Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Losing the Blade, Saving Our History

November 16th, 2009 the sun set on the Washington Blade, Washington DC's venerable newspaper of record for the queer community. Forty years and 41 days since Nancy Tucker and Art Stone launched the periodical on October 5, 1969, Window Media's misadventures sank the paper. The venerable local and national institution is lost. But the good news is that its staff are working to recreate again under another name in an employee-owned venture.

But that won't save our history!

Now that the entire Window Media organization is in receivership and owned largely by the Small Business Administration, the Blade's collection of forty years of photos (beginning with Nancy Tuckers' photos) is in jeopardy and may be lost to the community. Forty years of the company's records, topical files, and journalists' files are in equally serious jeopardy.

Historic preservation is about preserving memories. Certainly preserving the documentary and photographic archives is as, if not more important, than preserving sites in our history.

What will our queer community - local and national - do to ensure that those archives are not lost, dispersed, or junked by the Small Business Administration?

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