Sunday, November 10, 2013

Author rejects archive for material/casino website/telephone system crashes from too many calls

I think two bits of news I heard recently are interesting.  

On C-SPAN's BookTV InDepth show author Kitty Kelley was asked where her material would go (taped interviews with friend of Sinatra, Jackie O., Oprah, et al. (for her own memory AND to use in some of the people interviewed later denied being interviewed)) and she said, NOT to an archive where it will be stored in a basement and never seen or heard again—she said this is true of the Library of Congress, etc.

On a (GAC) tv show on Garth Brooks’ three years at Wynn’s Casino in Las Vegas, among the ‘revelations’ of how he finally came out of retirement, it was mentioned said that when it became known that Garth would actually start doing the show and tickets would be available—the website and telephone lines of the casino CRASHED.

14 comments:

Michael Bedwell said...

Happy Veterans Day, Billy, and thank you again for your service to your Country and to your Community!

Billy Glover said...

Thanks. And for your work to get acknowledgement.
It is especially interesting that minorities served even though they were still fighting at home to be equal-blacks, Japanese, Native Americans, glbt, even atheists.

Leon Miller said...

RE: Kitty Kelley, the only reason archives accept documents is to make them available. If Kelley doesn’t want her documents to go to a reputable archives, then it means she doesn’t want them available, which suggests she has something to hide about the quality of her sources.

Billy Glover said...

That is why I thought her comment was interesting. I think most of us want our collection online and available. So I don't understand where else she could put her material.

At archives like you/Tulane and some of the glbt ones, someone is pushing info about them and on them-such as ONE and HIC, BUT ones in Houston and Chicago (Gerber/Hart) have been locked up and no one seems to get to them.

On the other hand the GLBT Historical in San Francisco, and Stonewall in Ft Lauderdale do a great job of pushing public events, etc. And it seems The Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota is promoted and used-but it also has people working to keep it going.

What is hopefully getting support, are independent ones like Quatrefoil in Minneapolis/St Paul and Lesbian Herstory in Brooklyn.

Leon Miller said...

What do you mean “locked up”? There is absolutely no excuse for a “locked up” archives. Archives exist to make documents available to researchers. If an archives gets into a financial position where it can no longer do that, it has an ethical – and moral – responsibility to transfer its holdings to a professional archives where the materials can be made available to the public. Preservation alone is never enough; preservation AND access is the key.

Billy Glover said...

As I hope is discussed at archive meetings, there is the question, generically, of private versus public archives. In our case it seems both types are doing well.

BUT, if the archive is under the control of one dominant person or group, it may have problems. The info below is as I understand it and I may have misunderstood:

In the two cases I mention, the Houston one, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum [GCAM] is controlled by one woman, and as far as I can tell the material is hard to get to. It may be the same problem as the other one,

Gerber/Hart in Chicago is also under the control of one woman. It has moved, not sure why, and material has been in storage for a year or so—and I think that is true of the Houston one. There is a second LGBT archive in Houston, Botts (not sure how available their material is), but there is a housing problem there too.

To add to the problem, if I understand it, there may be a third Houston archive—as it was connected to Botts and was housed at the MCC Church there. The church wanted it gone, needed the space, and secretly sold the material, which it did not own. Complicated. I just wish there was really that much interest in our history.

So there are two issues: one person trying to keep control-no matter the motive, and the housing problem-rent, safe conditions,etc.

As I've said before, there does not seem to be much communication and cooperation among the LGBT archives/libraries. Yet, as far as I know, there is no competition—none of us get much in donations, and we serve different areas and interests. We might be able to get national media attention if we were organized.

History may not see it as I do, but the work of the movement got going when the existing organizations joined and held meetings. It was the North American Conference of Homosexual/Homophile Organizations: NACHO.

Judy Reeves said...

If you are trying to 'bait' me with your comments about Gulf Coast Archive & Museum of GLBT History, Inc. [GCAM] and/or Botts it's not going to work. Billy, you and I have a long, long history of emails and it has never worked so what makes you think it will now. IF however you are seeking information in a round about way - here I am.

I am not "in control" of any archives anywhere. I am the one volunteer who steps up to the plate every time someone needs something done and either does it or gets it done - hence the appearance of being 'in charge' but there are 2 boards [3 actually] behind everything I do.
I AM the curator as well as one of the founders of GCAM and I am now the appointed Trustee of the Botts Library/Archives which was sold PUBLICLY after RMCC searched diligently for another home - including contacting ONE, U of H, Rice, and another university in Dallas...no one wanted the collections - didn't come completely documented or with a person to oversee them. I found a buyer who is a lover of books and the idea is to relocate and revive the entire thing and open it up to reading/research but these things take time. The only people in the world who thinks anything 'underhanded' went on were the volunteers who took care of Botts at the church and who suddenly decided the church should just 'give' it to them because they spent time there. The church wanted their space and they wanted money to redo the space - they got both. The other thing that irks the previous volunteers is that they don't know who the new owner is and I won't rise to their bait either and get into pissing matches with them over ownership. All was done legally and above board. They however, after stealing parts of the collections, went to another church and opened an office calling themselves Botts again...no matter to me. 'Botts Library' was left to the church by Charles, the will said that, their legal papers from the court says that, they sold it as that, it was bought as that, and the family was happy with that...they can call themselves in the new church whatever they wish - doesn't make it so.

