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Detailed Record


AIDS Collection

AIDS Collection

Physical Description

3,7 cm of textual records. – 7 posters.



Biographical Sketch / Administrative History

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) activism began in the early 1980’s when the disease was first discovered and beginning to be understood. AIDS activism took many cultural forms, including the creation of artworks, fundraisers and other benefits. In Canada, John A. Schweitzer, both an artist and art collector, was an early leader in AIDS activism, holding the first AIDS benefit auction in Canada, Art against AIDS, in 1986. In 1990 he chaired An AIDS Benefit for Actors in Montréal and in 1994 he founded The John A. Schweitzer Foundation, a private trust in support of visual artists with AIDS. He often spoke out on the subject in interviews, at conferences, and in other public forums. Additionally, he collaborated with and exhibited works by Robert Mapplethorpe, a well-known contemporary visual artist who suffered from the disease. (From Epstein, S. (1996). Impure science: AIDS, activism, and the politics of knowledge. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press and the

Scope and Content

The fonds includes a collection of AIDS activism materials, with an emphasis on its manifestation in Canada’s visual art world, through the collections of Mr. John A. Schweitzer and others. Several of the documents have been signed by either John A. Schweitzer or Robert Mapplethorpe. The materials in the collection include posters, press releases, conference programs, exhibition catalogues, exhibition invitations, exhibition ephemera, programs, brochures, tear-sheets, auction catalogues, and reviews.

Finding Aids

Complete online inventory list available.

Custodial History

The fonds was founded through donations by Mr. John A. Schweitzer and others to the Osler Library in June 2010.


The documents are in English and French.

Source of Supplied Title Proper

Title based on the documents in the fonds.

Retrieval Number




AIDS (Disease)