Allan Ronald Bérubé



Allan Ronald Bérubé (December 3, 1946 – December 11, 2007) was an American historian, activist, independent scholar, self-described "community-based" researcher and college drop-out, and award-winning author, best known for his research and writing about homosexual members of the American Armed Forces during World War II. He also wrote essays about the intersection of class and race in gay culture, and about growing up in a poor, working-class family, his French-Canadian roots, and about his experience of anti-AIDS activism. Among Bérubé's published works was the 1990 book Coming Out Under Fire, which examined the stories of gay men and women in the U.S. military between 1941 and 1945. The book used interviews with gay veterans, government documents, and other sources to discuss the social and political issues that faced over 9,000 servicemen and women during World War II. The book earned Bérubé the Lambda Literary Award for outstanding Gay Men's Nonfiction book of 1990 and was later adapted as a film in 1994, narrated by Salome Jens and Max Cole, with a screenplay by Bérubé and the film's director, Arthur Dong. The film received a Peabody Award for excellence in documentary media in 1995.

Bérubé received a MacArthur Fellowship (often called the "genius grant") from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1996. He received a Rockefeller grant from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in 1994 to research a book on the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union, and he was working on this book at the time of his death. The records of Bérubé's life and work are preserved by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, of which he was a founding member. Bérubé donated the research and administrative files of his World War II Project to the society in 1995, with an accretion in 2000 (collection no. 1995-16). That collection is processed and open to researchers; a finding aid is available on the Web at the Online Archive of California. Bérubé also donated the records of the Forget-Me-Nots (collection no. 1989-10), an affinity group of which he was a member; the group performed civil disobedience at the United States Supreme Court during the 1987 Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, with each participant protesting in honor of an individual who had died of AIDS. Starting in 1979, Bérubé was interviewed about his work in publications including Time (magazine), The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Advocate, Christopher Street (magazine), Gay Community News (Boston), and The San Francisco Examiner.

His many radio and television appearances included interviews by Studs Terkel, Sonia Freedman on CNN, and two by Terry Gross on National Public Radio's Fresh Air. Bérubé was twice elected Trustee, Village of Liberty, Liberty, NY, 2003 and 2005. Bérubé also donated the records of the Forget-Me-Nots (collection no. 1989-10), an affinity group of which he was a member; the group performed civil disobedience at the United States Supreme Court during the 1987 Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, with each participant protesting in honor of an individual who had died of AIDS. Following Bérubé's death, the executors of his estate donated his complete personal and professional papers to the Historical Society in 2010. Preliminary processing of those papers is underway as of fall 2010; the records will not be open to researchers until processing is complete and a finding aid is prepared.

A number of other collections of personal papers and organizational records at the GLBT Historical Society also include correspondence from Bérubé and other material documenting his work; details are available by searching the society's online catalog of manuscript collections.