Comment was made that an archive is meant to be preserved but also available....when someone puts their money where their mouth is I can GUARANTEE you BOTH collections will be more visible and accessible but when you live in boxes and are constantly going through just to make sure it's still safe but without a place to unpack it....well preservation is better than dumpsters. I've been doing this with GCAM now for 13 years...no $$ have stepped up and ARCH-Houston started by a professor at Rice University generated 0 grant dollars...

Okay, I'll bow back out of the conversation now. Just know what you're talking about or ASK when you want to know something. Walk in my shoes rather than throw stones.

Billy Glover said...

Your experience is what I wanted Miller to know. That is why some of us did place our material at a university-some private (ONE) and some public (HIC, Tretter, etc.). I know there is not that much support for saving our history but hopefully there will be someday, so your/our work is worthwhile.

I did not know that you had contacted ONE-I don't know why they did not talk with you. Nor why Rice is not seeking such a collection-someday it will give prestige to colleges. That is why I give credit to USC, CSUN, UMN, etc. What also I don't understand is the small interest in the LGBT student groups on campus in supporting such archives. And why/our lgbt media does little to cover our work. I wish more people checked Gayellow Pages and used the vast resources our movement/community has.

Judy Reeves said...

It's a simple matter of finances they say...ONE wanted an complete inventory, then would pick and choose what they wanted so the church could dig that out and send it to them...the church said all or nothing, that ONE could sort through and do what they wished.

Rice and the other universities wanted a fully documented collection, a curator who knew the collections, and $$ to support the care and future exhibiting of the whole thing.

My buyer took it - as is - with all the pluses, negatives, and flaws [many, many flood soaked books in boxes] - a pig in a poke so-to-speak - but it was all 'saved' for whatever generation gets it finished.

Rice students are 'pushed' into calling me but for obvious reasons their focus is 'clearing and cleaning up and cataloging' their area of interest and nothing else....makes sense but to go through now 13 storage rooms of solid boxes to find a single topic and pull it out for them is not possible...and so they politely pass and we get blamed for not making our collections available.

I know my work is worthwhile [all of our work] but, silly me, I had hoped to see some headway in getting a building at least, if not filling it out beautifully with shelves, display cases, and exhibits, at least getting things moved into for those who are coming behind me will have a place to take care of business before I head to the great museum space in the sky. So much for dreams...

Billy Glover said...

I do think I have heard that some archives/libraries have no funding to take and protect all donations. I would think what you and we have is not that much-since our material starts and documents from the 1950s the civil rights movement.

I can understand not wanting all the books on the subject-certainly not duplicates, but I thought once a university-which is where ONE Archives are/is- has students, perhaps in the glbt student organization, to do such work, volunteers and maybe for credit-I know the librarian students at UCLA once wanted to do just that for our collection, but at the time it didn't need it-we had cards for it all.

But I do find it hard to think that ONE or Rice would not just take it all and do as you say-I know ONE has had sales which both got rid of duplicate books and also raised money. I wonder if they have a different attitude now that the collection is part of the USC Library?

The original cause of this exchange was author Kitty Kelley saying she would not give her material to an archive as it would just sit in a basement and never be used, and she thinks people would still want to see what she had , and that is on celebrities. I do think only researchers might seek info on obscure lgbt activists. But where else can she save the material-and she might be able to donate funding to get it ready.

This is one area our community archives could cooperate and share ideas. I know some, like The Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota does a great job, material by the library and support from the donating organization-which is what ONE and HIC are doing for our collections There are independent ones, like Quatrefoil, Stonewall and GLBTHistory which seem to get community support. I do not hear from Lesbian Herstory, but, I think what you have in mind,t hey took over a browstone in Brooklyn, as I understand it, and have support so that finances are not a problem. But having a safe pace for the material is imporatnt.

I have wondered how the Huntington Library will handle the material of author Joseph Hansen. He left his material to them and I have had no information on them about when it will be on display-assuming they rotate material-and available for researchers. We have material dealing with ONE/HIC, and of course what he wrote is in the magazine or newsletter and hopefully will be online someday. But he is relevant s his detective stories/books give lots of coverage to the L. A. area, as do some other non-gay mysteries.

