The Memory Project: LGBTQ History in Austin, TX

Austin History Center
Main Entrance

The Memory Project is on hold for the moment. Please bear with us.

There was going to be an organizing meeting for getting the Austin gay community history project up and going again, scheduled for Saturday, April 11, 2020 at The Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701. Because of the Covid-19 scare, this meeting has been postponed for the time being.

BUT we are still working on the project. Please read about what we’re trying to accomplish. Most of this can be done virtually or remotely.

Below the Quiz are instructions for how to submit material for the History Center. They have a good LGBTQ collection. And they are interested in expanding it. If you are looking for a place to leave historical records and archives, please consider the History Center.

AND take a look at the quiz below. How much do you know about Austin’s LGBTQ+ history? Maybe our little quiz will pique your interest and, maybe, remind you of things you know about that you’d like to see remembered by the community at large.

810 Guadalupe St
There is parking btw the History Center and the old library nextdoor

The History Center has an existing LGBTQ collection, consisting of papers and documents, many are related to specific individuals—like Doug Dyer, one of the founders of Esther’s Follies and producer of the 1989-90 gay/lesbian activists’ musical comedy review I Pass for Straight.

Also in the collection, for example, are the papers of Janna Zumbrun, the most visible lesbian activist in Austin for a decade, chair of the Fair Housing Ordinance Alliance and Director of AIDS Services of Austin. Also, the papers Powell (“Punky”) Shepherd, dancer, choreographer, playwright, director, and artist, and his friend Joe Ed Manry, theater director. Activists, artists, poets, dancers, photographers, musicians, businesspeople, professionals, politicians, movers and shakers—WE are all of these. And all of us have played a role in making Austin what it is. Let’s preserve this rich legacy.

The aim of The Memory Project is to expand this city-funded collection and archives by seeking donations of additional historical materials. In particular, The Project will preserve sersonal stories and recollections of community events by recording (audio and video) interviews with people from across a wide spectrum of the LGBTQ+ population of our city down through the years.

We are only acting as agents for collecting these documents and records. The Memory Project will not edit, interpret, spin nor publish any of these materials. The Project encourages researchers and scholars to use the material, of course, and it will be available to the general public as well. We especially hope for participation of racial, gender, class, etc. minorities. We know that minorities get forgotten. That’s what we’re working to prevent.

We want everybody to participate. Our initial effort will be to widen our nets and expand our contact lists to include as many aspects of Austin LGBTQ+ life as we can. We’re also looking for interviewers and, of course, for interviewees. We need your help to reach out. We invite you to participate virtually by emailing us about your interest and helping us to set up a network through the internet.

contact@algbtcoa.org

Please tell us your stories. The future is going to want to know what the past was like. And we are the only ones who can tell them.

Here’s a little quiz.

What do you remember? (click on the number after the ? to see the answer)

  1. Where was the first meeting of Austin Gay Liberation Front held? 1 Sutton Hall on the U.T. Campus, March 1970
  2. Where was the National Gay Liberation Front Conference in 1971 convened? 2 The University Y on Guadalupe (now a Pizza joint) & The Unitarian Church on Grover
  3. Who chaired the ad hoc committee for the Austin Fair Housing Ordinance? Housing Subcommittee of the Human Rights Commission and was active in crafting the recommendations to City Council concerning the Fair Housing Ordinance in 1977? 3 Janna Zumbrun. Her papers are at the Austin History Center
  4. Where was the first Gay Pride at Fiesta Gardens founded? 4 The Austin History Center front meeting room in 1989
  5. Who founded AIDS Services of Austin? 5 Paul Clover, director of Waterloo Counseling, out of which ASA developed
  6. Who founded the Octopus Club? 6Lew Aldridge & Jim Lommori & Denise Lavendar
  7. Who staged famous Halloween parties in old Gay Austin and where? 7Don Rhodes on Helms St in the late 60s
  8. Who ran for U.T. Student Body President in the 50s and was exposed as a homosexual, but came within 30 votes of winning? 8 Charles Hayden, who later took the name Randy Wicker, and became a leader in The Mattachine Society
  9. Who was the first black lesbian U.T. Student Body President? 9 Toni Luckett in 1990
  10. Who were founders of ALLGO? 10 Michael Alfaro, Saul Gonzalez and Dennis Medina
  11. Which dairy industry lobbyist also represented the gay Tavern Guild? 11 Betty Naylor
  12. Who founded Liberty Books, the lesbian and gay community bookstore on N Lamar and 11th ? 12 Tom Doyal in 1986
  13. Who founded BookWoman and where was the original store? 13 Susan Post on East 6th Street in 1980

Donate Items

The vast majority of the collections at the Austin History Center have been donated by many generous individuals and organizations throughout our community. We greatly appreciate such generosity and continue to rely heavily on this support in order to continue building collections for future generations.

If you are interested in making a donation, we require that you fill out and sign a Deed of Gift form. This document formally establishes the transfer of ownership of materials to the AHC. Please fill out as much information as you can including copyright information located on the back of this form. Having the completed form ready when you bring your donation in helps augment the donation process.

Here are some general guidelines for the types of items we collect and for those we do not, either because they fall outside of our collection development policy or due to staffing and space limitations. If you have items that are not included in the list below, please contact us at 512-974-7480 before throwing anything out. We welcome the opportunity to discuss and review your material. If the items in question are not suitable for our collection, we can assist you in finding a more appropriate place for them.

Items of interest

Personal Papers:

  • Family letters
  • Diaries or journals
  • Scrapbook materials, such as programs, invitations, other documentary mementos, obituaries, newspaper clippings
  • Recorded or written oral history interviews or memoirs
  • Legal records, such as wills, estate materials, deeds, court records, contracts
  • Photographs and photo albums
  • Motion picture film

Organizational Records:

  • Charters, membership lists, minutes, yearbooks, programs, press releases
  • Correspondence
  • Newsletters, brochures

Business Records:

  • Correspondence
  • Financial records, such as ledgers, record books, inventories, annual reports
  • Legal records, such as contracts, deeds, court records
  • Ephemera, such as flyers, calendars, schedules, posters, menus
  • Photographs or photo albums

Printed Materials:

  • Newspaper clippings
  • Books
  • Pamphlets
  • Posters
  • Broadsides
  • Maps

Audiovisual materials:

  • Music on disc, cassette tape, vinyl
  • Oral history interviews
  • Video

Artistic materials:

  • Posters
  • Drawings
  • Photographs

Items not suitable for donation:

  • Information not specific to Austin/Travis County
  • Blank forms
  • Duplicates or multiple copies
  • Family Bibles
  • Artifacts – clothing, textiles, statues, models, jewelry and other three-dimensional objects
  • Certain financial records, such as canceled checks and receipts
  • Old newspapers
  • Computer manuals
  • Materials in poor condition, including defaced text or items that show evidence of mold, mildew, pests, significant embrittlement, or disrepair.
  • Mailers, flyers, invitations, announcements and other advertisements that lack any substantive information about an organization, event or individual(s). In other words, we do not accept items that only list names, times, dates, locations or prices.

Please note that although the AHC reserves the right to decline items that are in very poor or fragile condition, we are more than happy to accept such materials if they have been transferred onto an appropriate archival medium such as acid-free paper or digitized and saved to CD or DVD.

We also ask that you provide appropriate contextual information for the items you are donating in either a list form or printed legibly somewhere on each item including pertinent names (individuals, places, events) dates and titles. Providing contextual information not only saves staff valuable time but also insures that your donation has maximum research value to our customers.