Stewart, Bob *

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NAME: Bob Stewart *

Biography: Lived in Philadelphia from August 1968 to February 1979.

Elected in 1975 as one of the first "co-coordinators" of the Gay Community Center of Philadelphia, along with Arleen Olshan, and a Steering Committee of some 25 persons. This was at a time in the mid-1970s when gay and Lesbian community centers were being established in many cities. I became involved in organizing the one in Philadelphia after having attended with Peter Dunning and Hank Baron and others a national conference in Washington, D.C. on gay community center development.

I was responsible for obtaining incorporation as a non-profit organization with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and prepared the application to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for 501(c)3 tax exempt status as a non-profit educational organization. The application was initially rejected by the IRS, then approved after appeal, one of the first community centers in that era to be approved, I believe.

Other centers had had their applications denied since, at that time, the IRS was concerned about organizations "advocating homosexuality" and the application stressed planned educational activities such as public lectures and a library of educational materials presenting "different points of view."

For many months in the mid-1970s, including at Independence Mall on July 4, solicited signers of a petition for a gay rights ordinance to be introduced in City Council.

Worked with Barbara Gittings, a dear friend and neighbor on West Spruce Street, in the compilation of editions 4 and 5 of her "Gay Bibliography" for the American Library Association's Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Participated for a time with the collective that wrote and edited The Gay Alternative, and compiled a comprehensive index to all previous issues that was printed in the 10th or 12th issue.

Date of Birth: April 20, 1941

Employment: August 1968 - December 1974, employed as Librarian at Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania,

January 1975 - February 1979, first Executive Director of PALINET (Pennsylvania Area Library Network), now Philadelphia Regional office of Lyrasis.

Social/Political Groups attended: Gay Community Center on Kater Street, Gay Activists Alliance, Gay Media Project, The Gay Alternative journal

Bars/Clubs visited: Allegro (original location on Spruce St.), Westbury (original location)

Friends included: Hank Baron, Joe DeMarco, Peter Dunning, Harry Kelly, Dr. Walter Lear, Ian Mishkin, Bill Phillips, Rusel Silkey, Lewis Rathbone, John Wiles.