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Bonnie Tinker Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG5-290

Scope and Contents

The papers were separated into four groups, following Bonnie Tinker's labels:

  1. Series 1: Papers, drafts, letters, resources that pertain to what Tinker labeled "Lesbian and Gay Families" and mostly concern the making of the video, "Love Makes a Family."
  2. Series 2: Miscellaneous personal documents, including correspondences, addresses, writings on marriage, and conferences for lesbian and gay friends
  3. Series 3: Opening Hearts and Minds workshop papers and workbook
  4. Series 4: Quaker Gatherings


  • Creation: 1963-2009


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

The collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce items in this collection beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns. See

Biographical / Historical

Bonnie Jeanne Tinker was born on May 26, 1948 in Boone, Iowa. She was a social activist who campaigned against war and domestic violence, but she is best known for her work for gay and lesbian rights. Her activism started long before her adulthood; her family won the Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines School Board, which reaffirmed students’ rights of free speech and to wear black arm bands in protest of the Vietnam War.

In 1972, Bonnie Tinker worked with Quakers to open the Prescott House, a shelter for women. From 1975 to 1979, she was the founding director of the Bradley-Angle House, a shelter for battered women, and she was the first chairperson of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She was the director of Love Makes a Family, a nonprofit group which she founded in 1992 in Portland, OR, that advocated for non-traditional families, especially gay and lesbian families and transracial families. Bonnie Tinker also produced a video called “Love Makes a Family” in 1992.

Most of her later adult life was focused on her work to combat the marriage inequality and anti-homosexual sentiments within the Quaker and larger community. She and her partner, Sara Graham, had three children: Josh, Connie, and Alex. In 2004, Sara and Bonnie were legally married in a Quaker ceremony before the marriages were revoked. Bonnie Tinker died at the age of 61 in a bicycle accident in Blacksburg, Virginia, while attending Friends General Conference Gathering.


4 Linear Feet (8 boxes)




Bonnie Tinker (1948-2009) was a Quaker social activist who campaigned for peace and gay and lesbian right. This collection contains drafts and correspondences concerning the movie "Love Makes a Family" (1992) produced by Bonnie Tinker. The collection also contains personal papers, fundraising for the project, and reference material on non-traditional forms of family.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sara Graham

Accession No.: FHL.2013.036 and FHL.2014.005

Related Materials

See Friends Historical Library for a copy of "Love makes a family: lesbian and gay families within the Religious Society of Friends" (1992).

Separated Materials

VHS tapes and cassettes removed to FHL AV Collection.

Bonnie Tinker Papers
FHL staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Find It at the Library

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