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Pride Month: Archival Resources in San Antonio

June 11, 2012

1997 Lesbian/Gay Pride Picnic flyer, San Antonio Lesbian Gay Alliance Records, MS 118

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.

San Antonio Marquise, June 1997 cover, San Antonio Lesbian Gay Alliance Records, MS 118

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

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gene Elder permalink
    July 24, 2012 1:38 pm

    I am always interested in collecting information about people, places, events, and organizations when these papers are no longer wanted in your closet.
    I also encourage every organization to elect an archivist to your board along with the other 4 officers. Be sure to take pictures and write the names on the back, make sure you date everything (include the year). I should not be the only one collecting OUR history. Everyone should be helping. This is the Heart of Texas. Our history is extremely important to the rest of the state and future researchers. As I like to say, “George Washington did not fight the Revolution all by himself.” Everyone makes up the complete picture. Help me make this a complete picture.
    Gene Elder
    HAPPY Foundation
    Archives Director.
    Your Very Friendly Clip and File Queen
    home 210 732-3238
    Archives 210 227-6451 Wed, Thurs,Fri. noon till 4:00


  1. San Antonio GLBTQ Publications: A Portal to the City’s Queer Past, Now Available Online | The Top Shelf

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