]
31. CRI agendas [1990]
32. CRI pharmaceutical approvals [1989]
33. CRI pharmaceutical prospect list [1989]
34. CRI clinical trials [1990]
35. CRI Lentanin trial [1989]
36. CRI Compound Q [1990]
37. Community Health Project, Antabuse in the treatment of AIDS
38. CRI and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [1989]
39. CRI McKenzie Report [1989]
40. CRI performance review [1990]
41. CRI reorganization [1990]
42. ACT UP letter to CRI [1990]
43. CRI miscellaneous [1988-1990]

Box 2

44. Correspondence [1984-1987]
45. Presidential Commission on HIV [1988]
46. Presidential Commission on HIV [1988]
47. Presidential Commission on HIV, AIDS in the Workplace book [1988]
48. Herbert Spiers testimony for the Presidential Commission on AIDS [1988]
49. National Anti-Vivisection Society report [1987]
50. Joseph A. Sonnabend AZT critique [1987-1989]
51. AIDS Treatment Registry [1988-1989]
52. AIDS Treatment Registry [1990]
53. AIDS Treatment Registry [1990]
54. ACT UP International Conference on AIDS, Montreal [Jun 1989]
55. Miscellaneous articles (academic)
56. Miscellaneous articles (popular)