The Joseph Steffan Papers span the years 1987 to 1994. The Collection includes legal documents, Naval Academy papers, correspondence, media coverage, and a draft of his book Honor Bound. Steffan studied at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (1983-1987), North Dakota State University (1987-1989) and the University of Connecticut School of Law (1991-1994), where he received a J.D..
On April 1, 1987 the Naval Academic Board recommended that Steffan be dismissed under Performance Manual Sec. 2.153e-Homosecuality. Steffan resigned from the Naval Academy six weeks short of his graduation date. In 1988, Steffan, with the help of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, wrote to the Secretary of the Navy to request that his letter of resignation be withdrawn and to be reinstated. There was no response to the request. On January 29, 1989, Joseph Steffan v. Richard Cheney, was filed in the Federal District courthouse in Washington D.C.. in an effort to get Steffan reinstated. Judge Oliver Gasch was assigned the case. As the case gained national attention Marc Wolinsky, an attorney at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, became the representing lawyer in the case. In 1993, a three-judge panel ruled in favor of Steffan and ordered him reinstated. The Navy appealed the case and in 1994 the U. S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia reversed the order in Joseph C. Steffan v. William J. Perry.
Series I Research Box 1-6
Series II Office Legal Files Box 7-22
Series III Legal Working Files Box 73-87
Series IV Personal Papers Box 88-96
Series V Correspondence Box 99-106
Series VI Media Coverage Box 107-109