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Collection Number: 05367

Collection Title: Joseph A. Herzenberg Papers, 1883-2006 (bulk 1940s-2006)

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size 20 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2,500 items)
Abstract Joe Herzenberg (Joseph Alexander Herzenberg II) was born in 1941 in Franklin, N.J. He moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., in 1969. Herzenberg was a politician; historian; advocate for social, environmental, and economic justice; and the first openly gay elected official in North Carolina. He died in October 2007 in Chapel Hill. The collection contains diaries, correspondence, subject files, photographs, and other materials relating to Joe Herzenberg. Diaries begin in 1954 during Herzenberg's early adolescence and continue through 2006. Entries are detailed narratives of Herzenberg's daily life during his teenage and college years. From the 1970s on, local and national politics play central roles in the diaries. Correspondence is chiefly incoming and concerns local and national politics and Herzenberg's personal life. Included are letters from Democratic Party politicians running for office; replies from politicians detailing stances on particular issues; letters from local and national non-profits; and letters concerning local politics, such as Chapel Hill Town Council meetings and the Chapel Hill City Greenway. There are also letters, postcards, and greeting cards from friends, family, and students. Subject file topics include politics, family, gay rights, home, hobbies, and social issues in Chapel Hill. Photographs are of Herzenberg's parents; Herzenberg at various stages in his life; school, social, and political events; friends, associates, and other individuals; and Herzenberg's cat and home. Also included are awards received by Herzenberg, his political pin collection, college class notes, and other items.
Creator Herzenberg, Joseph A., 1941-
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Joseph A. Herzenberg Papers #5367, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from the estate of Joseph Herzenberg of Chapel Hill in 2007 (Acc. 100810).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Joe Herzenberg (Joseph Alexander Herzenberg II) was born 25 June 1941 in Franklin, N.J., to Marjorie and Morris Herzenberg. He was a politician; a historian; an advocate for social, environmental, and economic justice; and the first openly gay elected official in North Carolina. Herzenberg attended Yale University, receiving his B.A. in 1963 and M.A. in European history in 1965. One of his first major involvements with politics was working as a Freedom Summer volunteer in 1964 in Mississippi. He was briefly jailed as a civil rights protester that same year. From 1965 to 1967, Herzenberg worked as assistant professor and chair of the History Department at Tougaloo College, a historically African American school in Jackson, Miss., and a hotbed of civil rights activism in the 1960s. At Tougaloo, he met and was briefly married to an African-American woman at a time when interracial marriages were illegal.

Herzenberg moved to North Carolina in 1969 to enroll as a graduate student in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he wrote his dissertation on the career of local civil rights leader Frank Porter Graham. He first ran as a Democrat for Chapel Hill Town Council in 1979, but was narrowly defeated. Soon after, he was appointed to the Town Council to replace Gerry Cohen, who had stepped down mid-term. Herzenberg lost the reelection bid in 1981 and lost the election once again in 1983. In 1987, Herzenberg was elected to Chapel Hill Town Council, becoming the first openly gay elected official in North Carolina. He was re-elected by a wide margin in 1991, receiving an unprecedented vote total for Chapel Hill town council race. He remained in office until 1993. During his time in office, Herzenberg was a great proponent of civil rights, social justice, and environmental protection. Even after stepping down, Herzenberg remained involved in local politics and served on various town advisory boards, such as the Chapel Hill Greenways Commission. Herzenberg was a founding member of Pride PAC (later called Equality N.C. PAC), a state-wide advocacy organization working for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender North Carolinians. He played a great part in the enactment of Chapel Hill's tree protection ordinance, the creation of the Chapel Hill Greenways, and the preservation of the Chapel Hill downtown historic district. Herzenberg received the first Citizen's Award from the Independent Newsweekly in 1984. He died at the age of 66 on 28 October 2007 in Chapel Hill from complications of diabetes.

