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    A Time Capsule of Joy

    Lorraine Hurdle (center right) with people she met in WWII and would maintain friendships with throughout her life. Circa 1939–1945, from the Lorraine Hurdle Papers (2018-12), GLBT Historical Society.

    Lorraine Hurdle (1922–2014) was a lesbian who served in the U.S. Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) in Germany during World War II. She served in the military for many years, eventually working as a recruiter, and the WAAC formed a core of her chosen family.

    Her collection in our archives provides a glimpse into the role queer people played in WWII, the importance of chosen family, and why keeping our history alive is so important. Even for those of us who will never become household names, the people of the future will want to know how we lived. Lorraine’s collection is a beautiful time capsule of a life that was full of joy even during periods—from the Lavender Scare to the Anita Bryant era—when it can be hard to imagine much joy being possible.

    Lorraine Hurdle (right) on a bicycle. Two other people are with her in front of a building with several advertising logos. Circa 1939–1945, from the Lorraine Hurdle Papers (2018-12), GLBT Historical Society.

    Our archives contain a significant number of holdings that document the varied experiences of LGBTQ people during WWII, from being incarcerated in a prison camp, dishonorably discharged from military service, to serving with pride.

    Lorraine’s collection was recently added to our “Adopt a Collection” initiative, which allows GLBT Historical Society members to claim a sense of ownership over one of 10 selected archival collections, and supports their continued preservation. To learn more, visit

    Lorraine Hurdle (center left) with a group of war buddies, gathered in the 1960s; from the Lorraine Hurdle Papers (2018-12), GLBT Historical Society.

    These photos are drawn from one of the more than 1,000 individual archival collections held by the GLBT Historical Society that reveal a vast array of LGBTQ life, history, and culture. We make these community treasures available to all at our archives downtown and our museum in the Castro district. To book your visit, or to make a contribution to support our work, visit

    Community Treasures from the GLBT Historical Society Archives
    Published on September 7, 2023