Friday, March 31st, 2023

LGBT history timeline in current issue of Frontiers (pt. 2)

Billy GloverJune 19, 2010.

Bill Kelley writes:

Let’s see:

ONE, Inc., founded, 1952.

ISHR established, 1964, and incorporated, 1965, “d/b/a ONE, Inc.,” and being “the financial branch of ONE, INC.”

ONE Institute established (presumably by ONE, Inc.) in 1956, with educational and travel programs, speakers bureau, and quarterly publication.

ONE Institute ceased operations, 1994.

ONE Institute Archives initiated, 1994, consisting of Kepner materials, Slater materials, International Gay and Lesbian Archives materials, and One Institute materials. Housed at USC since.

ONE, Inc. (merging corporation), merged into ISHR (surviving corporation), 1996.

ISHR completes final transfer of ONE, Inc./ISHR materials and One Institute name to ONE Institute & Archives, 2000.

Copies of ONE, Inc./ISHR materials also deposited by Reid Erickson with Cal State Northridge.

ISHR funds donated to The Williams Institute.

ISHR dissolved, October 2008.

Have I got this right?

Bill Kelley, Chicago

Dear Bill:
I guess. Reid Rasmussen was, with his partner, who passed, heading ISHR after Dorr Legg died. I think they were working with Legg when they had to sue Reid Erickson (the donor/cofounder of ISHR, with Don & Dorr) to keep control of the building at Country Club Place. (We were not there obviously, having moved to Hollywood/Cahuenga Pass in 1965.)
I assume Walter Williams had something to do with all these people working together and getting to USC.

The error is in saying that the Slater/HIC material was donated to ONE—we never gave it up. Reid Rasmussen, et al. never had control of our material—but we merely moved it into the building which in reality we (meaning Jim Schneider) got ready for occupancy.

John O’Brien and the ONE people screwed it up, and USC stopped all communication until Jim Schneider talked them into funding the fixing of that fraternity house. (This obviously happened after Don Slater died, but I think Dale Jennings was still around, and he opposed the move as he didn’t trust O’Brien, Williams, et al.). Then we saw them, as Dorr Legg had tried, stealing our material, and so moved out and now are placing our material at Cal State, Northridge.

I think you know that Don Slater and I were the first paid employees of ISHR, but that lasted a month or so until Dorr Legg screwed us over. As a typical scoundrel, he used that fact to deceive the attorneys by saying Don was no longer associated with ONE. We knew that Reed would not let us have any money: he was into education, and that was Legg’s area. And that was his motive of course—not so much money or even power but wanting to be a leader in the education part of the movement. We thought it would not work, and it didn’t, but again mainly for the same reason: he could not get along with Legg.

Ironically this was the same reason Jim Kepner left. He didn’t get along with Legg most of the time, and this is certainly why he resigned the second time (I think in late 1960) when they then hired me to replace him. Why? The same reason ONE lost the right to grant degrees, after having it for a time. Dorr lied to everyone and in both cases refused, for some queer reason, to work with the state and give them necessary information. In Jim’s case, Kepner had been told, and thus told others, that ONE was tax-exempt, but in fact Legg had lied and never completed the paperwork. This put Kepner in a terrible situation. So he quit.

Later, obviously, he came back on a volunteer basis to work with the Institute and help on that darn ONE Institute Quarterly. And he was on the ONE European tour when the separation came in 1965, on Easter.

There are good reasons to try to understand some of Harry Hay’s thinking, since some times he undid the very thing he wanted. And the same is true of Legg. Don Slater alone, I think, was good all ways. I was terrible, had to learn everything and was not good as a writer/editor or speaker. I just believed in them and the purposes so kept going. The hope is that I did more good than harm. I think C. Todd White’s book, Pre-Gay L.A.,  mentions my disagreement with Joe and Jane Hansen, for instance. I thought they could have done more-mainly by mentioning us in his books, and speeches, etc.

And I had learned some of the financial part from Legg and so was not friendly with most of the other board members, even though I liked them all. Rodney Riggall, for instance, who did give some money (as did David Kennedy and others) had ideas, not to raise money but on how we could better spend our money. He was wrong. (Riggall died years ago of prostate cancer, and the irony, as his partner, Ben Coonfield, who still lives in the family home in Prairie Grove/Fayetteville, Arkansas, points out, his father was an M.D. and an attorney who actually went in court against some M.D. people for malpractice, so Rodney knew things. He suspected the cancer but could not get the doctors to do anything until it was too late. Rodney had worked in his father’s office at the hospital.)

David Kennedy thought changing the bank branch would help us-it hurt us, as we were (and now are) better at the Universal Studio/city branch of B of A as they knew how to deal with non-conforming people and groups. And after David died we moved back. Now it might not make a difference, but it did then.

But due to our purpose and the real world of that time, I doubt anyone or thing could have made a difference. But we did do things, and the media ignored us. But Legg did no better. He then had to fight Reed the way he fought us, but in that case he was right and won half of the property. (Reed’s daughter got the other half.)

That is a story in itself, as I understand it. Reed said, perhaps truthfully, that he could not put the property into ONE’s name right away as the seller was a woman evangelist, new age, who was anti-gay and would block the sale if she knew who really was buying it. But then he got into drug problems, etc. and never transferred the deed, and then the daughter sought it all after he died I assume.

I don’t know if there was a possibility that Legg could have gotten more in the separation, legally I mean, but (I think Todd’s book explains this) he screwed himself by lies and deceits and his attorney, Hillel Chodos, did by calling the judge’s office and speaking rudely and it was the judge he unknowingly talked to. Murphy’s law, what could go wrong did. So, as our attorney, Ed Raiden said —and Lequita (his assistant attorney, I forget her last name but think it was McKay) — we had no money to fight. But Raiden did not charge us very much while Chodos was charging them a lot.

I know the facts and he doesn’t, and it turns out the two judges are wise. So I think we just have to sit tight. He was right: we only really gave up the name ONE, which, as the 2d judge pointed out, we had said we didn’t even want.

ISHR was separate after Legg’s death in 1994 I think. I’m not sure but think it was about then that Kepner’s International Gay and Lesbian Archives (IGLA) joined with USC,  and Williams changed its name to ONE/IGLA. Dale Jennings, as Secretary of HIC, had talked with Williams and O’Brien ONE about rejoining before Slater’s death in 1997. We decided not to due to Dale’s bad impressions of the deal. Then, when Schneider could no longer afford to keep our materials in storage at Iron Mountain, he had to work to get the building ready. Shortly after this, we had to retake our material as they broke all promises of a separate office, keys, etc. And, as I said before, some of our materials were being taken from our space without our consent.

ONE Institute & Archives, or whatever it is calling itself these days, is not ONE, Inc., and it certainly didn’t have legal title to anything except what Reid, et al., gave them.

And yes, Reid Rasmussen did provide us with copies of many of ISHR and ONE’s legal history and documents. Some board members didn’t like it, John O’Brien being one I think, but ISHR did give Todd scholarship money for his good work. And for some reason, Rasmussen and the other directors of ISHR decided to quit and give Williams Institute all money remaining.

I’m not sure what else I should mention to give the “fair and balanced” view of the three organizations: ONE, HIC, and ISHR. It is certainly a long and convoluted history — especially when those talking the loudest about it are not being all truthful.


Subject: Re: GLBT History Timeline in current issue of Frontiers in LA

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