Adapted for the most part from Orange Politics blog: http://orangepolitics.org/2007/10/well-miss-you-joe/ (Date accessed: 30 January 2008)

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection contains diaries, correspondence, subject files, photographs, and other materials of Joe Herzenberg, politician, historian, and social activist of Chapel Hill, N.C. Diaries begin in 1954 during Herzenberg's early adolescence and continue through 2006. Entries are detailed narratives of Herzenberg's daily life during his teenage and college years. From the 1970s on, local and national politics play central roles in the diaries. Correspondence is chiefly incoming and concerns local and national politics and Herzenberg's personal life. Included are letters from Democratic Party politicians running for office; replies from politicians detailing stances on particular issues; letters from local and national non-profits; and letters concerning local politics, such as Chapel Hill Town Council meetings and the Chapel Hill City Greenway. There are also letters, postcards, and greeting cards from friends, family, and students. Subject file topics include politics, family, gay rights, home, hobbies, and social issues in Chapel Hill. Photographs are of Herzenberg's parents; Herzenberg at various stages in his life; school, social, and political events; friends, associates, and other individuals; and Herzenberg's cat and home. Also included are awards received by Herzenberg, his political pin collection, college class notes, and other items.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Diaries, 1954-2006.

About 80 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Diaries begin in 1954 in early adolescence and continue through 2006, shortly before his death. During Herzenberg's teenage and a college years, the diaries relate detailed narratives of his daily life and routine, including accounts of conversations, school, parents, friends, activities, and readings. After college, the diaries pay increasing attention to politics. By the 1970s, local and national politics play central roles in the diaries. In later decades, diary entries are far less detailed, though they still track the events of daily life. There are no diaries from 1968 to 1974.

Box 1

1954-1961 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 1

Box 2

1962-1967 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 2

Box 3

1975-1980 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 3

Box 4

1980-1982 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 4

Box 5

1982-1983 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 5

Box 6

1983-1984 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 6

Box 7

1985-1986 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 7

Box 8

1987-1988 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 8

Box 9

1989-1990 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 9

Box 10-11

Box 10

Box 11

1991-1992 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 10-11

Box 12

1993-1994 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 12

Box 13

1995-1996 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 13

Box 14

1997-1998 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 14

Box 15

1999-2000 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 15

Box 16

2001-2002 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 16

Box 17

2003-2004 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 17

Box 18

2005-2006 #05367, Series: "1. Diaries, 1954-2006." Box 18

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Correspondence, 1940-1997.

About 2,000 items.

Arrangement: as received.

Correspondence is chiefly incoming and concerns local and national politics and personal life. Included are letters from Democratic Party politicians running for office; replies from politicians detailing stances on particular issues; letters relating to the Chapel Hill Town Council; letters relating to local projects such as the Chapel Hill City Greenway; and letters from local and national non-profits such as PridePac, the ACLU, the Nature Conservancy, the AIDS Service Agency NC, and others. Letters trace the campaigns of local and national Democratic candidates including Bill Clinton, Harvey Gantt, Ellie Kinaird, Jose Medina, Mike Nelson, and David Price.

There are also postcards, greeting cards, and letters from friends, family, and students. Though the letters are chiefly incoming, there are a few originating with Herzenberg, including a June 1995 letter documenting the refusal of a Chapel Hill, N.C., restaurant to serve him due to his sexual orientation.

Many letters were annotated by Herzenberg. These annotations include information such as whether or not Herzenberg responded to the letter, whether he voted for a particular politician and his opinion of the politician, what his answer was to a question in the letter, or how much money he donated to a specific organization. Filed among the letters are official documents such as Herzenberg's voter registration certification, GRE and other test scores, Chapel Hill Town Council documents, and tax information.

Box 19-20

Box 19

Box 20

1940-1966 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 19-20

Although most letters are arranged chronologically, Herzenberg arranged these letters alphabetically within date spans. Tables of contents created by Herzenberg listing correspondents alphabetically can be found in the first folder of each group.

