C. John Knoebel Papers,1967-2011.

Collection Number: 7810

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
C. John Knoebel papers, 1967-2011.
Collection Number:
7810
Creator:
Knoebel, C. John.
Quantity:
4.5 Cubic Feet.
Forms of Material:
Audio recordings, memorabilia, printed materials, publications, research materials, computer media.
Repository:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Documents, photographs, audiotapes, videos, T-shirts, and magazines documenting C. John Knoebel's work for the Advocate and Triangle Marketing Services, as well as his political activities. Includes interviews with David Goodstein, Phil Andros, and Tom of Finland; surveys and marketing research; gay merchandise catalogs from the 1990s and early 2000s; recordings of radio advertisements for the Advocate; and special issues of the Advocate and other LGBT magazines.
Language:
Collection material in English


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

For over 45 years, Knoebel made significant contributions to LGBT history, first as a pioneer gay activist in New York City from 1969 to 1976 and then during his 33-year career as a senior executive with the publishers of the national gay and lesbian newsmagazine, The Advocate, OUT, and other LGBT magazines from 1979 to 2012.
Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin in October 1947, Knoebel attended the University of Wisconsin/Madison when that campus was a nationally-recognized hotbed of anti-Vietnam war protests. After graduating in June 1969, he moved to New York City to attend graduate school in comparative literature at New York University.
As a young gay man in New York during the politically charged post-Stonewall era, Knoebel quickly became an early member of New York’s pioneering Gay Liberation Front. From November 1969 onwards, Knoebel participated in many GLF protest demonstrations as well as the first Gay Pride March in June 1970. As a member of the GLF 95th Street Gay Men’s Living Collective from June 1970 through January 1971, Knoebel worked with this close-knit housing commune on many GLF projects, helped form numerous gay men’s consciousness-raising groups and spoke at colleges and other venues with the GLF speaker’s bureau. The collective also helped to organize the August 1970 Times Square demonstration that ended with several days of riots in the Village, participated in the week-long protest occupation of NYU’s Weinstein Hall, and helped to establish GLF’s first community center on West 3rd Street.
Along with many other GLF groups from around the county, the 95th Street Collective also attended both sessions of the 1970 Black Panther’s Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Conventions in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Knoebel was one of three GLF members who met with Huey Newton following the release of his important essay, “A Letter to Revolutionary Brothers and Sister about the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements,” which is considered the first pro-gay, pro-woman proclamation to come out of the radical black civil rights movement.
As a member of the cells, “Femmes against Sexism” and “Gay Male Group,” Knoebel advocated a close affinity between gay liberation and radical feminism. He subsequently joined Steven Dansky and Kenneth Pitchford in founding the Effeminists, a group of gay men who opposed sexism, and co-authored the group's influential statement of purpose, “The Effeminist Manifesto” which has been widely reprinted. The group published its own magazine, Double F: a Magazine of Effeminism, from 1972 to 1976 which gave voice to the group’s often controversial politics about gay men in support of feminism.
