Descriptive inventory for the Lee A. Newell II visual materials, ca. 1986-1996, bulk 1989-1993

Lee A. Newell II visual materials

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Open Finding Aid

Descriptive inventory for the Lee A. Newell II visual materials, ca. 1986-1996, bulk 1989-1993

Prepared by Brienne Callahan, 2016.
Please address questions to:
Chicago History Museum, Research Center
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614-6038
Instructions for accessing this collection

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Lee A. Newell II visual materials, 1986-1996 (inclusive), 1989-1993 (bulk)
Creator: Lee A. Newell II
Dates: 1986-1996 (inclusive), 1989-1993 (bulk)
Accession number: 1997.0093
Bib number: 00222748
Call numbers: 1997.0093 PCP-0261
1997.0093 0MM-0115
Size: 3 linear feet, including approximately 13,000 images (7 boxes)
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Gift of Lee A. Newell II (accession #: 1997.0093).

Terms governing use:

Credit photographer, some restrictions may apply.


Advance appointment required to view material from cold storage. For listening purposes (sound recordings), it is necessary to use a copy, not the original (and to have a listening copy made if one is not available).

Alternate format available:

Parts of this collection have been digitized. Please contact the Rights and Reproductions department at for more information.

Please cite this collection as:

Lee A. Newell II visual materials (Chicago History Museum), with a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of the specific item(s).

Additional Materials +/-

Related material:

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade collection (1982.0049); a speech delivered at the 1989 Pride Parade by Jon Simmons, gay and lesbian issues coordinator for the City of Chicago (HQ76.8.U6 S56 1989); as well as the Windy City Times newspaper (bib# 74540) and Gay Chicago Magazine (F38KQ.G32) holdings.

Collection Summary +/-

Color photographic negatives (approximately 7,200), prints (approximately 5,500), and transparencies (135); black-and-white photographic negatives (approximately 300) and prints (52); black-and-white contact sheets (24); and printed material documenting Chicago’s LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community photographed by Lee A. Newell II, primarily in his role as a nightlife photographer for Windy City Times, a Chicago-based LGBTQ newspaper, and Michigan-based LGBTQ Metra Magazine. The majority of the collection contains images of Chicago’s LGBTQ community nightlife, competitions, and special events in the Chicago Boystown area (centered between W. Halsted Street and W. Broadway Street between N. Diversey Avenue and N. Irving Park Road). Many images depict Chicago’s leather scene, including numerous leather competitions, such as International Mr./Ms. Leather, Mr. Mid-America Leather, and others; Newell also documented the Gay Pride Parade (now the Chicago Pride Parade) each year between 1986 and 1996, as well as Northhalsted Market Days, and other prominent events. Also included are images related to Chicago-area LGBTQ activism, organizations and civic engagement, including groups with which Newell was active, such as Gay Horizons (a precursor to Center on Halsted). Images also document Chicago theater, including productions of Chicago’s Bailiwick Theater and a revival of William (Bill) Russo's 1968 rock cantata, The Civil War, as well as productions and performances at bars. The collection also includes published materials featuring Newell’s work, such as programs, newspapers, and magazines, which use images found in the collection. Images have been arranged by predominant topic, but sleeves of images often contain multiple events and/or venues as photographed and ordered by Newell, especially in Series 1; researchers are encouraged to review multiple boxes and/or series if searching for comprehensive documentation of an event or venue.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

Lee A. Newell II, a gay activist, organizer, and photographer, lived in Chicago between 1975 and 2001. He served in leadership positions at Gay Horizons and OPEN (Organization for Political Equality Now), Chicago’s first LGBTQ political action committee, as well as other local organizations and citizen action groups. Newell became a freelance photographer for Windy City Times in the late 1980s, also serving as news and nightlife photographer for Michigan-based Metra Magazine between 1989 and 1994; he occasionally wrote for both publications. He was inducted to the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2013.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

Chicago Pride Parade (Chicago, Ill.)
Gay activists--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Gay men--Illinois--Chicago--1980-1999
Gays--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Lesbians--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Sexual minorities--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Social service--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Newell, Lee A., II--Portraits
Russo, William
Bailiwick Theater (Chicago, Ill.)
Horizons Community Services (Chicago, Ill.)
Metra Magazine (Madison Heights, MI)
Windy City Times (Chicago, Ill.)
Contact sheets--Black and white
Film negatives--Black and white
Film negatives--Color
Film transparencies--Color
Photographic prints--Black and white
Photographic prints--Color
Theater programs
Chicago (Ill.)--Social life and customs--20th century

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged in four series.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Events, 1986-1996 (boxes 1-6)
Subseries 1. Competitions (boxes 1-2, 6)
Subseries 2. Annual events (boxes 3-4, 6)
Subseries 3. Nightlife and local businesses (boxes 4-6)
Series 2. Activism, organizations, and civic engagement, 1986-1996 (boxes 5-7)
Series 3. Theater and performance, ca. 1988-1994 (boxes 2, 6)
Series 4. Publications, 1988-1992 (box 6)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Brienne Callahan using Oxygen editor, 2016.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids: Finding aid also submitted to the Explore Chicago Collections portal.
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