National Museum of American History Acquires Collection of HIV and AIDS Research Materials from Author, John-Manuel Andriote

June 26, 2008
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has acquired research materials and interview tapes and transcripts donated by journalist John-Manuel Andriote, author of “Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America.” Andriote began compiling the materials in the early 1980s when the HIV and AIDS epidemic first came to the public’s attention. The “Victory Deferred” collection is unique in that it includes audiocassette recordings and complete transcripts of more than 200 interviews with scientific, political and gay community leaders and activists.

“I think it’s fair to say that I interviewed every living gay/lesbian leader who was involved in a central way in the nation’s—and gay community’s—response to HIV/AIDS from the earliest years,” said Andriote. His collection includes interviews with Larry Kramer, one of the world’s best-known AIDS activists and founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis; Tim Westmoreland, who served as counsel to the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment in the U.S. House of Representatives; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984; and Dr. Donald Francis, pioneering researcher for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This donation provides the National Museum of American History with one of the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS archives, including the reaction to the disease in America,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “It will be a rich resource of primary information for researchers interested in the medical, social, cultural and political issues of HIV/AIDS.” Publications and newsletters on a range of topics such as fundraising, prevention, community mobilization and bereavement make up additional secondary source materials. They come from grass-roots activist groups, medical conferences, meeting programs and reporting notes, correspondence and manuscripts.

Andriote first published his book in 1999, having spent more than a decade researching the subject of HIV and AIDS. After working for 22 years in Washington, D.C., Andriote today is a Connecticut-based author and journalist who continues to write on public health issues. The “Victory Deferred” research collection was acquired by the museum’s Archives Center through an offer by Andriote and is currently available for research purposes. While the museum is closed to the public for renovations, the Archives Center remains open for researchers by appointment only. The Archives Center is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information, please call (202) 633-3270.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays items of American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The museum is closed for major renovations and will re-open in fall 2008. For information about the museum, please visit http://americanhistory.si.edu or call Smithsonian Information at (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).