Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Organization of Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Acting 2001-2012

Activism 1991-2018

Art 1990-2012

Personal 1992, 2009-2020

University of Texas San Antonio

A Guide to the Martha Prentiss Papers, 1990-2020



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Prentiss, Martha
Title: Martha Prentiss Papers
Dates: 1990-2020
Creator Abstract: Martha Prentiss was an activist, artist, and actor in San Antonio, Texas.
Content Abstract: The collection consists of print materials, photographs, and ephemera documenting Prentiss' involvement with the LGBTQ community and her work as an actor and artist.
Identification: MS 495
Extent: 2 linear feet (3 boxes, 1 oversize trifold)
Language: English
Repository University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

Biographical Sketch

Martha Prentiss was an LGBT activist in San Antonio, Texas for decades. She was a founding member of Las Mujeres, San Antonio's first bookstore dedicated to women. The bookstore, established in 1981, served as a social and educational space offering poetry readings and weekly socials and was one of the first spaces in the community that lesbians could claim as their own. In the mid-1980s, Prentiss along with other lesbians, created WomanSpace which became the longest running women's publication in San Antonio spanning the years of 1986 though 2007.

In tandem with WomanSpace and Las Mujeres, Prentiss created another tool for communication among San Antonio's lesbian community. She established the Lesbian Information San Antonio (LISA) telephone line which served as a source of connectivity and visibility for the city's queer women. In the late 1980s in collaboration with Kay Ford, a prominent member of the local lesbian community, Prentiss launched Tuesday Night Discussions which took place in Ford's bars. Women came to together to discuss topics relevant to their lives and to listen to presentations by speakers.

Prentiss served on the board of several non-profit organizations including the San Antonio Lesbian Gay Assembly (SALGA) and the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. In 1990 and 1994, she served as co-chair of the Texas Lesbian Conference (TLC) and was active in planning the HRC Black Tie Dinner over the course of several years. Prentiss created the annual Cancer Party, a fundraiser which attracted hundreds and supported several local women's community organizations.

Prentiss, in addition to her service to the LGBT community in San Antonio, was one of the city's most respected and well-known jewelry makers. She provided a safe and supportive space where gay men and women could work in tandem with her to create jewelry that reflected important occasions in their lives. A portion of her profits were donated to community organizations.

Prentiss channeled her talents into the stage as well. She performed in plays in Austin and San Antonio with one of her most celebrated being, "The Last Reading of Charlotte Cushman."

Source

"Our Vote '96-We've Got the Power," San Antonio Black Tie Dinner Awardees.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection is comprised of print materials documenting Prentiss' work as an activist, actress, and artist. Items from an annual fundraiser, "The Cancer Party," include medals and medallions created by Prentiss and a large tri-fold that holds photographs and invitations. A VHS tape in the collection is an interview of Martha Prentiss conducted by artist Gene Elder.

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Organization of Collection

Acting
Activism
Art
Personal

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. 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.

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Index Terms

Persons
Prentiss, Martha
Organizations
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
Human Rights Campaign (U.S.)
Las Mujeres Women's Bookstore
San Antonio Lesbian Gay Assembly
Texas Lesbian Conference
WomanSpace
Subjects
Artists.
Lesbian Activists.
Lesbian actresses.
Lesbian feminism.
Places
San Antonio (Tex.)
Genres/Formats
Brochures
Jewelry
Photographs
Theater programs
Occupation
Actors (performing artists)
Artists (visual artists)
Local Subjects
Activism/Activists
Art/Artists
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resources
Women
Women's Groups

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Related Material

Related material can be found in the Texas Lesbian Conference Records and WomanSpace Records.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Martha Prentiss Papers, MS 495, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Martha Prentiss in November 2017 (2017-057) and by Rhonda Chase in December 2019 (2020-002).

Processing Information

Processed by Melissa Gohlke, Assistant Archivist in November 2017 and February 2020.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Acting 2001-2012

Box Folder
1 1 "Gertrude Stein and A Companion," program and photographs, 2001
2 "The Last Reading of Charlotte Cushman," script and promotional materials, 2005
3 "Cafe at the End of Time," 2012
4 Head shots, undated
San Antonio Film Festival pins, undated
Box
OM1 DVDs
Do Not Wish on a Falking Pole, undated
Fields Afar, 22 March 2004
The Last Reading of Charlotte Cushman, 2005
Sandwich, undated
Theatre ASAP, Six shorts plays written, rehearsed and stage in 24 hours, San Antonio Theatre Coalition, 11 September 2004
Theatre ASAP, Six shorts plays written, rehearsed and stage in 24 hours, San Antonio Theatre Coalition, 10 September 2005
Trash Day, undated
Year One, Round One, 8 February 2004
Year One, Round Two, 30 May 2004
Year One, Round Three, 19 September 2004

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Activism 1991-2018

Drawer Folder
74 OSF1 Cancer Party tri-fold with photographs, invitations, and history, 1986-1998
OSF2 March on Austin photograph, 1991
Box Folder
1 5 March on Austin photograph (photocopy), 1991
Box
OM2 Pins, 1982-2008 and undated
Box Folder
1 6 Texas Lesbian Conference program, 1994
7 Tenth Annual Cancer Party invitation, 1996
8 Human Rights Campaign Black Tie Dinner program with correspondence, 1996, 2007
9 Esperanza Peace and Justice Center anniversary programs, 2002, 2017
10 Sixteenth Annual Cancer Party invitation and correspondence, 2007
Box
OM1 Interview of Prentiss by Gene Elder at the Happy Foundation Archives (VHS), 1990-1996

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Art 1990-2012

Box Folder
1 11 "Read My Hips," exhibit, 1990
12 "Who We Art," exhibit, 1994
13 Jewelry print materials, 1996 and undated
14 Exhibit print materials, 2003-2012
15 Photographs of pottery, undated
16 Lesbarada t-shirt logo, undated
Cancer Party medals and medallions, 1997-2008 and undated

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Personal 1992, 2009-2020

Box Folder
1 17 Shocking Gray catalogs, 1992
Fiesta medals, 2005-2018
18 Sixtieth birthday invitation, 2009
19 Brunch of Champions promotional card, 2017
20 "Her Spirit Lives On," in La Voz de Esperanza, January 2020
21 "The Last Cancer Party," memorial programs, 4 January 2020
22 Halloween party prop, undated

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