Biographical Note


Inventory   [ + ]

Subject Terms

Guide to the Don Paulson Papers

Accession No.: 5354
Creator: Paulson, Don , creator
Title: Don Paulson papers
Date Span: 1939-2006
Quantity: 21.21 cubic feet (31 boxes, 2 oversize folders, 2 vertical files)
Languages: Collection materials are in English.

Biographical Note

Don Paulson, an artist and author in the greater Seattle area, was born in Seattle in 1933. Paulson attended Auburn High School, then served for two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He lived in New York and Los Angeles for short periods but returned to Seattle in 1966 and devoted himself to painting. Paulson, a contributor to the Seattle Gay News, formed a friendship with Skippy LaRue, whose photo and clipping collection on female impersonators led Paulson to write about the topic. Specifically interested in female impersonators who performed at the Garden of Allah nightclub in Seattle, he collaborated with University of Washington communications professor Roger Simpson on the book, An Evening at the Garden of Allah: A Gay Cabaret in Seattle (Columbia University Press, 1996), for which they won the Governor's Writers Award in 1997. Paulson used the nickname "Dawn" among his friends, and he used "Whitey Boom" as an alias in connection with painting.

Paulson was a member of Black and White Men Together, a gay interracial organization committed to fostering supportive environments and overcoming racial and cultural barriers. BWMT/Seattle participated in educational, political, cultural, and social activities as a means of addressing racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and heterosexism in the community.


Arranged into 5 accessions:

  • Accession no. 5354-001, Don Paulson papers, 1954-2002
  • Accession no. 5354-002, Don Paulson papers, 1944-2003, undated
  • Accession no. 5354-003, Don Paulson papers, 1950-2003
  • Accession no. 5354-004, Don Paulson papers, 1939-2006
  • Accession no. 5354-005, Don Paulson papers, 1970-1999


Accession No. 5354-001
Don Paulson Papers, 1954-2002
7.63 cubic ft. (11 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Physical Access
Includes 12-inch, 33 1/3 rpm long-playing (LP) records; compact discs, audio cassettes; and 1/2-inch, VHS videocassettes.
Scope and Content
The Paulson papers are comprised of textual materials, sound recordings, videocassettes, programs, handbills, and sheet music relating to Paulson's life as an artist in the Seattle area, his friendships with other gay men, and his research on female impersonators, notably those who performed at the Seattle cabaret, the Garden of Allah, in the 1950s. The collection is organized into three subgroups. The Evening at the Garden of Allah subgroup contains incoming letters, subject files, clippings, handbills, programs, ephemera, audio interviews with performers and patrons of the theater, miscellaneous audio and video recordings, and other material relating to the research and publicity for the 1996 book, An Evening at the Garden of Allah: A Gay Cabaret in Seattle. Most of the informants that Paulson interviewed are no longer living. Correspondents include Billy DeVoe and Harvey W. Goodwin. Interviewees include Harvey Lee, Billy DeVoe, and Robin Raye.
Materials in the Seattle Black and White Men Together (BWMT) subgroup include notes and minutes from Don Paulson's term as secretary, newsletters and promotional materials for BWMT, and regional/national convention materials. The Personal Papers subgroup includes biographical information, correspondence, posters, drawings, notes, clippings, and ephemera. Skippy LaRue's clipping collection about female impersonators is also included. Correspondents include Bruce Pitcairn Strachan, Joel Salsman, Rev. Keith D. Davis, John Franklin Koenig, Dennis Meurer, Tim S. Nolan, Terry Nordyke, Diane Scott, Daryl Stipek, and Elizabeth Wight.
Terms of Access
The collection is open to the public.
Archival copies of the sound recordings are not available for listening.
Terms of Use
Paulson's and Skippy LaRue's rights were transferred to the University of Washington Libraries. Interviews for the book, An Evening in the Garden of Allah may be copied and quoted.
Digital Content/Other Formats
Listening copies made from the archival originals are available for reference purposes.
Acquisition Info
Gift of Don Paulson, June 16, 2003.
Processing Info
Processed by Meredith Selfon.
Processing completed in 2004.
Most of the interviews originally recorded on audio cassettes were copied to CD by Michael Monteleone, and preservation CD copies of these were created by the University of Washington Music Library.

The photographs were relocated to the Don Paulson-Skippy LaRue Photograph Collection, PH Coll. 673, in the division in 2004.

