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Gay Nurses Alliance records

Identifier: SSC-MS-00732

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection consists of photographs and recordings of conferences and presentations, articles and publications on gays and gays in health care, and of newsletters, mailings, and fliers. There are some manuscripts, correspondence, and other publicity material from GNA and other organizations, including GNA's Signal newsletter. Also includes buttons and badges from conferences.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1971 - 1984


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that they own copyright, Gay Nurses Alliance has assigned the copyright in their works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Gay Nurses Alliance, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical Note

E. Carolyn Innes and G. David Waldron co-founded the Gay Nurses'Alliance (GNA) in Philadelphia, PA, in August 1973 to advocate for gay patients and nurses and educate health care professionals and others. Encouraged by her mentor Barbara Gittings, Innes approached Waldron with the idea of establishing a gay caucus within the American Nurses Association. While the plan didn't evolve exactly that way, Innes, Waldron, their partners, and one other nurse, began to organize an independent Alliance. In October of 1973 they gave the presentation"Gay People/Straight Health Care" at the Pennsylvania Nurses Association conference. Though they were not officially recognized by the Association or conference, response to the talk was so positive that they repeated it to another packed room the following morning. Chapters of GNA were established in Boston, MA and New York City, NY. Chapter membership fees, combined with personal funds, enabled Innes and Waldron to attend the American Nurses Association Convention in San Francisco. They also began doing numerous speaking engagements, utilizing a slide show created by member Jeri Dilno Was the photographer and graphic designer for the GNA newsletter THE SIGNAL and the designer of the GNA button. Other key members included Tony Amadeo who was the head of the Pennsylvania caucus and Bob Simco was GNA's business manager, In 1977 GNA had its first annual conference. Though the organization continued to grow, by 1978 lack of member involvement prompted John C. Lawrence, president and National Coordinator East, and Bob Miller, secretary of the Alliance, to consider disbanding unless others stepped forward. By the early 1980s the Alliance was defunct.


2.75 linear feet (5 containers)

Language of Materials



The collection contains photographs and recordings of conferences and presentations, articles and publications on gays and gays in health care, and of newsletters, mailings, and fliers. Also included are the working papers of the Gay Nurse Alliance, an advocacy group for gay patients and nurses and an education disseminator for health care professionals and others.


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was gifted by E. Carolyn Innes in 2014 and 2016. Additional materials were donated by David Waldron via Innes in 2018.

Related Materials

Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. The following changes were made in this collection: Accession 2018-S-0075, Boxes 1-3 renumbered as Boxes 3-5



Finding aid to the Gay Nurses Alliance records
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Madison White; Ellice Yasner Amanna
2018; 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-10-15: Updated to conform to DACS
  • 2018-11-16: Container list and series information added for latest accession; updated all collection-level notes to current standards
  • 2020-04-08: Accessions and description added and finding aid updated to current standards
  • 2022-10-31: Corrected out of date inventory to Accession 2014-S-0069

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063