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Finding Aid to the People vs. Owen Bathhouse Closure Litigation Records, 1984-1987
SFH 31  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Court documents and other records related to the case People of the State of California, ex rel. George Agnost, et al. vs. Ima Jean Owen, et al. (Superior Court No. 830-321), aka People vs. Owen, filed October 10, 1984, by San Francisco City Attorney George Agnost and Director of Public Health Mervyn Silverman, in an effort to close fourteen bathhouses, sex clubs, bookstores, and adult movie theaters by claiming them to be a public nuisance, in response to the burgeoning AIDS epidemic.
Background
The court case People of the State of California, ex rel. George Agnost, et al. vs. Ima Jean Owen, et al. (Superior Court No. 830-321), aka People vs. Owen, filed Oct. 10, 1984 by San Francisco City Attorney George Agnost and Director of Public Health Mervyn Silverman, documents the efforts of the San Francisco Department of Public Health to close fourteen bathhouses, sex clubs, bookstores, and adult movie theaters by claiming them to be a public nuisance, as a response to the then-new knowledge of sexual methods of AIDS transmission. More broadly, the case positions San Francisco in a local and ultimately national public debate over AIDS–related policies in the 1980s, in which city officials, community activists, and private citizens struggle with the relationship between public health and gay civil rights.
Extent
1 carton (1.0 cubic feet)
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
Availability
The collection is open for research. Please call the San Francisco History Center for hours and information at 415-557-4567.