Material Described Separately
Don Paulson and Skippy LaRue Photograph Collection (PH Coll 67)
An Evening at the Garden of Allah
Incoming Letters1989-2002
1/1Bachelor, Kenneth1993-1996
1/2-3Columbia University Press1992-2002
1/4DeVoe, Billy 1993-1997
General Notes: Also known as Dusin, Joseph W.
1/5Goodwin, Harvey Wy1990-1992
1/6Nielson, Sister Paula1990-1994
1/7Strachan, Bruce1989
1/8-13Miscellaneous, A-Z1989-2000, undated
1/15Outgoing Letters1991-1995
Interviews (Listening copies)1989-1995
Physical/Technical Access: Compact discs.
101Arbicore, Richard1989
103Bates, Jim1993
104Bee, Kenny1993
Scope and Content: Concerning Ray Bourbon.
105Blair, Stephen R.1993
106Brown, Dorothy undated
108Brown, Wanda Leslie1989
1036Buerge, Oleundated
1032Calley, Jimmy 1989
109Carpervie, John1990
1010Carter, Bob1991
1011Chew, Jimmy1989
1019Dempsy, Markundated
1012DeVoe, Billy1990
1016Donnelly, Chet1989
1017Dorneck, Dee1993
1018Drake, Kim1993
1020Estelle, Countess1989
General Notes: Also known as Herb Wolky.
102Freeman, Dri 1993
1022Gerlach, Jim1989
107Hanson, Hal undated
1025Jacomi, Robey 1989
1026Kelsey, Rita1989
1027Kemp, Jose1995
1028Kempner, Jim 1993
1030King, Kittyundated
1031Knutson, Norman1990
1015LaRue, Skippy 1990
1040Lee, Harvey1990
1033Leonard, Leeundated
1034MacClaine, Billundated
1035Maser, Shirley1990
1038McFerrson, Bob1990
1056Miller, Annundated
1039Nass, Carmelita1990
1029Parkins, Bill1993
1042Plant, Bill1989
1013Raye, Robin1990
1014Reynolds, Ricky1990
1044Ross, Gerry1990
1045Star, Kitty1992
1037Thomas, Monaundated
1057Trent, Paulaundated
1061Whitehead, Mrs. Andersonundated
1047Wholey, Denisundated
1053Yentze, Audrey1990
Interviews (Listening copies)
Physical/Technical Access: Audio cassettes.
959Cordas, Jack1989
962Spencer, Walt 1990
963Wells, Alexundated
General Notes: [Also known as Jackie Star?]
8-9Interviews (Archival copies)
Physical/Technical Access: Audio cassettes.
Terms of Use: Researchers must use listening copies on CD.
4Interviews (Archival copies)
Physical/Technical Access: Compact discs.
Terms of Use: Researchers must use listening copies on CD.
Sound Recordings (Listening copies)
Physical/Technical Access: Compact discs.
1052Andy Warhol Auction1988
1051India, etc.undated
1048 PBS Late Night undated
1050Random TV Musicundated
1055Scandinavian Pieceundated
Sound Recordings (Listening copies)
Physical/Technical Access: Audio cassettes.
780A Shot of Ray Bourbon1997
765Advertisement for Book Warming1996
777AIDS Test Should Be Outlawed1996
775AMA Conspiracies1997
770Anthony - Fight in Barundated
779Bourbon, Ray, Around the World in 80 Ways ca. 1950
778Bourbon, Ray, Let Me Tell You About My Operation ca. 1950
769Conversation with Mark Dempsey undated
764Dan Savage Radio Showundated
774Fascism in Medicine1994
858Girl's Night at South End Bathsundated
768Mature Friends Talk1998
773New Faces of 1956undated
776Pluamorphic Pathologies1994
860South American Music and Star Musicundated
771 Talk of the Nation 2002
4Sound Recordings (Archival copies)
Physical/Technical Access: Compact discs.
Terms of Use: Researchers must use the use listening copies on CD.
9Sound Recordings (Archival copies)
Physical/Technical Access: Audio cassettes.
Terms of Use: Researchers must use the use listening copies on CD.
Long-playing (LP) Record Albums
Disc Recordings Box 3Bourbon, Ray, Around the World in 80 Ways ca. 1950
