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Rex Maniscalco collection

Identifier: MS-2009-02

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photographs, negatives, and VHS recordings pertaining to Tampa GLBT culture and community and reflects the growing national visibility of gay and lesbian lives throughout the 1990s and early 2000s more generally. This collection is comprised of photographs of the LGBT community taken by Rex Maniscalco from the 1980s to 2000s. Captured in the images within this collection are Tampa Bay’s early Pride picnics to full scale Pride Festivals in downtown Tampa and Ybor City, the Tampa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the Tampa AIDS walk, other major gay events such as Southern Decadence in New Orleans, LA and Beach Fest in Daytona, protests and rallies, and many other social gatherings and political events. This collection also contains video recordings of major political events and organizations in Tampa including County Commission and City Council vote to include sexual orientation in the city’s human rights ordinance in 1991, the 1993 March on Washington, organizational meetings of the Human Rights Task Force. Maniscalco’s collection also includes video recordings of local and national talk shows and television shows.


  • Created: 1980-2002
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1990-2002


Conditions Governing Use

No restrictions.  The contents of this collection may be subject to copyright.  Visit the United States Copyright Office's website at for more information.

Biographical or Historical Information

Most remembered for saying, "Ah one-a, ah two-a, ah-Cheeze-a", Rex Maniscalco was Tampa’s GLBT photographer and community documentarian. An Ybor City native, Rex Maniscalco was around to experience and participate in the emergence of a visible LGBT community in the Tampa area. From the early Pride picnics and festivals to the beginnings of Equality Florida, Rex was there, camera in hand, to document the people who have been instrumental in creating LGBT community and culture. Inspired by a traveling exhibition of the history of the LGBT movement, Rex undertook the task of capturing gay history in the making through his camera and video recordings. Moved by the stories of hidden lives told by Bobbie Smith and Kay Thompson, he began the Rainbow in Sunshine Project in January of 2007 to offer a photographic history of gay lives and activism in Tampa, Florida. He was a part of the GLBT & Hillsborough Democratic Executive Community and active in the Hillsborough County GLBTA Democratic caucus. Rex Maniscalco passed away April 4, 2009 at the age of 57

Note written by CW, 2015.


21 boxes

14.43 Linear Feet

1 folders (Oversized graphic materials stored in a horizontal folder separate from the collection. )

Language of Materials



This collection is comprised of photographs and video footage of the LGBTQ+ community taken by Rex Maniscalco from the 1980s to 2000s, as well as documents from Tampa Bay LGBTQ+ culture, civil rights, and community organizations.

Arrangement Note

Series by format and subseries by subject (events, social life and customs, organizations). This collection is organized into three series with subsequent and corresponding subseries. Contained within this collection were film negatives not accompanied by developed images. These negatives remain unprocessed. Negatives that were included in envelopes alongside developed images were processed in tandem with photographs and housed in two Hollinger boxes as a series. Within Series: Negatives, folders correspond with the images processed into subseries within photo boxes, more specifically, events, social life and customs, organizations. Additionally, Rex’s personal photographs, which include travel, family, and other miscellaneous events such as the Renaissance Festival, the filming of a Burt Reynolds movie in Tampa, and Yankee training, remain unprocessed but available in photo albums.

Source of Acquisition

Mark Bias and Carrie West

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

Bobby Smith Photograph Collection, USF Libraries - Tampa Special Collections, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

Separated Materials

Oversized graphic materials stored in a horizontal folder separate from the collection.

Processing Information

Partially processed.

Rex Maniscalco Collection
Cyrana Wyker; Revised 2023, SJ
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USF Libraries - Special Collections Repository

4202 East Fowler Ave.
Tampa FL 33620-5400 US