Pride Month: Archival Resources in San Antonio
June is Pride Month and San Antonio has several events on the calendar, including PrideFest San Antonio, held last Saturday in HemisFair Park, and Pride San Antonio, which will be held the last weekend of the month in Crockett Park. UTSA Special Collections maintains several GLBTQ-related archival collections that we’ve highlighted previously, but this year we thought we’d shine a light on the resources available at the HAPPY Foundation.
The HAPPY Foundation is a small GLBT archive located in a back room of the Bonham Exchange just across the street from the Alamo. Their mission statement reads: The Happy Foundation is dedicated to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; the preservation of GayBLT history; encouraging contemporary art; and promoting ballroom dancing.” The Foundation is named for Arthur “Happy” Veltman, a local entrepreneur who owned several gay bars and was involved with the development of the Blue Star Arts Complex and real estate projects throughout San Antonio. Gene Elder, San Antonio artist and activist, is chief archivist at the HAPPY Foundation. He is responsible for managing the archive’s current holdings and acquiring publications, periodicals, books, newspapers, personal papers, and anything else related to GLBT history and heritage.
The HAPPY Foundation’s current holdings include:
- runs of over 20 San Antonio and South Texas GLBTQ publications including the San Antonio Marquise (pictured to the right)
- the personal papers of Hap Veltman and other individuals
- an erotic reading collection
- a gay spirituality book collection
- a multimedia collection, including documentaries
- vertical files on: protests, marches, court cases, business, sports, drag, artists, discrimination, publishers, women’s organizations, politics, military and much more
The Happy Foundation’s quest to save a bit of GLBT history, QSanAntonio, May 17, 2006
The Archivist, Sarah Fisch, San Antonio Current, November 26, 2008