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Commercial Closet, AdRespect, and Michael Wilke LGBT Advertising Archive

Call Number



1975-2017, inclusive


Wilke, Michael


19.5 Linear Feet in 18 record cartons, 1 manuscript box, and 1 oversize flat box
1 websites in 1 archived website.

Language of Materials

Materials primarily in English, with some videos and publications in German, French, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, Thai, Filipino, Japanese, Hebrew, Chinese, Croatian, Polish, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Greek, Cantonese, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Malay, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Korean, and Turkish.


Founded in 2001, the Commercial Closet Association, renamed AdRespect, began as a way to track and document lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) themed advertisements globally. Michael Wilke, the founding executive director of the Commercial Closet Association, has researched and written about LGBT issues in advertising for over twenty years. The print and media publications' series consists of mostly earmarked magazines and newspaper articles that were a part of Michael Wilke and the Commercial Closet Association's research ranging from 1975-2017. The archived website contains a database of video and print advertisements rated by AdRespect dating back to 1917.

Biographical Note

Michael Wilke has researched and documented the marketing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) themed advertisements as a business journalist and nonprofit leader since 1992. Wilke is the founding executive director of the Commercial Closet Association, which began in New York City in May 2001. The Commercial Closet Association, now renamed AdRespect, continues its mission to promote "advertising that respects diversity, gender identity/expression, and sexual orientation for a more accepting society and better business results." Wilke studied journalism at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and earned a masters of marketing at Zicklin Business School of Baruch College-City University of New York. Previously, he worked as a business reporter at Advertising Age and has written about LGBT advertising and media for The New York Times, Adweek, Brandweek, The Advocate, Haymarket's Revolution marketing magazine, and Inside Media. He received the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award and was one of OUT Magazine's OUT 100 in 2001. Wilke has served as an advertising judge for the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards, a Crain Lecturer at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and was a Hearst Professional in Residence fellowship at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Organized into two series: Series I: Print and Media Publications; Series II: Archived Website. The materials in Series I are arranged chronologically and by publication title.

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the efforts of the Commercial Closet Association to collect and analyze domestic and international print and media advertisements that engage the LGBT community in positive and negative ways. The collection is comprised of two series: print and media publications and photographs. The print and media publications' series consists of mostly earmarked magazines and newspaper articles that were a part of Michael Wilke and the Commercial Closet Association's research ranging from 1975-2017. Major publications included within this series include Pride, Passport, Out, Outtraveler, Attitude, The Advocate, Genre, and The New York Times.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers. Appointments are necessary for the use of manuscript and archival collections.

Conditions Governing Use

NYU's Fales Library & Special Collections is not the copyright owner for this collection. Collection use is subject to all copyright laws. Researchers wishing to reproduce collection material should contact rights holders for permission.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Commercial Closet, AdRespect, and Michael Wilke LGBT Advertising Archive; MSS 495; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University.

Location of Materials

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Michael Wilke in June 2017. The accession number associated with this gift is 2017.054.

In 2016, was selected by curators and captured through the use of Archive-It. Archive-It uses web crawling technology to capture websites at a scheduled time and displays only an archived copy, from the resulting WARC file, of the website.

Take Down Policy

Archived websites are made accessible for purposes of education and research. NYU Libraries have given attribution to rights holders when possible; however, due to the nature of archival collections, we are not always able to identify this information.

If you hold the rights to materials in our archived websites that are unattributed, please let us know so that we may maintain accurate information about these materials.

If you are a rights holder and are concerned that you have found material on this website for which you have not granted permission (or is not covered by a copyright exception under US copyright laws), you may request the removal of the material from our site by submitting a notice, with the elements described below, to the

Please include the following in your notice: Identification of the material that you believe to be infringing and information sufficient to permit us to locate the material; your contact information, such as an address, telephone number, and email address; a statement that you are the owner, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed and that you have a good-faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; a statement that the information in the notification is accurate and made under penalty of perjury; and your physical or electronic signature. Upon receiving a notice that includes the details listed above, we will remove the allegedly infringing material from public view while we assess the issues identified in your notice.


In 2023 Series II: Photographs was deaccessioned and returned to the donor. These photographs were personal and not intended to be included in the initial donation.

Collection processed by

Samantha Houck

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 17:03:40 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid written in English

Processing Information

At the time of accessioning materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Original caption information, when available, was transcribed onto folders. Print and media publication titles and dates were written onto folders. Michael Wilke's photographs were grouped and accompanied with index card descriptions which the archivist transcribed onto the folders.

In 2023, administrative and descriptive information for the archived website was updated and personal photographs were deaccessioned and returned to the donor.

Revisions to this Guide

February 2023: Edited by Nicole Greenhouse to add updated descriptive and administrative information for the archived website
June 2023: Updated by Anna Björnsson McCormick to record deaccessions.


Fales Library and Special Collections
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012