A RI LGBTQ History Collection Newly Digitized

March 11, 2024
We are excited to announce that the Kim Deacon Collection photographs are now digitized and available to the public on provlibdigital.org!
Kim donated materials in 2021 to the RI LGBTQ+ Community Archives at Providence Public Library.  Her collection documents the Kings & Queen Bar in Woonsocket, R.I. as well as the LGBT community in Rhode Island from the 1970s-early 2000s. Kings & Queens was a gay bar at 285 Front Street in Woonsocket in operation from 1977-2002. It was opened by Rita Paux (1922-2015) and operated by Kim Deacon (1951- ) from that time until it closed in 2002.

Kim Deacon is a lifelong resident of Woonsocket, R.I. She is a community activist, martial arts instructor and was the long-time manager of the Kings & Queens, Kim and Rita Paux were close friends and chosen family members after meeting. Rita called Kim her daughter and Kim referred to Rita as her “step-father”. Together, the two women created a safe haven for members of the LGBTQ+ community to express themselves. Kings & Queens included a bar and small dance floor. During her time operating the bar, Kim increasingly added annual events and holiday parties, fundraisers, and drag shows as well as regularly scheduled evenings for live entertainment, karaoke, darts, card games, and movie nights. In addition, she created social opportunities for LGBTQ+ people including bowling, softball and flag football leagues, bi-annual picnics at Lincoln Woods and seasonal roller skating nights at a local rink.

The bulk of Kim’s full collection includes photographs and videos, but additional clippings, event calendars and ephemera are also included. While over 650 photographs are now digitized, the other materials are available to be viewed at PPL. The images represent the bar as a gay social space and include events such as holiday parties, drag shows and fundraisers as well as events for the LGBT community sponsored by the bar including bi-annual picnics, roller skating nights and leagues for softball, bowling, flag football and darts.  We are so excited to have her photographs described and available online for people to reminisce about their own time at K&Q with friends or to learn about LGBTQ local history.
If you have interest in donating your own collections to the RI LGBTQ+ Community Archives, please contact Kate Wells, Curator of Rhode Island Collections, at kwells@provlib.org.