During this period, Knoebel had worked in magazine circulation and marketing jobs for a succession of small New York publishing companies. Moving to San Francisco in 1978, Knoebel was at work in the city at another publishing job on the day that Harvey Milk was assassinated and he attended numerous marches and protests that followed.
In 1979, Knoebel was hired as marketing director of The Advocate by its high-profile publisher, David Goodstein, and tasked with expanding the magazine’s fledgling 7,000 member subscriber base. Starting from scratch, Knoebel wrote and mailed The Advocate’s first national direct mail campaigns. For many LGBT Americans, their first experience of receiving a piece of gay-oriented direct mail was from ones that Knoebel mailed for The Advocate. Within the next decade, subscribers increased to over 70,000. In his eventual 30+ years with the publishing firm, Knoebel produced and sent out over fifty million pieces of direct mail promoting the firm’s gay magazines, books, mail order catalogs and other products.
In 1984, Knoebel started a new gay men’s erotic-focused magazine line for the company, including Men, Freshmen and Male Pictorial magazines and served as their publisher for several years. These titles proved to be an important profit source for the company and supported the money-losing Advocate during the worst years of the AIDS epidemic. After David Goodstein’s death, Knoebel served as the president and was part-owner of The Advocate from 1987 to 1992.
Following another ownership change, Knoebel returned to New York continuing with The Advocate as VP Consumer Marketing and was instrumental in The Advocate’s purchase of its New York-based rival, OUT magazine. Knoebel also served as president of The Advocate’s subsidiary, Triangle Marketing Services (TMS), a New York-based mailing list management and brokerage firm that worked with a wide range of LGBT business and non-profit organizations in their direct mail efforts and helped raise sizeable money for many clients including major AIDS charities, as well as LGBT arts and political action groups. Knoebel ended his long career with The Advocate in 2012 after 33 years and six-ownership changes.
Knoebel’s writings from the GLF era appeared in GLF’s newspaper, Come Out!, and in early gay liberation anthologies, including “Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation” edited by Karla Jay and Allen Young. Over the years, Knoebel has given many interviews and spoken on numerous panels concerned with gay history and politics. See: http://stonewallrebels.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/40-years-after-stonewall-part-3-john-knoebel
Post Advocate, Knoebel continued to help document gay history as an editor of Christopher Street Press, an e-Book publishing venture founded in 2011 by Steven Dansky to preserve and re-issue important LGBT historical documents from the early gay liberation movement. Among Christopher Street Press’s first publications were “Hot August Night/1970, The Forgotten LGBT Riot,” and “The Come Out! Reader,” a facsimile edition of all of the issues of GLF’s pioneering newspaper, Come Out! , which Knoebel co-edited.
In 2013, Knoebel and Dansky partnered again to found a new project, OUTSpoken: Oral History from LGBTQ Pioneers. Initially focused on preserving the stories of the pioneers who gave birth to the modern LGBTQ movement in the decade following the 1969 New York City Stonewall Rebellion, OUTSpoken has now collected many dozens of important first-person LGBT oral histories posted on its dedicated website: www.outspoken.org
A life-long choral singer, Knoebel was a member of LGBT choruses in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York from 1980 through 2012 singing first tenor. He now lives in Palm Springs, California with Ira Helf, his partner since 1977 whom he married in 2013.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

