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social sciences

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Legg, W. Dorr (1904-1994)  
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The magazine was only a part of ONE, Incorporated's most important mission, education. Legg considered educating the public key to gaining acceptance for lesbians and gays, or, to use the term that he preferred, .

To promote scholarship the leadership of ONE, Incorporated decided to offer college-level courses and also to compile a library of research materials.

Sponsor Message.

Legg was tireless in organizing and teaching classes at the ONE Institute of Homophile Studies. This pioneering institution in glbtq studies opened in 1956. In the same year, Legg, using the pen name Marvin Cutler, published a book on the nascent gay rights movement, Homosexuals Today: A Handbook of Organizations and Publications.

Under Legg's leadership ONE's course offerings were expanded and the prestige of the Institute gradually grew. In 1981 the state of California gave the ONE Institute a charter to grant master's and doctoral degrees. Legg, who had previously served as the Institute's director, was named its dean.

In addition to its regular classes, the ONE Institute offered various special programs, including public lectures. Among the speakers at ONE's Extension Lectures were activist Harry Hay, psychiatrist Evelyn Hooker, the Reverend Troy Perry, and novelist Ann Bannon.

Legg also organized and led the Institute's Overseas Tours, which, between 1966 and 1981, took ONE members to some two dozen countries in Europe, Asia, and South America to learn about gay and lesbian history and contemporary culture.

Legg also founded ONE Institute's Quarterly of Homophile Studies and co-edited the Annotated Bibliography of Homosexuality (1976), a pioneering interdisciplinary survey of gay and lesbian studies.

The establishment of a rich and varied library was a high priority for Legg. He constantly insisted on the need for interdisciplinary research, saying, "Homophile studies calls for nothing less than a field theory which will cut across the whole range of scholarly investigations, revealing their mutual actions and interactions." Legg oversaw the development of ONE's impressive collection.

Legg remained a vigorous activist and scholar until the very end of his life. In 1994 he published Homophile Studies in Theory and Practice, an exhaustive history of ONE, especially its educational endeavors.

Legg died shortly after the book's publication, on July 26. He was survived by his life partner of thirty years, John Najima.

Later that year the directors of the ONE Institute decided to focus on their mission as a research center. The Institute stopped offering classes and merged with the International Gay and Lesbian Archives. The new organization, ONE/IGLA, found a home for its collection at the University of Southern California.

ONE/IGLA's library, the largest glbtq archive in the world, holds books, periodicals, personal papers, films, photographs, sound recordings, items of memorabilia, and an art collection. Their Special Collections include the AIDS History Project and the Lesbian Legacy Collection.

This vibrant archive stands as an enduring monument to the vision of Dorr Legg.

Linda Rapp

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social sciences >> Overview:  Homophile Movement, U. S.

The homophile movement of the United States refers to organizations and political strategies employed by homosexuals from the end of World War II to 1970.

social sciences >> Overview:  Los Angeles

The glbtq history of Los Angeles, the U.S.'s second largest metropolis, is replete with cultural, social, and political firsts.

literature >> Bannon, Ann

In a series of five interlinked pulp novels set in Greenwich Village and its homosexual bars in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Bannon provides an important record of lesbian life in a period when few women dared speak openly about homosexuality.

social sciences >> Egan, Jim

One of Canada's first gay activists, Jim Egan began demanding respect and equal rights in the late 1940s; in his later years he mounted a challenge to Canada's law on spousal retirement benefits.

social sciences >> Hay, Harry

Activist Harry Hay, an original member of both the Mattachine Society and the Radical Faeries, is recognized as one of the principal founders of the gay liberation movement in the United States.

social sciences >> Hooker, Evelyn

American psychologist Evelyn Hooker's pioneering studies on male homosexuality in the 1950s and 1960s challenged the "sickness" model of homosexuality then prevalent.

social sciences >> Jennings, William Dale

Editor and author Dale Jennings was a pioneer of the American gay rights movement, one of the co-founders of both the Mattachine Society and ONE, Inc.

literature >> Kepner, Jim

Jim Kepner was both a pioneering gay journalist and a homophile activist who founded the International Gay and Lesbian Archives.

social sciences >> Mattachine Society

One of the earliest American gay movement organizations, the Mattachine Society was dedicated to the cultural and political liberation of homosexuals; but in the face of McCarthyism, it adopted conservative policies of accommodationism.

social sciences >> Perry, Troy

Troy Perry is the founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a Protestant denomination devoted to ministering to the spiritual needs of glbtq people.

social sciences >> Slater, Don

An early leader in the struggle for glbtq rights, Los Angeles activist Don Slater was sometimes at odds with others in the movement but never wavered in his devotion to the cause.


Dynes, Wayne R. "Legg, W. Dorr." Who's Who in Gay & Lesbian History from World War II to the Present Day. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. New York: Routledge, 2001. 244-45.

Gallagher, John. "History under One Roof: The ONE Institute and Archives Is the Largest Gay and Lesbian Collection in the World." The Advocate 840 (June 19, 2001): 53.

Legg, W. Dorr. Homophile Studies in Theory and Practice. San Francisco: ONE Institute Press and GLB Publishers, 1994.

Streitmatter, Rodger. "ONE Magazine." Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. George E. Haggerty, ed. New York: Garland, 2000. 648.

"Supreme Court Decisions." New York Times (January 14, 1958): 37.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Legg, W. Dorr  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated December 20, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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