Skip to main content

Sean Strub papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1781

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of direct mail samples, printed material, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia and ephemera, writings, and computer and audiovisual media documenting the work and life of gay rights activist, publisher, and entrepreneur Sean Strub. Correspondents include Edward Albee, John Berendt, Richard Berkowitz, Michael Callen, Martin Delaney, Geraldine Ferraro, Ed Koch, Larry Kramer, Mathilde Krim, Torie Osborn, Vito Russo, Joseph Sonnabend, Peter Staley, Gerry Studds, Gore Vidal, Evelyn C. White, and Elie Wiesel, as well as Strub's business partner Stephen Gendin, CEO of Community Prescription Service and Executive Vice President of POZ Publishing. The collection contains records of Strubco and direct marketing campaigns for politicians, gay rights organizations, and HIV/AIDS activist groups; printed material, photographs, t-shirts, and other papers related to POZ, POZ en Español, MAMM, and POZ health forums; administrative and reference files for Community Prescription Service and Infopack; and papers concerning Strub's work on HIV decriminalization. Also present are materials related to the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Strub's 1990 Congressional campaign, his memoir Body Counts, "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me," and writings of Gendin and others on HIV and AIDS.


  • 1908-2015
  • Majority of material found within 1986 - 2000


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Boxes 59-60 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 61-63 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sean Strub Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2017.


Organized into four series: I. Professional Papers, 1982-2013, undated. II. Correspondence, 1970-2015. III. Personal Papers, 1908-2014. IV. Computer and Audiovisual Media, 1993-2002, undated.


48.01 Linear Feet (63 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection consists of direct mail samples, printed material, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia and ephemera, writings, and computer and audiovisual media documenting the work and life of gay rights activist, publisher, and entrepreneur Sean Strub.

Sean O'Brien Strub (1958-)

Sean O’Brien Strub is an activist, author, and publisher who pioneered direct marketing and mailing techniques to fundraise on behalf of gay rights organizations and progressive Democratic politicians. He founded the direct marketing firms Metamorphics Media and Strubco in the early 1980s and formed the Strub Media Group in 1990. Strub worked mainly as a political consultant until he discovered he was HIV-positive in 1985 and turned his professional focus to AIDS activism and education. Strub was the first openly gay man to run for Congress in 1990. In 1991, he and Stephen Gendin founded Community Prescription Service (CPS), a mail-order business that filled prescriptions for FDA-approved drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and assisted patients with insurance claims; CPS also produced Infopack, a newsletter reporting on drug research and approvals. In 1994, Strub and Gendin launched POZ, a lifestyle magazine for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, followed by POZ en Español and MAMM, a magazine covering breast cancer. Strub was executive editor and publisher of POZ until 2004. As an activist, he was a longtime member of ACT-UP/New York, and in 1992 he produced "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me," a play by David Drake that addressed the AIDS crisis in New York in the 1980s. Strub published Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival in 2014. Publications he co-wrote include Rating America's Corporate Conscience (1987) and Cracking the Corporate Closet (1995). Strub is currently executive director of the Sero Project, which seeks to end criminal prosecution of people living with HIV. He was also briefly president and CEO of Cable Positive, a group dedicated to raising AIDS awareness on television, and served on the board of directors of the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS from 2009 to 2012.

Strub was born in Iowa in 1958 to Janey and Carl Strub, and he attended Georgetown University and Columbia University. Strub and his partner, Xavier Morales, live in Milford, Pennsylvania and New York City.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization. Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Sean Strub Papers
by Brooke McManus
October 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.