John Knoebel‘s papers contain important writings, documents, business papers, marketing samples, research studies and audio and visual materials reflecting his life-long involvement in LGBT politics and publishing.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Knoebel, C. John.
Andros, Phil.
Goodstein, David B., 1932-
Tom of Finland, 1920-1991.
Triangle Marketing Services.

Titles:
Advocate (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Subjects:
Gay men -- United States
Periodicals -- Publishing -- United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Audiotapes.
Audiocassettes.
Video recordings.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Cite As:
C. John Knoebel Papers, #7810. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
Processing Note
Boxes and folders have been arranged and numbered to preserve their original physical arrangement.
Some folders include notes and summaries of The Advocate history written by Knoebel.

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
The Advocate
Arranged chronologically.
Publishing and Related Materials
Box 1 Folder 2
The Advocate issues
1967-08-1991-05-07
Large gaps between issue dates; Includes Vol. 1 No. 1-2; Vol. 2 No. 9-10, 12;Vol. 3 No. 8; Vol. No. 4; Iss. 105, 214, 361, 419, 576
Box 1 Folder 7
Promotion and subscription materials
1975-1979
Box 1 Folder 3
David B. Goodstein file
1975-1992
Box 1 Folder 17
National media coverage of The Advocate
1975-1994
Box 1 Folder 12
National media coverage of The Advocate
1977-1979
Box 1 Folder 5
US Post Office periodical rule waiver
1977-02-11
Box 1 Folder 4
Other Advocate staff history
1978-2008-04
Includes photographs, articles
Box 1 Folder 16
The Advocate issues
1979-1980, 1985
Includes Iss. 284, 298-299, 411
Box 1 Folder 6
GayRun'80 flyer
1980
Box 1 Folder 11
Europe project correspondence
1980-1985
Box 1 Folder 13
National media coverage of The Advocate
1980-1989
Box 1 Folder 9
New York subway advertising project
1981-03-1981-04
Includes photographs, notes
Box 1 Folder 8
New York Times advertising
1981-04-1981-05
Includes correspondence, ads, articles, ad mock-ups
Box 1 Folder 26
Art boards and page reprints
1982-1984
Box 1 Folder 1
Founding and early history of The Advocate articles
1983, 1994-03, 2011-11
Box 1 Folder 10
Billboard campaign
1985
Includes original concept sketches, photographs, notes regarding model choice
Box 1 Folder 24
Advocate MEN photo
1985-1986
Box 4 Folder 28
The Advocate issue with notes
1985-09-17
Box 4 Folder 30
The Advocate issues with notes
1987, 2007
Box 4 Folder 29
The Advocate issues with notes
1987-09, 1991-1992-06
Box 1 Folder 20
The Advocate sale negotiations
1992-12-1993-01
Box 4 Folder 1
Advocate MEN calendars
1993
Box 1 Folder 21-23
Liberation Publications, Inc. Stock Purchase Agreements Vol. 1-2, 4
1993-12-22
Box 1 Folder 14
Long Road to Freedom press quotes
1994-05-1994-09
Box 1 Folder 15
The Advocate's 25th anniversary exhibition
1994-06-1994-07
Includes invitation to exhibit reception, visitor comments on exhibit
Box 1 Folder 18
The Advocate purchase of OUT
1994-07, 1999-09-2000-11
Box 4 Folder 20
MEN 20th anniversary article
2004
Box 1 Folder 19
The Advocate 40th anniversary invitation
2007-09-18
Box 4 Folder 13
Promo item for gay bars
Undated
Surveys and Market Research
Box 3 Folder 1
Avanti Communications
1980-1983
Includes correspondence, articles, questionnaire
Box 3 Folder 3
Characteristics of Readers of The Advocate
1980-12
Creator: Walker and Struman Research, Inc.
Box 3 Folder 11
Targeting the Homosexual Market: A Viable Option?
1980-12
Creator: Miller, Marc D.
Box 3 Folder 7
The Advocate: PRIZM Subscriber Analysis materials
