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Photos, Oral Histories, Ephemera, and more from     

DC Public Library Special Collections     

 

About this collection

 

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The Washington Blade collection contains digitized editions of the historic independent newspaper from 1969 to 1982 and is presented in partnership with the Washington Blade. For current and recent editions, and information about reprints visit www.washingtonblade.com.

 

The Washington Blade has been Washington, D.C.’s principal lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) newspaper since its first issue in October 1969.  It began as a monthly news sheet and a replacement for the Mattachine Society of Washington’s newsletter of the 1950s and early 1960s.  The Blade quickly grew, adding images and additional pages, and expanding its run to twice a month, and then weekly.  The Blade covered current events from an LGBT perspective as well as LGBT life in D.C. and the social and political progress of the gay rights movement. 

 

The paper’s name has evolved over the years from its original, The Gay Blade, a 1960s slang term for a gay man:

 

“In the Victorian era, the phrase “gay blade” meant a dashing and charming swordsman. By the early 20th Century, the phrase had come to mean, a “dashing young man.” By the 1960s, however, sometimes ‘gay blade’ was used interchangeably with phrases like “confirmed bachelor,” as code for a gay man, generally in the closet.” – "About The Washington Blade"

 

The paper was published under the title DC Agenda from November 20, 2009 to April 23, 2010, but resumed publication as the Washington Blade April 30, 2010. The paper continued its original volume numbering including the count of intervening issues.

 

The Washington Blade digital collection includes digitized editions of the Blade dating from 1969 to 1982 (excepting October 1974). The Blade is also available on microfilm and in print in the Washingtoniana reading room.  Digitization is ongoing and new editions will added to the digital collection as they are scanned and cataloged.

 

The copyright for The Washington Blade is held by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia. DC Public Library can grant usage and publication rights.

 
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