1 sound disc : analog, 33 1/3rpm, stereo. ; 12 in.
Disc Recordings Box 3Bourbon, Ray, Don't Call Me Madam ca. 1950
1 sound disc : analog, 33 1/3rpm, stereo. ; 12 in.
Disc Recordings Box 3Bourbon, Ray, Let Me Tell You About My Operation ca. 1950
1 sound disc : analog, 33 1/3rpm, stereo. ; 12 in.
Videocassette Recordings
7 Evening Magazine 1993
1 videocassette (VHS) ; 1/2 in.
7 Garden Variations undated
1 videocassette (VHS) ; 1/2 in.
7Reading/Book Party1996
1 videocassette (VHS) ; 1/2 in.
1/16Interview Releases1993
1/17Speeches and Writings1996-2000
1/18Conference on Outing Pacific Northwest History1998
1/19Garden of Allah Stage Play2000
1/20Pride Foundation1995
1/24Script: Garden of Allah Stage Play1999
1/27Handbills1958,1982-1991, undated
1/28Bulletins from the Awareness of Life Church/Theo Light Society, Renton, Wash.1989-1993
5Sheet Music1912-1928
1/29Hotcha Hinton Dirty Joke Notebookca. 1950
6Garden of Allah Building Fragmentsundated
1/30Promotional Buttonundated
Subject Series
1/31Goodwin, Harvey Wy1990-1992
1/32Governor's Writers Award1996-1997
1/33Herrero, Billy1990
Phillips, George
1/34Sing, Auundated
Black and White Men Together (BWMT), Seattle, Wash.1983-1991
1/36Minutes and Agenda1983-1986
1/37Event Notes1985-1986
Secretary's Notebook
1/38Steering Committee1985
1/39Social Activities1985
1/43Elections Committee1985
1/44Public Relationsundated
1/45Prison Outreach1985
1/48National Associationundated
Audio Cassettes
766National Association Convention Speeches1985
767Radio Show1985
1/49Writings of Others1984-1987
1/52Forms and Surveysundated
1/53Mailing Lists1986
1/55Black and White Men Together1979-1987
1/56Miscellaneous1986, undated
1/57 Pacific Coast Regional Network (in Seattle)1984
2/1-2Los Angeles BWMT1985
2/3Pacific Coast Regional Network1986
2/4 New York City BWMT1986
2/6Seattle BWMT1984-1988
2/7Other BWMT Chapters1984-1988
2/8National/International BWMT1984-1985
2/9Other Organizations1984-1991
2/10Autographed Leaflet1986
2/11Business Cardsundated
Subject Series
Patterson, John
Misc. Oversize Box 8Autographed Poster    OVERSIZE1986
2/15-16Discrimination Response System (DRS)1984-1986
Personal Papers1961-2002
2/17Biographical Features1988
Incoming Letters
2/18Davis, Keith Delane (Reverend)1963-1984
2/19Doyle, Philip John (P.J.)1979-1988
2/20Hagen, Carlos B.1975-1978
2/21Hanseroth, Fred and Bobbi1969-1985
2/22Koenig, John Franklin1961-1981
2/23Mahon, Constance (Connie)1966
2/24-25Meurer, Dennis1988-2001
2/26-27Nolan, Tim S. (Timothy Shawn)1969-1973, undated
2/28Nordyke, Terry (Terence)1966-1994
2/29Paulson, Mr. and Mrs. Ivan T.1971-1985
2/30Record, Leroy S. 1978-1986
2/31-36Salsman, Joel1963-1994, undated
2/37Scott, Diane1965-1978
2/38Septon, Ronald1971-1986
2/39-41Stipek, Daryl1968-1992
2/42-52Strachan, Bruce Pitcarin1970-1993, undated
Misc. Oversize Box 8Strachan, Bruce Pitcarin    OVERSIZE1977
2/53Wight, Elizabeth1975-1980
3/1-27Miscellaneous A-Zundated
3/28-32Invitations1967-2001, undated
3/33Greeting Cards1964-1997
3/34Bulk Mail1966-1974, undated
3/35Unidentified1964-1994, undated
3/36Outgoing Letters1964-1980, undated
3/37-39General Correspondence of Others, A-Zundated
Misc. Oversize Box 8Posters    OVERSIZE1969, undated
781Carlos Hagan, "Some Thoughts on Why One Becomes a Revolutionary"ca. 1970
1 audio cassette

