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NAMES Project: AIDS Memorial Quilt, Boston Chapter : Records, 1987-1991


4 file boxes


This collection was donated to the University of Massachusetts at Boston Archives in October 1991 by Susan von Salis, archivist of the Boston Chapter of the NAMES Project/AIDS Memorial Quilt.


The NAMES Project: AIDS Memorial Quilt is a memorial to those who have died of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Begun on a small scale in 1987 in San Francisco, the quilt contains thousands of three by six feet panels, each hand-made by friends or families of people who died of AIDS. There are NAMES Project chapters in hundreds of cities and regions throughout the United States; the New England Chapter was founded in late 1987. Because other chapters were developing within the New England area, the New England Chapter changed its name to the Boston Chapter at the April 5, 1989 general meeting.

Chapters sponsor local displays, conduct educational workshops about the quilt and about AIDS, host "quilting bees" to assist panelmakers to create panels, and raise funds to assist People with AIDS (PWAs). The quilt's tripartite mission is: to reveal the names and lives behind the statistics, to build a symbol of remembrance and hope, and to raise funds.

The New England Chapter began with seven committees: Direct Services; Quilting; Fundraising/Development/Merchandise; Outreach/Education/Regional; Media; Volunteers/Support Services; and Displays. The committees changed slightly in name and function from 1988-1989; the direct services committee disbanded in early 1989, ending a long debate about the chapter's mission.

As of August 1991, the Boston Chapter is organized into five standing committees: Administration/Volunteers; Media; Fundraising; Logistics; and Education, Outreach and Panelmaking. Ad Hoc committees are sometimes formed and disbanded as the need arises (e.g. 1989 Washington, D.C. display committee and 1990 display Ceremonies Committee). The organization is administered by a steering committee consisting of two co-coordinators elected from the general membership, the Treasurer, two representatives from each committee, and a liaison to the NAMES Fund. The NAMES Fund was founded after the 1988 display in Boston so that the NAMES Project would not be embroiled in conflicts about the distribution of funds raised at displays.

Scope and Content

The collection includes agendas, minutes, and notes from general and steering committee meetings, and notes, contact lists, correspondence, videotapes, and other records collected by the chapter's five working committees, the co-coordinators, and the treasurer. There are also programs, photographs, and clippings about specific displays; press releases, correspondence, and other material from the national organization (San Francisco) and its displays; and general clippings about the NAMES Project. The collection is divided into thirteen series as follows:

  • I. Corporation papers
  • II. Co-coordinators
  • III. Steering committee meeting minutes and agendas
  • IV. General meeting minutes and agendas
  • V. Treasurer


  • VI. Fundraising
  • VII. Logistics
  • VIII. Media
  • IX. Outreach, Education, and Panel Making
  • X. Volunteer
  • XI. Major displays
  • XII. National NAMES Project, San Francisco