LGBTQIA+ Material in Criss Library Archives & Special Collections
Criss Library Archives & Special Collections
Criss Library Archives & Special Collections ensures UNO’s unique, rare, and specialized collections of institutional archives, personal papers, organizational records, rare books, and other material is available for public use.
The Fredrick J. Zydek papers primarily document his work and career as a poet. Zydek’s collection thoroughly documents his poetry with a folder of material about each of his poems containing drafts and final versions of the poems as well as correspondence with publishers when the poems were published, which was frequently the case (15 cubic feet). Many of Zydek’s poems were published and they covered a range of topics. The collection also includes his short stories. Folders of material about Omaha’s Metropolitan Community Church, personal correspondence, and other topics are also part of the collection. The collection also includes information about courses Zydek taught for the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the College of St. Mary in Omaha. A scrapbook about Omaha’s Metropolitan Community Church where Zydek and his spouse Garold F. Storm were founding pastors contains news clippings about the founding and early years of the church in Omaha. Two boxes containing bound pamphlet binders primarily of Zydek’s class notes from his student days as well as his poetry and short stories are also part of the collection.
The records of the Imperial Court of Nebraska (ICON) include photographs, albums documenting twelve of ICON’s reigns, newsletters circa 1996-2000, and one binder containing other ICON documents such as copies of incorporation documents, correspondence, and other material. The photographs are largely unidentified and require arrangement and description. The albums for twelve of ICON’s reigns include programs, fliers, news clippings, photographs, and other material documenting the reigns of the empresses, emperors, and their courts.
The papers of Prof. Meredith Bacon document her research into LGBTQIA+ topics over many years and include transgender topics such as gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder. Her papers also document her transition from Wally Bacon to Meredith Bacon through media coverage along with correspondence from family, friends, colleagues, and strangers. An album of photos and negatives documenting Bacon’s dressing as a woman and posing for photos from approximately 1970 to the early 1990s is also part of the collection. The collection also includes documentation of Bacon’s involvement with national organizations, networks, and local Omaha and regional activities.
The Nebraska AIDS Project (NAP) collection is primarily composed of photographs in print along with negatives and some digital images. The topics of the photographs include a variety of NAP activities including the annual AIDS Walk, Night of 1,000 Stars, volunteer appreciation events, other events, as well as NAP’s former building. Celebrities participating in events include Olympian Greg Louganis, actress Shirley MacLaine, and comedian Joan Rivers. Documents are primarily related to marketing and include posters, programs for events, and other information.
The Terry Sweeney and Pat Phalen Papers document some of their interests and life together in Omaha, Nebraska in the late 20th and early 21 centuries including participating in Marches on Washington (1987, 1993), writing the regional newsletter/magazine The New Voice for a decade, Phalen’s reign as ICON Emperor, the Omaha leather scene, safe sex and HIV/AIDS education, workplace activism, and other activities of the local LGBTQ community. The collection includes newsletters, event programs, a photo album from Omaha Pride 1987, photographs, signs from protests and rallies as well as memorabilia including buttons, pins, medallions, a sash from Omaha Pride in 1991, hats, and other artifacts.
During Pat Phalen’s reign as Imperial Court of Nebraska (ICON) Emperor VI he was known as the Flamingo Emperor and Sweeney was the Prince Royale. Phalen collected flamingos and their likeness can be found throughout the memorabilia such as his crown as well as in the scrapbook documenting his reign as Emperor 6. As part of the community service of the reign, Project Concern was created and led by Sweeney to provide safe sex and HIV/AIDS education. Project Concern was active for two years. Some of the collection’s other notable artifacts include: a personalized brick from Omaha’s Diamond Bar presented to Pat Phalen from the bar; the Nebraska banners from the Marches on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights; Pride Week at US West (1988-1989); and others.
The records of the Queer and Trans Services (formerly Gender and Sexual Orientation) student agency include posters and fliers, handmade signs for protests or rallies, training and orientation material, office files, photos, and other material. Some of the handmade signs were made and used in response to an itinerant evangelical preacher who frequently visits campus and espouses his beliefs that include condemnation and hate outside of the Milo Bail Student Center. The collection documents the agency’s organization as part of UNO Student Government as well as its activities and the activities of other campus and Omaha-area LGBTQIA groups.
New material added 2016-01-22: The binder contains material created and collected by the GSO and Women’s Resource Center Student Agencies. The binder is particularly notable for including a document from the 1970s about the initial organization of the Women’s Resource Center.
New material added 2016-03-28: Five signs created by members of GSO to use in cheering on other students during the 2015 UNO Homecoming Battleship competition. The signs read: "We're here and we're queer," "Let the gaymes begin," "GSO," and "Get wet and have fun!!" One of the signs does not include text and features an outline of an actual student's head and arm along with the symbols for male, female, and intersex or transgender. The signs were constructed on white poster board using markers, glitter, feathers, and other applique.