1987-12-1995-03
Creator: Claritas, Inc.
Includes correspondence, survey results
Box 3 Folder 2
National media coverage of The Advocate
1990-09-1992-01
Box 3 Folder 8
Advocate MEN survey
1990-12-1995-12
Box 3 Folder 6
The Advocate: A Profile of Subscribers materials
1993-09-15-1994-11
Creator: Simmons Market Research Bureau, Inc.
Includes correspondence, survey results
Box 4 Folder 15
Memos on marketing
1994
Box 3 Folder 10
The Gay and Lesbian Market
1995-01
Creator: Packaged Facts
Box 3 Folder 12
Press clippings
1995-01-1998-01
Includes some correspondence
Box 3 Folder 9
Simmons gay market study correspondence
1996-05-1997-03
Box 3 Folder 13
The Advocate: A Profile of Subscribers materials
1996-06-1997-01
Creator: Mediamark Research Inc.
Includes correspondence, survey results
Box 3 Folder 16
Press clippings
2001-01-2003-06
Includes some correspondence, LGBT Directory of Services and Resources - NY Metropolitan Area
Box 3 Folder 17
Press clippings
2001-11-2003-06
Includes correspondence
Box 3 Folder 14
Press clippings
2001-08
Box 3 Folder 15
The 2000 Census and Same-Sex Households
2002
Creator: Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory | The Fenway Institute
Box 3 Folder 5
Selling Homosexuality to America
2002
Creator: Rondeau, Paul E.
Direct Mail
Box 4 Folder 8
Direct mail samples
1980-2010
Box 4 Folder 9
Direct mail samples
1980-2010
Box 4 Folder 11
Direct mail samples
1980-2010
Box 4 Folder 12
Direct mail samples
1991
Box 1 Folder 25
DM News
2000-11-06-2005-08
Box 4 Folder 14
Library promotion
Undated
Malibu Sales
Box 4 Folder 10
Malibu Sales - mail order catalogs
1986-06-1988-02
Box 4 Folder 17
Malibu Man catalog
1989-03-1989-08
Box 4 Folder 21
Vaughn Kincey Superman premium video materials
1995
Box 4 Folder 32
Gay Travel Guides notes
Undated
Media and Related Materials
Liberation Publications Inc. Videos
Box 2 Folder 3
Liberation Publication Inc. video notes
1986-2002
Box 2 V-10270
Advocate MEN Live!
1986
Creator: Bisonnes, Fred (Prod.)
Interview with erotic author Phil Andros (Samuel Stewart)
Box 2 V-10271
Advocate MEN Live! 2
1987
Creator: Bisonnes, Fred (Prod.)
Interview with erotic artist Tom of Finland
Box 2 V-10272
Advocate MEN Live! 3
1987
Creator: Bisonnes, Fred (Prod.)
Box 2 V-10273
Advocate MEN Live! 4
1988
Creator: Bisonnes, Fred (Prod.)
Box 2 V-10274
Prime Time: Advocate MEN Live! 5
1988
Creator: Bisonnes, Fred (Prod.)
Box 2 V-10275
Big Buddies: Advocate MEN Live! 6
1989
Creator: McQueen, Robert (Prod.)
Box 2 V-10276
Poetry and Motion: Advocate MEN Live! 7
1990
Creator: Summers, John (Prod.)
Box 2 V-10277-10278
FRESHMEN Tryouts
1994
Creator: Powers, Derek (Dir.)
Box 4 Folder 22
Freshmen tryouts production
1994-08-1994-09
Box 2 V-10279-10280
The Real FRESHMEN World
1997
Box 2 V-10281
Shooting Stars: MEN Magazine Live!
1997
Box 2 V-10282
FRESHMEN Getaway Weekend
1998
Box 4 Folder 23
MEN of Your Dreams
V-10290
1998
Box 2 V-10283
MEN Magazine Live!
2002
Box 2 V-10284
Team Freshmen
Undated
Box 2 V-10285
SuperMEN
Undated
Creator: Summers, John (Dir.)
Box 2 V-10286
Ryan Idol: A Very Personal View
Undated
Creator: Saxon, Troy (Dir.)
Box 4 Folder 23
Self Massage
V-10291
Undated
"It's a Gay Life" Program and Radio Interviews
Box 2 Folder 1
"It's a Gay Life" program and radio interviews notes
1977-1978
Box 2 tr-16002
David Goodstein KGO radio interview
1977-08-10
Box 2 tr-16003
It's a Gay Life: Interview with Dr. Newt Dieter
1978
Box 2 tr-16004
Peter Frisch Interview KKTT (The Kat) Radio
1978-03-03
Box 2 tr-16005
It's a Gay Life: Interview with David Goodstein
1978-04-09
Box 2 tr-16006
It's a Gay Life: Interview with M. Paul Simon
1978-05-30
Box 2 tr-16007
It's a Gay Life: Interview with Tim Sacora and Estelle Golden
