LGBT History Project: LGBT-037 John Folby Collection

Items from LGBT-037 John Folby Collection
Number of Pages: 
1980 - 2009

John Folby was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The eldest of five children, Folby was raised in a “very strict Roman Catholic, Irish-Italian family.” At age twenty-five, he relocated to Harrisburg with his partner. Shortly after moving to Harrisburg, Folby became heavily involved in the local gay community, beginning with his work on the Harrisburg Gay Switchboard. He also joined a group for gay Catholics, Dignity/Central PA, which better integrated him into the gay community with trips to New York City for the annual Gay Pride parade and introductions to the gay bar scene in Harrisburg.

With the influx of HIV/AIDS in the gay community, Folby began his twenty-five-year career with the Department of Welfare where he ran the Special Pharmaceutical Benefits Program (SPBP), Pennsylvania’s version of an AIDS Drug Assistance program for people living with HIV/AIDS. Folby, with the help of his supervisor, was able to parlay this civil servant position into one of advocacy. Due to lack of government funding, Folby was frequently forced to think creatively and economically to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and get the word out about HIV/AIDS medications, such as AZT. Folby became an advocate inside the system.

This collection contains the personal and governmental activism of John Folby. Items represent local, state, national, and international HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

Gift of John Folby
LGBT-037 John Folby Collection
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections