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Lambda Archives preserves LGBTQIA history in San Diego, surrounding areas

Lambda Archive
Posted at 12:42 PM, Jul 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 12:22:01-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – If you don't know it's there, you might miss it.

"I think Lambda Archives is one of the best-kept secrets in San Diego. It really is an embarrassment of riches," Nicole Verdes, Lambda Archives Board President, said.

But tucked away in a building in University Heights is Lambda Archives. It's a carefully curated collection with a straightforward mission.

"To really safeguard the history of the queer community in San Diego and Northern Baja and Imperial County region," Verdes said.

Lambda was started in 1987 by a man named Jess Jeesup in his apartment.

"He was a nurse by trade and known to be a very gentle soul," she said. But when the aids crisis began to worsen, he was known as an activist and was known as a very fierce activist and advocate for gay rights and LGBTQ+ rights."

Jessup was eventually diagnosed with AIDS, but before his death, he began a mission that continues to this day.

"He started collecting papers, photographs, things like that of people that were dying because he knew that would be important to save, and that's actually how lambda got started," Verde said.

Over the years, the archive has grown to include things like protest posters, clothing, books and photographs. Pretty much anything that might help tell the rich history of the local queer community.

"It gives younger generations an ability to see these stories and access those histories and things like that," she said. "So it's important to preserve and share it out with the public."

To learn more about the Lambda Archive is open to the public but does require people to make an appointment. For more information on donating, volunteering, or making an appointment visit lambdaarchives.org.