Title and statement of responsibility area
Neil Richards fonds
General material designation
- Graphic material
- Sound recording
- Textual record
- Moving images
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Richards, Neil, 1949-
- Gay and Lesbian Support Services of Saskatoon Inc. , 1982-1986
- Saskatchewan Gay Coalition, 1977-198?
- Gay/Lesbian Community Centre of Saskatoon Inc. , 1972-1985
- Gay and Lesbian Health Services of Saskatoon Inc. , 1991-
- Metamorphosis, 1978-1989
Physical description area
16.780m of textual records
61 prints : posters
4 audio cassettes
1 object (cloth banner)
54 objects (pins, buttons)
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Neil Richards was born on May 11, 1949, in Bowmanville, Ontario. He received his primary and secondary education in Bowmanville. Richards earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Carleton University in Ottawa and attended the Library Science program at the University of Toronto.
In 1971, Richards moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he was employed as a library assistant at the University of Saskatchewan Library from 1971 until his retirement in 2002. In 1982, Richards took a leave of absence from his position at the University of Saskatchewan to work as a volunteer with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto.
Since the 1970s, Richards has been active in local, provincial and national gay organizations, including the Canadian Gay Archives; the Gay Interest Group of the Canadian Library Association; the Zodiac Friendship Centre; the Gay Community Centre of Saskatoon; the Gay and Lesbian Support Services in Saskatoon; Metamorphosis, and the Saskatchewan Gay Coalition.
Richards worked on many early AIDS awareness initiatives in Saskatchewan. In 1990 he founded and organized Visual AIDS, a month long series of exhibitions, lectures, plays and public events. As well, he has staged three large exhibitions about AIDS at the University of Saskatchewan Library, and was the co-ordinator for Saskatchewan's Day Without Art project in 1992.
In 1975, Richards joined others to form the Committee to Defend Doug Wilson, enlisting the support of the University of Saskatchewan's Employees' Union (CUPE Local 1975). This initiative led to a resolution of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour asking the provincial government to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Richards helped organize the 1976 convention of the National Gay Rights Coalition in Saskatoon, one of the first gay rights gatherings in Canada. In 1982, he co-authored a library selection guide to lesbian and gay fiction, Out on the Shelves. Richard's book, Celebrating a History of Diversity: Lesbian and Gay Life in Saskatchewan 1971-2005: A Selected Annotated Chronology, was published in 2005.
Richards has received numerous awards for his work in the areas of gay rights and AIDS education: The Dr. Stanley Stead Award by the Saskatoon District Health for the Visual AIDS project (1991); the first GALA (Gay and Lesbian Achievement) Award (1993); the University of Saskatchewan's President's Service Award (1995) and the Doug Wilson Award (1998).
Richards currently (2009) resides in Saskatoon.
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The Saskatchewan Gay Coalition was formed in December, 1977 by a group of lesbians and gay men who came together to work for the liberation of homosexuals within society. Branches of the Coalition were located in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw. Gay communities that existed in Saskatchewan at the time decided to work together as a coalition to combat isolation and promote liberation.
The mandate of the Saskatchewan Gay Coalition was to oppose all forms of discrimination against gay men and lesbians; to oppose all forms of discrimination against all women; to foster the growth of the gay community on a province-wide basis; to articulate the gay lifestyle to the general public and to raise consciousness within the gay community.
The Coalition's monthly newsletter, Gay Saskatchewan, was distributed throughout the province.
The Saskatchewan Gay Coalition ceased to exist in the early 1980s.
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At the Prairie Gay Conference of 1977, delegates decided that a major prairie gay cultural event should be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the fall of 1978. On October 7 to 9, 1978, the first Metamorphosis festival, hosted by the Saskatchewan Gay Coalition, was held in Saskatoon. The name of the festival reflected the continuing growth of individuals and the larger gay community.
The first organizers hoped that Metamorphosis would provide the gay community with an opportunity to present itself to the larger community in a positive, highly visible way, while celebrating the richness of the gay community through cultural expression. The event usually included continuous entertainment workshops (music, dance, theatre, writing); displays (art, photography, crafts, books); entertainment (jugglers, clowns, and fortune tellers); coffee houses; concerts; and a parade or march.
Metamorphosis continued as an annual event until 1989. Due to low attendance, the last festival was held on October 7 and 8, 1989.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of records created, accumulated and used by Neil Richards of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan relating to his involvement in local, provincial and national gay organizations. The fonds also reflects Richards' active interest in collecting the documentary heritage of the homosexual community locally, provincially, and nationally.
The fonds consists of thirteen series: Newspaper Clippings; Publications; Pornography; Subject Files; Gay Community Centre of Saskatoon; Gay and Lesbian Support Services; Saskatchewan Gay Coalition; Metamorphosis; Sound Recordings; Posters; Photographs; Ephemera; and Gay and Lesbian Health Services.
The types of records included in this fonds are photocopies of newspaper clippings; publications; subject files; minutes; correspondence; reports; financial statements; membership lists; counselling logs; newsletters; video cassettes; audio cassettes; posters; photographs; buttons and a cloth banner.
Records are in good physical condition.
Immediate source of acquisition
Neil Richards donated these records to the Saskatchewan Archives, Saskatoon office, in seventeen accessions between 1985 and 2009: S85-189 (October 11, 1985); S86-113 (June 4, 1986); S89-59 (July 25, 1989); S89-117 (November 27, 1989); S92-56 (August 18, 1992); S94-93 (December 16, 1994); S95-23 (April 25, 1995); S97-59 (July 14, 1997); S99-69 (October 27, 1999); S2002-43 (August 8, 2002); S2004-35 (July 19, 2004); S2004-39 (August 9, 2004); S2004-48 (September 7, 2004); S2004-59 (November 12, 2004); S2005-55 (October 12, 2005); S2005-68 (November 11, 2005) and 2009-346 (March 20, 2009).
Original order was maintained by archivist.
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Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Some of these records are subject to access restrictions according to the terms of an agreement with the donor dated December 22, 1994. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Use, publication and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms of an agreement with the donor dated December 22, 1994 and the terms and conditions of the Copyright Act. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.
To consult the records, visit or contact the Saskatoon office.
SAFA 198 (old guide GS 170) consists of fonds, series, file and item descriptions. Item descriptions of audio cassettes and photographs are available in Threshold.
Uploaded finding aid
Further accruals are expected.
Location for retrieval: Saskatoon - Murray.
Conservation practices in place at the time of arrangement were applied to the records in old guide GS 170.
Conservation practices in place at the time of processing in 2009 have been applied at the series level only.
Textual records: S-A 595, S-A 821, S-A 875, S-A 958, S-A 1026, S-A 1067.
Audio cassettes: S-1145 to S-1146; S-1544 to S-1545.
Photographs: S-B13384 to S-B13514; S-E236 to S-E276.
Video cassette: S-VTS 531.
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Rules or conventions
Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.
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