Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Division of Science, Medicine and Society HIV/AIDS Reference Collection, 1979-2006

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1134
Creators:
Kondratas, Ramunas A.
Ott, Katherine
Dates:
1975-2019, undated
bulk 1987-1993
Languages:
Collection is in
English
. Some material is in
Haitian
Creole,
Italian
,
Japanese
,
Latvian
,
Lithuanian
,
Russian
, and
Spanish
.
Physical Description:
7.5 Cubic feet
21 boxes, 3 oversized folders
Repository:
This collection consists of pamphlets, books, and a wide variety of printed matter and ephemera relating to HIV/AIDS. The collection was principally assembled by National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution curators Ramunas Kondratas and Katherine Ott.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Division of Science, Medicine, and Society HIV/AIDS Reference Collection contains a large amount of printed material representing how HIV/AIDS was depicted in popular culture, in the medical sciences, by activist groups, and by government agencies principally during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Most of the collection consists of pamphlets, brochures, reports, and other educational material designed to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in the general public.
This collection includes correspondence and conference proceedings related to the history of HIV/AIDS. The materials were collected by NMAH curator Ramunas "Ray" Kondratas, working together with the AIDS history group that was part of the American Association for the History of Medicine. A number of bibliographies and resource guides to literature related to HIV/AIDS are included in the collection. Geographically, the material is primarily from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, with New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the general United States, as well as Lithuania and London, also represented in the collection.
An addendum was added to the collection in 2023. These materials were gathered during research for the National Museum of American History exhibition that opened in May 2011.
The Smithsonian Institution press release described the three pronged exhibit: ""HIV and AIDS Thirty Years Ago" will look at the public health, scientific and political responses in the early phase (1981-87) of the global pandemic. This showcase will be located in the museum's "Science in American Life" exhibition, which focuses on the connections among science, culture and society in American history. The display will feature photographs, magazine covers and other graphics plus equipment that Dr. Jay Levy used to isolate the virus in his lab at the University of California, San Francisco, a copy of the Surgeon General's 1986 report presenting the government's position, samples of the drugs AZT and Retrovir and public health information pamphlets from AIDS service organizations. The website will be available at americanhistory.si.edu/hivaids.
In "Archiving the History of an Epidemic: HIV and AIDS, 1985-2009," the museum's Archives Center will show how individuals and society were affected by the epidemic through a selection of archival materials from its collections, including posters for the 1993 movie Philadelphia with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington and the 1989 film Longtime Companion; brochures, photographs and other popular culture materials; and quotes from oral histories of people affected by the epidemic.
The museum will also display a panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt of the Names Project Foundation, honoring Roger Lyon, who died of complications from AIDS in 1984 shortly after testifying before Congress to appeal for funding to combat the growing epidemic. The quilt will be on view in the first-floor Artifacts Wall." SI Press Release, May 2011.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is organized into five series.
Series 1, Educational Material and Advertisements, 1984-2004
Subseries 1, American Red Cross, 1986-1993, undated
Subseries 2, Gay Men's Health Crisis, Incorporated, 1985-1994, undated
Subseries 3, New York State Health Department, 1984-1991, undated
Subseries 4, Government of the District of Columbia, 1990-1996, undated
Subseries 5, United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1984-1995, undated
Subseries 6, Whitman-Walker Clinic, Washington, D.C., 1988-1996, undated
Subseries 7, Various Organizations, 1984-2004, undated
Subseries 8, Posters, Newspapers, and Ephemera, 1986-1994, undated
Series 2, Reports, Commissions and Bibliographies, 1981-1999
Subseries 1, Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Epidemic, 1987-1989
Subseries 2, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1981-1999
Subseries 3, National Library of Medicine (NLM), 1986-1993
Subseries 4, Other Organizations, 1987-1988
Series 3, Ramunas Kondratas, Correspondence and Collected Materials, 1979-1994, undated
Series 4, AIDS/HIV Related Press Clippings and Periodicals, 1982-2006
Series 5, Audiovisual Material, 1988
Series 6, 2023 Addendum, 1975-2019, undated
Subseries 6.1, Research Files, 1975-2019, undated
Subseries 6.2, Periodicals, 1983-2012, undated
Subseries 6.3, Photographs and Audio-Visual, 1985-2010, undated

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The HIV/AIDS crisis that began in the 1980s is a defining event of the latter half of the 20th century. Once thought to be a disease affecting homosexual men only, the epidemic spread to the broader population of the United States and the world at large. The response to the epidemic came from many public and private organizations, some internationally known like the Red Cross and some at the local level such as the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C. Many organizations produced a variety of pamphlets, studies, and reports dealing with all aspects of the disease.
This collection consists of material collected by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Division of Science, Medicine, and Society. The bulk of the collection was assembled by curator Ramunas "Ray" Kondratas during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Administration
Author
Noah Lenstra and Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. (2023 Addendum)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Received from Ramunas Kondratas, curator, Division of Science, Medicine, and Society. 2023 Addenda received from Katherine Ott, curator, Division of Science, Medicine, and Society.
Custodial History
Collection transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Science, Medicine, and Society (now Division of Medicine and Science), 2008 and an addendum in 2023.
Processing Information
Processed by Noah Lenstra (intern) March, 2009; supervised by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archivist. The 2023 addendum processed by Geoff Kelly (intern) and Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archivist, August 2023.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow. Please ask staff to remove any staples before copying.
Preferred Citation
Division of Science, Medicine, and Society HIV/AIDS Reference Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Political activists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lithuania Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pamphlets -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
HIV/AIDS awareness Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Leaflets Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Epidemics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gay activists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
AIDS (Disease) -- Prevention Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
AIDS (Disease) -- Lithuania Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Advertisements -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Science, Medicine, and Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
Business Number: Phone: 202-633-3270
Fax Number: Fax: 202-786-2453
archivescenter@si.edu