The Damron Address Book (now known as Damron Gay Men's Guide) has been the classic national gay travel guide since 1964.
The following information is from the Damron Inc. website:
In 1964, a businessman published a book of all the gay bars he knew from his constant travels across the United States. This book fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. Despite its petite size, this book was an impressive accomplishment. Each one of the listings he had visited himself. Every last copy of the book he sold himself. The name of this pioneering businessman: Bob Damron. Today, the Damron Men's Travel Guide (aka Damron Address Book) remains a bestseller. And it remains the model for the countless gay travel guides that have followed.
The Damron Company itself has also been through a lot of changes since 1964. The company has grown quite a bit, and since the early '90s has been headed up by President and Editor-in-Chief Gina Gatta. They publish four regular titles—the annual Men's Travel Guide and Women's Traveller, in addition to the sesquiannual Damron City Guide and Damron Accommodations. They also pioneered a city series with the publication of Damron Amsterdam in 1998.
It has been a struggle at times for Damron to maintain its position as "the first name in gay travel" over the past decade. Many straight-run competitors realized the value of the gay dollar and began courting gay consumers ferociously in the late '90s. Fortunately, the Damron name has remained a friendly face among a sea of newcomers. And they've also worked hard to keep up with the changing times: the Damron website and online searchable database are very popular; the editors are constantly researching and adding new info for more and more destinations around the globe; and they are always redefining—and re-designing—ourselves to let the world know that Damron is still here, still queer, and still the experts!
The 2009 issue of the Damron Men's Travel Guide contained over 12,000 listings of gay-friendly businesses in the US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, South America, Europe & Asia. It also included quick facts on everything the gay traveler on the go needs, including accommodations, bars, bookstores, gyms, restaurants, men's clubs and more, as well as a yearly calendar of film fests, circuit parties, leather and bear events, conferences, etc.
The increase in listing in the Bob Damron Guides can be illustrated by the following growth in the size of the publication fromm year to year:
Other competitors for gay travel guides have come and gone, but Damron continues to be "the source" for U.S. GLBT destinations. Notably, Damron has been a strong supporter of Milwaukee's PrideFest celebration, taking out regular full-page ads in many of the annual "Pride Guides".
Current issues of the Damron Guides are available at most LGBT bookstores. The Damron Inc. website also sells all of its publications, and offers a subscription on-line resource for current information on listings.
Get more information at the Damron Inc. website.
Credits: concept and design by Don Schwamb.
All images of and information contained in the Damron Guides copyrighted by Damron Inc.
Last updated: October-2009.