Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Fred Karger Papers

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1439
Creators:
Karger, Fred, 1950-
Dates:
1950-2015, undated
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
5 Cubic feet
15 boxes, 2 map folders
Repository:
Papers documenting Fred Karger's acting career, his activism for marriage equality, preservation of the Boom Boom Room (Laguna Beach, California) and other LGBT concerns, Karger's political consulting, and his candidacy for United States President, 2012, as the first openly gay candidate of a major political party.

Content Description
Content Description
The Fred Karger Papers consist mostly of secondary materials, film scripts, newspapers, periodicals, and clippings documenting activist and former presidential candidate Fred Karger's brief film and television acting career, his activism for preservation of the Boom Boom Room (originally the South Seas) at the Coast Inn, "Save the Boom", and material from his candidacy for president in 2012. The papers contain material related to Karger's activism for marriage equality and other LGBT concerns.
The collection includes material relating to his childhood education, such as school photographs; his acting career, scripts from television shows and motion pictures he appeared in; and brochures and flyers from his political activism, including boycotts of businesses supporting Proposition 8 (protecting "traditional marriage") in California. The bulk of material relates to Karger's efforts to save the Boom Boom Room (Laguna Beach, California) credited with being the oldest gay bar in West of the Mississippi. The collection includes protest posters, some hand made; columns, articles, clippings and magazines containing articles by and about Karger, some gay-oriented, others not. Material from his presidential campaign is also included such as yard signs, posters, and posters from the 2014 documentary,
Fred
. There is also a framed letter from Richard M. Nixon.
There are also vintage magazines and newspaper articles covering major events, such as President John F. Kennedy's assassination and the attack on 9/11.

Arrangement
Arrangement
These papers are arranged into four series.
Series 1: Activism and Presidential Campaign, 1988-2014, undated
Series 2: Theatrical Scripts, 1971-1976
Series 3: Newspapers and Magazines, 1963-2025
Series 4: Photographs and Ephemera, 1950-2010, undated

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Portions of this biography were supplied by the donor, Fred Karger.
Fred S. Karger was born on Januray 31, 1950 in Glencoe, Illinois, the son of Richard (1911-1998) and Jean Foreman Karger (1918-2003). He attended primary and secondary schools in Glencoe. In the mid-1970s Karger pursued an acting career in Los Angeles, California. He later pursued a career in political consulting.
"Fred Karger is an American political consultant, LGBTQ rights activist, author, political pundit, writer, public speaker, former actor and 2012 presidential candidate for the Republican nomination for President. Karger has worked on ten presidential campaigns and served as a senior consultant during the campaigns of President's Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
Karger was a partner in the Dolphin Group, a California based political consulting firm for 27 years. He retired in 2004 and has since worked as an LGBTQ activist. He began in 2006 trying to save a Laguna Beach, California landmark gay bar, the Boom Boom Room.
In 2008 he founded Californians Against Hate, now Rights Equal Rights and led boycotts of four of the biggest donors to California's Proposition 8. He successfully settled three of those boycotts. Immediately after Prop 8 passed, Fred called for the State of California to investigate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon Church) and later the states of Maine, Iowa, Hawaii and California to investigate the rabidly anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM). In the summer of 2012, he launched the ongoing global Boycott of Amway after its owners, the DeVos family, contributed $750,000 to NOM.
Fred's running for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 made him the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history, helping to pave the way for Mayor Pete Buttigieg's run in 2020." [Fred Karger Biography, AC/NMAH Control File, AC1439]
During his presidential campaign Karger appeared on six ballots; New Hampshire, Michigan, Puerto Rico, Maryland, California, and Utah. He campaigned in over 30 states and received, "widespread praise for paving the way for future LGBT candidates." Karger has been interviewed on many local, national, and international television, radio, and webcast programs. His autobiography,
Fred Who?
was published in 2011.

Administration
Author
Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.
Processing Information
Processed by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archivist, 2022; assisted by Amelia Dolbeare and Sara Kunkemueller interns; supervised by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archivist.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution by Fred Karger in November 2017.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Preferred Citation
Fred Karger Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Brochures Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
California -- Motion pictures Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gay activists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Homosexuality Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lesbian and gay experience Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
LGBT Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Magazines (periodicals) Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newsletters Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newspaper clippings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Political activists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Political campaigns Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Posters Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Presidential campaigns Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Presidential candidates Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Protest Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Television scripts Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu