Jim Graham papers
Collection Scope and Content
This collection contains distinct portions of records created by Jim Graham that is in three series. The first series concerns his work as Executive Director of the Whitman/Walker Clinic. These records include files of Jim Graham, constitution and by-laws for Whitman-Walker Clinic, correspondence, financial records, photographs, videocassettes, audio cassette tapes, executive meeting minutes, annual reports and other publications of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, publications and materials of other AIDS-related organizations, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, brochures, conference publications, property information, posters, and buttons related to Whitman-Walker events. The second series relates to Graham's work as a member of the District of Columbia Council and records of his work in the city. The third series contains additional Whitman/Walker materials, as well has some overlapping materials from Graham's tenure on City Council. A portion of the third series is personal material and other documents from Graham's early career as a lawyer, Senate aid, and university instructor. Additional donations were added to the collection in 2015 and 2018.
- Creation: 1961-2015
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1983-2014
- Graham, Jim (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Restrictions on Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
James Graham (August 26, 1945 - June 11, 2017) served as a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, representing Ward One, from 1999 to 2015. While on the Council, he was known for revitalizing the Columbia Heights neighborhood and the U Street Corridor. He also worked to protect affordable housing and tenants’ rights in Ward One. Graham served on a number of Committees and other organizations as part of his Council service. Notably, he was on the Board for the Washington Area Metropolitan Transportation Authority (WMATA). He won re-election three times in 2002, 2006, and 2010, but was defeated in the 2014 Primary by Brianne Nadeau.
Born in Scotland, Graham and his family immigrated to the United States when he was a child. He became a U.S. Citizen in his late teens. He attended the University of Michigan Law School, and later served as a clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. After Warren’s death, he worked for the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. Graham also was an instructor for at least two Washington, DC institutions—Georgetown University and George Washington University. He taught courses related to law and government.
Prior to his election to DC Council, he served as the Executive Director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic from 1984-1999. Much of the Clinic's success can be attributed to Graham's high-profile leadership and tireless advocacy. In 1998, Graham was appointed to a three-year term on the first Board of Trustees of the new George Washington University Hospital.
In addition to his service to the Whitman-Walker Clinic, Graham was a member of many other AIDS-affiliated organizations. Since 1983, he was a member of the D.C. AIDS Task Force, a member of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Action Council and the National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation. His advocacy of AIDS research led to membership on the Coalition for Consumers Health and Safety, the Advisory Committee of the Washington AIDS Partnership, and the Advisory Board of Concerned Citizens on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Inc., a project of the Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church. He also held the positions of Treasurer and Board Member for the National AIDS Network.
Graham's work with AIDS took him to Poland and Thailand, as well as to numerous national and international conferences. In 1989, he was invited to Krakow, Poland to discuss the gay community's response to AIDS at an HIV conference sponsored by Project Hope, the World Health Organization, and the Polish Ministry of Health. In 1991, he traveled to Thailand where he was able to gain another glimpse at the international state of AIDS.
The mission of the Whitman-Walker Clinic is ". . .a non-profit community-based health organization serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. Established by and for the gay and lesbian community, the clinic is comprised of diverse volunteers and staff who provide or facilitate the delivery of high quality, comprehensive, accessible health care and community services. Whitman-Walker Clinic is especially committed to ending the suffering of all those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS."
In 1973 five men, known as the Gay Men's Venereal Disease Task Force, organized in response to the growing number of sexually transmitted diseases affecting gay men. They formed the Gay Men's VD Clinic (GMVDC) and affiliated themselves with the Washington Free Clinic to provide a place where gay men could receive testing and treatment. The success of the clinic in meeting the needs of gay men prompted its leaders to expand the scope of their services to include a wider range of health care services for gay men and lesbians. The GMVDC separated from the Washington Free Clinic in 1977 and in 1978 the Whitman-Walker Clinic was officially created.
The Whitman-Walker Clinic was named after Dr. Mary Walker and poet Walt Whitman, two individuals who volunteered their services to care for the wounded during the American Civil War. The Clinic's intent was to continue the tradition of providing volunteer health care services to those in need. The official charter states that the goals of the Whitman-Walker Clinic are to establish, develop, and operate in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area a nonprofit health service to promote the prevention and eradication of illnesses and diseases among gay people. The Clinic's first operating office was located at 1606 17th Street, NW. Over the next decade the services provided by the Whitman-Walker Clinic expanded in response to the growing needs of the gay community, and eventually to the needs of the larger society as a whole, as the AIDS epidemic spread throughout the general population.
In 1980, in response to growing financial difficulties the Clinic moved to a space on 18th Street in Adams Morgan. In 1987, the Whitman-Walker Clinic moved its location to a larger space on 14th and S Streets. The services it provided continued to grow, in particular into the areas of suburban Virginia and Maryland. The Whitman-Walker Clinic began to focus more on providing AIDS-related services and programs emphasizing education, prevention, and early testing for the HIV/AIDS virus were steadily developed as the Clinic moved into the 1990's. The Whitman-Walker Clinic has grown into one of the most respected AIDS service and gay and lesbian health organizations in the nation.
Jim Graham passed away due to complications from an infection on June 11, 2017. He was 71 years old. As a former Councilmember, his body lay in repose during a viewing in the John A. Wilson City Hall Building.
80 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Records include personal files of Jim Graham from both his time as a member of the DC Council, as well as materials created during his early career and post-Council, and constitution and by-laws for Whitman-Walker Clinic, correspondence, financial records, photographs, videocassettes, audio cassette tapes, executive meeting minutes, annual reports and other publications of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, publications and materials of other AIDS-related organizations, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, brochures, conference publications, property information, posters, and buttons related to Whitman-Walker events.
Organized into three series: Jim Graham/Whitman Walker Clinic records, Jim Graham/D.C. Council records, and Personal papers
Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.
Donated by Jim Graham in three accessions. One in 1999, one in 2007, and the most recent in 2015. Graham passed away in 2017 and his estate made a donation in 2018, which was incorporated into this collection.
Genre / Form
- Guide to the Jim Graham papers, 1961-2015
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English