Accession No. 5354-002
Don Paulson papers, 1944-2003, undated
3.85 cubic feet (6 boxes and 1 oversize folder)
General Notes
Minimally processed accession
Scope and Content
Photographs, manuscripts, biographical material and other writings, notes, souvenir programs and other publications, 135 audio recordings on cassette tapes and CD, 5 VHS videocassette tapes, clippings, and ephemera.
Acquisition Info
Donor: Don Paulson, June 30, 2009

Accession No. 5354-003
Don Paulson papers, circa 1950-2003
6.08 cubic feet (10 boxes)
General Notes
Minimally processed accession
Scope and Content
These materials are primarily comprised of journals, research files on the Brownell Homestead, records and history of the Lux Sit and Dance light show, interviews of Quentin Crisp, binders and scrapbooks on Paulson's art career and research, and correspondence between Paulson and his family, as well as correspondence between Paulson and Anne Gould Hauberg. Ca. 1950-2003.
Acquisition Info
Donor: Don Paulson, March 13, 2006

Accession No. 5354-004
Don Paulson Papers, 1939-2006
3.62 cubic feet (4 boxes plus 1 vertical file)
Arranged into 3 series:
  • Biographical Materials
  • Research Files
  • Miscellaneous
Arrangement and folder titles retained from donor.
Scope and Content
Audio recordings on cassette tapes and LP, DVDs, VHS tapes, clippings, notes, biographical materials, photographic materials, and manuscripts.
Acquisition Info
Donor: Fay Bengston, September 26, 2011.
Biographical Materials
1/11950 Invader (yearbook)1950
1/26th Infantry Division--G Company1953
1/3Army papers, etc.undated
1/4Buddies from the pastundated
1/5Don Paulson on The Factory (DVD)2006
1/6Interview with Skippy LaRue (VHS)undated
1/7Ongoing Art Careerundated
1/9-10School stuff1941-1949
1/12Very early artwork of Don Paulson1939-1949
1/13Wood carving--book plate1946
1/14Army photographs1953-1955
Research Files
2/1Garden of Allah (DVD)undated
2/2Gossip about Seattle society (audio cassette)2004
2/3-4Keith Milton Rhinehart (Aquarian) Foundationundated
2/5Misc. Zerox photo's of the Garden of Allahundated
2/6The Outlawundated
2/7Early Seattle gay bars--Pike Street Tavern (two audio LPs)undated
2/8-9Pioneer cabinsundated
2/10Porn: 1960 anonymous cartoons1960
2/11Surveillance tape in office at the South End steam baths Seattle (VHS)1998
2/12Vintage pornoundated
2/13Archeological siteundated
Archeological site    OVERSIZEundated
2/14Arlington Hotel-Archeological siteundated
2/15-17Early Seattle gay barsundated
Early Seattle gay bars    OVERSIZEundated
3/1-5Early Seattle gay barsundated
4Early Seattle gay bars (audio cassettes)undated
3/6Ideas for Seattle gay historyundated
3/7The last burlesque house in Seattle: Rivoli Theater 1951-1958undated
3/8-11Madame Peabodiesundated
3/12The Monastery1980s
3/13-14Seattle cruising places ca. 1930-1970undated
3/15Decoration 1st Ave Peep Showundated
It's a Lon Mabon Christmas Carol, Charlie Brown    OVERSIZEundated

Accession No. 5354-005
Don Paulson papers, circa 1970-1999
1 vertical file
General Notes
Minimally processed accession
Scope and Content
Posters and ephemera relating to AIDS, drag queens, and the general GLBTQ community. Ephemera in vertical file includes programs, show announcements, newsletters from Sister Paula Ministries (Portland, Oregon), clippings, and souvenir booklet from the Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle.
Acquisition Info
Donor: Don Paulson, donation date unknown
Processing Info
A large, oversize folder of posters was transferred to Visual Materials, January 2012.

Subject Terms

Personal Names:
Davis, Keith Delano.
DeVoe, Billy.
Goodwin, Harvey W.
Koenig, John Franklin, 1924-
LaRue, Skippy, collector.
Lee, Harvey.
Meurer, Dennis.
Nolan, Tim S. (Timothy Shawn)
Nordyke, Terry.
Paulson, Don--Archives.
Raye, Robin.
Salsman, Joel.
Scott, Diane.
Stipek, Daryl.
Strachan, Bruce Pitcairn.
Wight, Elizabeth.
Garden of Allah (Cabaret : Seattle, Wash.)
Geographic Names:
Seattle (Wash.)--Social life and customs--20th century.
Genre Headings:
Sound recordings.
Evening at the Garden of Allah: a gay cabaret in Seattle.
Female impersonators--Washington (State)--Seattle
Female impersonators--Washington (State)--Seattle--Interviews
Gay bars--Washington (State)--Seattle
Gay clubs--Washington (State)--Seattle
Gay men--Washington (State)--Seattle
Gay men--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.)--Washington (State)--Seattle
Arts and humanities
Gays and Lesbians
Performing Arts
Personal Papers/Corporate Records
Social and community history
Sound Recordings
Last modified: October 28, 2015
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