Box 21

1966-1970 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 21

Box 22

1970-1972 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 22

Box 23

1973-1976 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 23

Box 24

1977-1980 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 24

Box 25

1981-1983 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 25

Box 26

1984-1988 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 26

Box 27

1989-1990 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 27

Box 28

1991-1994 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 28

Box 29

1994-1995 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 29

Box 30

1996-1997 #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 30

Box 31

1998-2006 and undated #05367, Series: "2. Correspondence, 1940-1997." Box 31

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Subject Files, 1883-2005.

About 50 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical.

Subject file topics include politics, family, gay rights, home, hobbies, and social issues in Chapel Hill, N.C. Materials are letters, photographs, publications, and clippings.

Note that original file folder titles have, for the most part, been retained. See Series 4. Photographs for other photographs.

Folder 149

6 Cobb Terrace #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 149

Photographs, tax information, and other papers relating to Herzenberg's Chapel Hill, N.C., residence.

Folder 150

AIDS #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 150

Materials relating to the AIDS Service Agency of NC (1990-1993). Includes meeting minutes and information on the debate about the creation of the AIDS house in Carrboro, N.C.

Folder 151

Board of Elections #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 151

Folder 152

Books read #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 152

Folder 153

Cartoons, letters #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 153

Mix of newspaper cartoons involving Herzenberg and official letters written by Herzenberg.

Folder 154

Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 154

Folder 155

Cobb Terrace #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 155

Materials include official correspondence, court judgments, clippings, zoning plans, photographs, and other items relating to Akin et. al vs. Town of Chapel Hill , a 1987 court case revolving around the Women's Center and preservation of the residential Chapel Hill historic district.

Folder 156

David Herzenberg (1950-1991) #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 156

Materials relating to Herzenberg's brother.

Folder 157

Democratic Socialists of America #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 157

Folder 158

Durham March #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 158

Materials relating to the Durham, N.C., Pride parade, 1991.

Folder 159

East Franklin Democrats #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 159

Folder 160

The Exchange #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 160

Materials relating to the 1991 legal dispute regarding the Chapel Hill, N.C., Columbia Street Exchange Coffeehouse.

Folder 161

Family genealogy #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 161

Materials include a copy of an 1883 Romanian birth certificate for Herzenberg's grandfather, copies of two handwritten autobiographical narratives of Herzenberg's ancestors who came to the United States from Romania (one by Henry Herzenberg, b. 1868), and a copy of a 1924 handwritten declaration by Henrietta Herzenberg.

Folder 162

Flags #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 162

Several flag catalogs and a 1987 San Francisco Chronicle opinion article on the rainbow flag.

Folder 163

Franklin, N.J. #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 163

Folder 164

Frank Graham #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 164

Writings by and about civil rights leader and University of North Carolina president Frank Porter Graham, including a manuscript by Herzenberg entitled, "Frank Porter Graham and the North Carolina Senatorial Primaries of 1950."

Folder 165

Funding Exchange #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 165

Folder 166

Fund for Southern Communities #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 166

Folder 167

Gay Baiting #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 167

Folder 168

Gay Democrats #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 168

Folder 169

Gay Elected Officials #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 169

Folder 170

Gay Lists #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 170

Folder 171

Gay Miscellany #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 171

Folder 172

Herzenberg Campaign, 1987 #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 172

Includes official correspondence with supporters, precinct information, lists of campaign contributors, election ballots, newspaper articles, and photographs.

Folder 173

Herzenberg Campaigns #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 173

Materials relating to the 1985 Chapel Hill Town Council election, including the official election results, precinct information, lists of campaign contributors, election ballots, newspaper articles, and photographs.

Folder 174

Herzenbergs #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 174

Newspaper articles, photographs, and papers related to various members of the Herzenberg family.

Folder 175

Herzenberg Town Council campaign, 1991 #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 175

Materials include photographs, official municipal election results, and a list of campaign contributors.