Some libraries are part of the local Center-such as in New York. In L. A. the Center does not have a library, but cooperates with ONE.

So I think your experience in trying to save GCAM is worth taking about, an if Special Libraries and the archivists are not interested-that is strange. There must be a way of discussing problems without scaring off support. It does seem that you have to be rich and famous and successful in order to get support to get rich, famous and successful. People donate to a place that already has support-a nice building, cute employees, giving praise to donors, etc. We just have to idea with the real world. And hope there are serious glbt people who see how important our archival work is.

The one area I know nothing about, but think some libraries have had, is grants, from private groups and from the government-I know the Center in Hollywood got their building free from the government and right now are about to get another building from the government. But I assume they will have to have funding to keep the building going, payemployees, maintenance, etc, so they still have to do fund-raising.

Judy Reeves said...

I think there are more archives out there than either of us know about that don't have help in funding or cataloging...ours is unique in that we are a MUSEUM and archive so it's not just a matter of housing papers but artifacts as well - especially leather and drag costumes from some of the more infamous locals. Our collections go back to the 50's but we have a few things dating back into the 30s and 40s as well. Currently we have for GCAM 13 - 10x10 storage units which may not sound like much until you figure in that it's pretty much solid boxes stacked 4-5 high throughout - no 'paths' or walkways to speak of save 1 pretty much down the middle. Takes a lot of work just to get into boxes in the back of any room. The leather and costumes are not in the storage units, that is in an apartment unit along with other really delicate items but which I refer to as one of the 13 units.

Botts is taking up the space of 2 - 500 square foot apartments right now so isn't in much better shape space wise but I can get around in it somewhat easier. It's also pretty much just boxes, no artifacts, so that makes it easier to house as well.

I believe neither ONE nor Rice wanted the Botts collections because of its size - 1,200 boxes, all of which had to be packed and moved from the church to whatever location. Then the shelves the stuff was on had to be disassembled and moved out as well. It took us nearly 3 weeks to do all of that and the mountains of garbage - well at least the church cleared that out for us after we stacked it in one area for them. With ONE they would have had to transport it a long way after doing all that labor...not surprising they weren't interested. Same with Rice - housing would be impossible.

I'm not sure why GCAM has never gotten any real support from the locals...especially when you consider city council has done things like putting other organizations into closed/defunct places like schools and/or warehouses that belonged to the city. We just can't get a leg up. Possibly it's because we are so understaffed [volunteer] and so don't make a huge impression. Add to that the fact that none of us are 'professional' as far as money making/presentations/grant writing. We truly are still very grass roots and it's beginning to take it's toll on those of us who have been doing it for so long...but we persevere...I find it especially odd that we get no where with the city considering the constant touting of all the gays about how wonderful Houston's gay mayor is for our community...

I don't know what the answers are, right now I'm wondering if I even know what the questions should be - I only know I grow tired of those who are totally disinterested in their past until such time as it's convenient and they want something researched...I am also beginning to understand why libraries and museums charge so much for research/copy time!

Billy Glover said...

I understand your frustration. And I am not sure such "competition" works, but as we know, the city, county, state and federal government have given support to such resources as the Gay Center in L. A.-the FBI bldg they have, and now more. And USC gave the use of a former fraternity bldg to ONE, and CSUN houses the HIC collection, along with other collections, in the library's vast underground storage area-served by an elevator for seeking, finding and bringing up what is needed.

The University of Minnesota houses The Tretter Collection. So, if these universities find the collections worth having, I wonder why Rice, etc do not. An why your mayor can not find space. Why is Houston and the community there not interested? I understand that not everyone in our community is interested in learning our history, but there should be enough to support the work.

I don't know much about it—I did join Special Libraries for a few years-in the ’70s but got nothing from it, but I am told someone from ONE Archives attended the Archivists convention in New Orleans and hopefully he got input and got others interested in this segment of archives.

Lee Mentley said...

Is there a list of all GLBTQ Archives & Museums...?

Billy Glover said...

Most are listed in Gayellow Pages. And we tried to make a list for a proposed article on them for an archive publication. I don't know where it is now.

What I really don't understand is why the effort to cooperate has been ignored-I mean there is in theory a webpage for us-a yahoo group, and yet I tried to contact it with no results. I should try to google gay archives and see what I get.
I turned some off since I send emails not just archival news-so it seems Stonewall and Lavender among others do not want emails unless they are only abut archives.

I have wondered why no lgbt publication has done an article and listed the movement/community archives/libraries

(I do understand why some think the emails are a bother, since I don't know how to delete all the previous parts so it takes up a lot of space when we only need the lst two exchanges.)