University of Texas San Antonio

A Guide to the Happy Foundation Archives Collection, 1955-2000

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Elder, Gene Wesley
Title: Happy Foundation Archives Collection
Dates: 1955-2000
Creator Abstract: Gene Elder is the founder, curator, and archivist for the Happy Foundation Archives in San Antonio, Texas.
Content Abstract: The collection consists of over 1200 digital scans of San Antonio LGBT publications.
Identification: MS 394
Extent: 6.50 gigabytes (1211 digital files)
Language: English
Repository University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

Biographical Sketch

In 1988, Gene Elder began collecting materials about San Antonio gay history. Elder's interest in gathering bits and pieces of information evolved into a full-fledged commitment to preserve local queer history. The Happy Foundation's 400 square foot room, housed in the back of a gay nightclub called the Bonham Exchange in downtown San Antonio, is filled with boxes and file cabinets containing print materials chronicling the city's LGBTQ+ history.

The Happy Foundation is named after Arthur P. "Happy" Veltman, a San Antonio business entrepreneur who died of AIDS in 1988. Veltman was instrumental in the commercial development of the San Antonio River Walk, Blue Star Arts Complex, as well as two iconic gay bars including the Bonham Exchange. The Happy Foundation's mission is "dedicated to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; the preservation of GayBLT history, encouraging contermporary art; and promoting ballroom dancing." Elder wants to ensure that researchers and anyone interested in San Antonio's gay, lesbian, and trans past have access to materials that record this facet of the city's history and culture.


"The Happy Foundation's quest to save a bit of LGBT history," in Q San Antonio, May 17, 2006, [accessed July, 18, 2017].

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of digital scans of San Antonio LGBTQ publications spanning the years of 1955-2000. Publications include entire runs of the Calendar (1980s) and Bartalk (1985-2000), and two years of the Marquise (1996-1997). Also included are publications that ran for brief periods of time. Additionally, the collection holds digital scans of One and Tangents, publications of One, Incorporated. Other items include digital copies of T.G.T.F. (Texas Gay Task Force) News and Rude Girl zines.

Selected material in this collection has been digitized and is available in our digital collections.

Organization of Collection

River City Empty Closet
Out in San Antonio
San Antonio Community News
Texas Gay Task Force News
Rude Girl Zine


Access Restrictions

Bartalk must be accessed via the John Peace Library. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.

Use Restrictions

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Index Terms

Elder, Gene Wesley
Happy Foundation Archives
Gays in advertising.
Gays--Social life and customs.
Gays--United States--Identity.
San Antonio (Tex.)
Local Subjects
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resources

Related Material

Additional materials can be found in the Marquise Collection, MS 418, University of Texas at San Antonio Special Collections.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Happy Foundation Archives, MS 394, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

Loaned by Gene Elder of the Happy Foundation in 2012 (Acc. 2012-089), in 2013 (Acc. 2013-048), and in 2015 (Acc. 2015-041) for digitization by UTSA Libraries Special Collections. All materials were returned to donor after they were digitized. Physical copies are not available.

Processing Information

Loaned materials were digitized in 2012, 2013, and 2015 by Melissa Gohlke, Assistant Archivist.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Bartalk 1985-2000

Bartalk was the longest running LGBT publication in San Antonio.
Digital copies of the publication can be viewed in the Special Collections reading room.

The Calendar 1982-1987

The Calendar was a San Antonio LGBTQ publication which was published by Michael Stevens and the San Antonio Gay Alliance (SAGA) every other Friday.
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River City Empty Closet 1991

River City Empty Closet was published bi-weekly from January, 1991 through May, 1991 by Paul R. Cirre, RCEC Communications.
January-May 1991
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Out in San Antonio 1991

Out in San Antonio was published from June, 1991 through December, 1991. The editorial board consisted of Michael Hopper, Jim Kane, Wendy Carter, Zelda J. Martinez, and Connie Brenner.
June-October 1991
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Marquise 1996-1997

The Marquise was published from 1992 through 1997. The serial was originally published by BaraSher Publishing Company owned by Randall Sherman and Frank Bara. Ted Switzer teamed up with Sherman in 1993 and beginning in 1996, Switzer was the sole publisher.
Additional issues of this publication can be found in Marquise Collection, MS 418, University of Texas at San Antonio Special Collections.
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San Antonio Community News 1999-2000

The San Antonio Community News was published bi-weekly by Peter Robles.
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T.G.T.F. News 1981-1982

T.G.T.F. News, the newsletter of the Texas Gay Task Force was published eight times per year.
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Rude Girl 1991-1993

Rude Girl zine was produced by two women in San Antonio under the names Alison Wonderland and Eulalie Fenster-Glas.
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One/Tangents 1955-1966

One and Tagents magazines were published by One, Incorporated. One magazine dealt primarily with homosexuality from a scientific, historic, and critical point of view. Tangents magazine was published monthly by the majority of legally elected voting members of One.
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