Folder 176

Human Rights Fund #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 176

Folder 177

Human Rights Campaign Fund #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 177

Folder 178

Joe Herzenberg #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 178

Photographs of relatives and of Herzenberg, a tape log and index of an oral history conducted with Herzenberg by the Southern Oral History Program, and newspaper articles about Herzenberg spanning a number of years.

Folder 179

John Ehle, The Free Men #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 179

Materials relating to Herzenberg's work with The Free Men, a 1965 book detailing the desegregation of the University of North Carolina. The book was republished by Herzenberg in early 2007.

Folder 180

Lightning Brown #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 180

Materials relating to Herzenberg's close friend, fellow activist and Chapel Hill poet Lightning Brown (1947-1996). Included are poems by Brown; letters written by Brown on political subjects; newspaper articles about Brown; the eulogy read by Herzenberg at Brown's funeral; and photographs, articles, and other materials on the dedication of the Bolin Creek Greenway in Brown's honor.

Folder 181

Number not used. #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 181

Folder 182

Mishmash #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 182

Clippings, articles, and other printed materials. Subjects include rapid urban grown in Chapel Hill, arctic birds, local gun control, and opinion articles from local papers.

Folder 183

Mondale-Herzenberg Campaign, 1984 #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 183

Folder 184

National Association of Gay and Lesbian Democrats #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 184

Folder 185

NC Pride PAC #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 185

Folder 186

OLGA (Orange Lesbian and Gay Association) #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 186

Folder 187

Orange County Democratic Party #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 187

Folder 188

Pension #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 188

Folder 189

"Politics Public and Private: the Emergence of Gay Activism in North Carolina, 1972-1984," Senior Honors Thesis by Marc Garfinkel, 1988 #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 189

Folder 190

Chapel Hill Preservation Society #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 190

Folder 191

Chapel Hill Public Library #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 191

Folder 192

San Jorge #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 192

Materials relating Herzenberg's trip to San Jorge, Nicaragua, as part of Chapel Hill's first delegation sent to a new sister city community, 1990.

Folder 193

"Significance Report: Chapel Hill Historic District" #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 193

Folder 194

Stonewall Supper #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 194

Folder 195

Town Council: AIDS #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 195

Folder 196

Town Council: Gay Rights Legislation #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 196

Folder 197

Town Council: Tree Protection Board, 1993 #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 197

Folder 198

Town Council: San Jorge Sister City Project, 1990 #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 198

Folder 199

Triangle Alliance #05367, Series: "3. Subject Files, 1883-2005." Folder 199

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Photographs, 1942-2006.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: by subject and date.

Childhood photographs of Herzenberg's parents; photographs of Herzenberg throughout his life; photographs of school, social, and political events; photographs of other individuals; and photographs of Herzenberg's cat and home. See Series 3. Subject Files for other photographs.

Image Folder 1-7

Imagefolder 1

Imagefolder 2

Imagefolder 3

Imagefolder 4

Imagefolder 5

Imagefolder 6

Imagefolder 7

#05367, Series: "4. Photographs, 1942-2006." 1-7

Joe Herzenberg

Oversize Image Folder 1

School photograph, undated #05367, Series: "4. Photographs, 1942-2006." 1

Image Folder 8

#05367, Series: "4. Photographs, 1942-2006." 8

Photographs depicting individuals and Herzenberg's house, yard, and cat. Herzenberg does not appear in these photographs.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Other materials, 1907-2005.

About 30 items.

Awards received by Herzenberg, his political pin collection, college class notes, his parents' marriage certificate, and other items.

Folder 200-211

Folder 200

Folder 201

Folder 202

Folder 203

Folder 204

Folder 205

Folder 206

Folder 207

Folder 208

Folder 209

Folder 210

Folder 211

Other materials #05367, Series: "5. Other materials, 1907-2005." Folder 200-211

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Processing Information

Processed by: Joyce Chapman, January 2008

Encoded by: Joyce Chapman, January 2008

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