1978-07-11
Box 2 tr-16008
It's a Gay Life: Interview with Frank Carr
1978-07-26
Radio Ads
Box 2 Folder 2
Radio ads notes
1979-1980
Box 2 tr-16011
Advocate commercials 4 - 60 second spots
1979-1980
Box 2 tr-16012
The Advocate 5 - 30 second radio spots
1979-1980
Box 2 tr-16015
The Advocate commercials - master
1979-1980
Box 2 tr-16010
3 - 30's The Advocate commercials
1979-04-24
Box 2 tr-16016
The Advocate 5 - 30 second radio spots
1979-09
Box 2 tr-16014
The Advocate commercials
1979-11
Box 2 tr-16009
AIDS Preventions message
1987-04
Box 2 tr-16013
The Advocate 5 - 30 second radio spots
1980-11
T-shirts
Box 5 MU-1900
The Advocate: touching your lifestyle
1978-1999
Original tagline of The Advocate
Box 5 MU-1898
The Advocate grey tshirt
1980-1985
Box 5 MU-1899
The Advocate grey tshirt
1980-1985
Box 5 MU-1891
No on 64 victory party tshirt
1986-11-04
Proposition to quarantine HIV positive people
Box 5 MU-1896-1897
The Advocate 20th anniversary tshirt
1987
Box 5 MU-1890
March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation tshirt
1993-04-25
Box 5 MU-1894-1895
The Advocate/Stonewall Riots 25th anniversary tshirt
1994-07
Box 5 MU-1892
The Advocate Melissa Etheridge tshirt
1999
Box 5 MU-1889
The Advocate staff tshirt
Undated
Box 5 MU-1893
Advocate MEN tshirt
Undated
Triangle Marketing Services
Arranged chronologically.
Box 4 Folder 5
Press contact
1992, 1999-2001
Box 4 Folder 4
Triangle Marketing Services materials
1995-2004
Box 4 Folder 7
Folio Annual Circulation show materials
1995-10
"9 out of 10 people" direct mail package won silver award
Box 4 Folder 6
Old press releases
1996-2002
Non-Advocate Videos
Arranged chronologically.
Box 2 V-10287
1987: A Gay Review
1996-1997, 2002
Creator: David, Carl (Dir.)
Box 2 V-10288
Highlights from the March on Washington
1988
Creator: David, Carl (Dir.)
Box 2 V-10289
Boots, Biceps, and Bulges: The Life and Works of Tom of Finland
1988
Creator: Tom of Finland
Box 2 DVD-792
[2] the movie
2002
Creator: Larue, Chi Chi
Box 4 Folder 23
Gay Voices Gay Legends Vol. 2
V-10292
Undated
Other LGBT Publications
Arranged chronologically.
Box 4 Folder 2
Photo sets and order brochures
1969-1983
Early form of porn started in the 1950s
Box 4 Folder 16
Stud issue
1971
Box 4 Folder 31
Adult bookstore items
1972-1973, 1977-1980
Box 3 Folder 24
LGBT magazines with notes
1976, 1979, 1981-1983, 1986
Gay Comix No. 9 autographed by Jerry Mills
Box 4 Folder 3
Photo and video order brochures
1977-1987
Early form of porn started in the 1950s
Box 3 Folder 20
LGBT mail order catalogs
1983, 1988-01-1996-11
Box 3 Folder 21
Assorted publications
1991, 1996-1997, 2004
Box 3 Folder 22
LGBT magazines with notes
1991-1993
Box 4 Folder 24
Budapest LGBT magazines
1991-05-1991-07
Box 4 Folder 25
Polish MEN magazine
1991-06
Box 3 Folder 18
Shocking Gray catalogs
1991-09-1995
Box 4 Folder 23
Russian LGBT newspaper Tema
1992-01, 1998
Box 3 Folder 23
LGBT magazines with notes
1995-1997, 2005
Box 4 Folder 27
OutClips online catalog
1995-01
Box 3 Folder 19
Tzabaco catalogs
1995-09-1999-01
Assorted files
Arranged chronologically.
Box 4 Folder 26
San Francisco Gay Pride March program
1979-06-24-1991
Box 4 Folder 19
San Francisco Gay Games program
1982
Box 2 Folder 4
GLAAD direct mail
1990-06
Box 2 Folder 4
Defamation
tr-16010
1990-06
Narrated by Harvey Fierstein
Box 3 Folder 4
AIDS: Public Attention and Education Needs
1991
Creator: The Roper Organization Inc.
Box 4 Folder 18
Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center 20th Anniversary Ball program
1991-10-19

SEPARATED MATERIAL

Books - cataloged individually in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections