Wednesday, March 29th, 2023

San Antonio’s LGBT media past being digitized

Billy GloverJuly 2, 2013.

Dear Chuck Colbert:

Thank you so much for writing this article in Press Pass Q by Chuck Colbert, the university’s Libraries Special Collections at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has been digitizing The Digital GLBTQ Publications collection’s “queer periodicals.”

The holdings include those the school had as well as those from the HAPPY Foundation Archives.

I agree that this is a great help in saving our history. I am not sure it is relevant, but there has been some question as to the legality of putting material from a collection online regarding copyright. I vaguely recall Google or some website being challenged about the right to put up old books, etc.

Let’s hope other universities will follow UTSA. The University of Minnesota has The Tretter Collection which they should be proud of and want students, etc., to know about and use.

I think it would be difficult to find who owns some material. For instance, who owns back issues of such publications as Mattachine Review, The Ladder, Drum, etc.? But if they are part of a library collection, isn’t there a right to digitize them in that connection?

I do worry about having to do the whole issue of  large newspapers—I am just looking at one of the few community papers I see, Windy City Times, and the annual Pride issue—that is a lot of print. I know some people will read it online, but it seems hard to me. But then people are reading books online.

I would think perhaps doing only the important parts, but, looking back at old publications, I find the ads etc. as interesting and perhaps as important as the articles. Seeing old cars advertised in Saturday Evening Post is a reminder of how things/life were as much as the people and topics of the articles. And it would be interesting a few years from now to know how the young people pictured on the cover of WCT are doing.

But that might be easier to find online, since few people can go to the nearest LGBT archives/libraries. And it seems to me that only scholars or serious students would even know what LGBT topics to look up to learn the historical context and how it changed over the decades.

I find it hard to be negative and fuss when some source does cover a topic, but I want the whole picture.  The latest example is the good job C-SPAN did Sunday giving an hour to (BookTV) previous shows on the marriage debate-books and discussions. But why is it they have never done that for an overall “picture” of homosexuality?  And did they do a review of Gay Press, Gay Power that covers the media, which they are a part of?

I would like to see more coverage of some of the books on our early history: the books on founders, Before Stonewall, edited by Vern Bullough; The Trouble With Harry Hay by Stuart Timmons; Mask of the Mattachine  by James Sears, Different Daughters by Marcia Gallo, etc?

They did halfway cover C. Todd White’s Pre-Gay L. A.  And there are several books that cover the media of the movement that could be discussed together.

Will these books be digitized?


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  1. Melissa Gohlke

    Hi Billy,At UTSA Special Collections we do our best to track down copyright holders and obtain permission to digitize publications and offer them online. Often times, original creators are deceased or impossible to locate, in which case, the publication is considered orphaned. All creators thus far have been quite amenable to having materials become available digitally.

  2. Billy Glover

    This is good to know, and it should make other libraries feel better about undertaking this great way of saving our history. By the way, I thought when I first read the article it said that the original material was returned to Happy Foundation, but now i do not see that line when rereading—is it possible I mentally added or imagined that either from my own thinking or what? It is not relevant to our own HIC collection, and I think now of the other part of ONE (ONE Archives at USC) since I think the university libraries own control of the material with us having use. I assume the same is true of The Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota. I do wonder if other privately held archives have funding to do the digitizing, such as Lesbian Herstory in New York, Stonewall, etc.

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