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Stewart Butler papers

 Collection
Identifier: LaRC-1099

Scope and Contents

The Stewart Butler papers contain letters, notes, minutes, ephemera, and other materials from his career as a political activist. The collection has been divided into the following series:

Series 1: LAGPAC: Butler's papers from his work with LAGPAC and NORCO/LAGPAC are arranged into two subseries. They are then arranged chronologically by document type. General files contain press releases, inter-organizational correspondence, flyers, and other materials related to the day to day work of LAGPAC are arranged chronologically. Organizational documents are arranged chronologically by document type (i.e. minutes, bylaws, internal elections, etc.). The documents of the Anti-discrimination Ordinance Committee are arranged chronologically, followed by election questionnaire and endorsements and membership information.

Series 2: Celebration - Louisiana State Gay Conference: This series consists of Butler's work as an organizer for and participant in the Louisiana State Gay Conference, also known as Celebration. Butler worked with the conference from 1982-1990, and attended the conference throughout the 1990s. The contents have been arranged chronologically and contain conference packets, programs, ephemera, registration information, correspondence, materials pertaining to various workshops, and various contracts with performers and vendors.

Series 3: Southeastern Conference for Lesbians and Gay Men (SECLGM): Butler also worked with the Southeastern Conference for Lesbians and Gay Men as an organizer and secretary. Materials in the series relate to individual conferences in various locations across the Southeast. As part of his responsibilities, Butler also compiled a directory of gay businesses and organizations in the Southeast by state. Conference materials have been arranged chronologically in one subseries. In the other subseries, publications, newsletters, flyers, and advertisements sent to Butler to be included in the directory have been arranged alphabetically by state.

Series 4: Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG): Butler also volunteered with the local New Orleans chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG). He helped organize the local PFLAG convention, served on the board, planned workshops, and helped select scholarship recipients. This series contains convention materials, post-convention surveys, newsletters, press releases, meeting minutes, scholarship information, and workshop materials pertaining to homophobia in schools.

Series 5: National March on Washington for Lesbians and Gay Rights: Butler participated in the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987 and the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation in 1993. Both events are commonly referred to as the March on Washington. He acted as an organizer and fundraiser for the New Orleans Committee for the National March on Washington on both occasions. Materials in this series include national and local correspondence, photographs, and ephemera.

Series 6: Organizations, events, and fundraisers: This series is arranged alphabetically by organization name. This series includes materials from political and social organizations both local, statewide, and national. The materials include newsletters, programs, correspondence, ephemera, and church bulletins. Local and regional organizations include the New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus, the Louisiana AIDS Community Network, NO/AIDS, and the Metropolitan Community churches of Acadiana and Baton Rouge, among others.

Series 7: Personal Correspondence: This series mostly comprises Butler’s correspondence with friends and family, as well as some informal correspondence with activists, politicians, and organization members. It also contains a single box with research materials about the Upstairs Lounge fire, including a manuscript commented on by Butler.

Series 8: Photographs: The photographs included in the collection span from the 1936 until 2010. Early photographs include those of Butler’s immediate family, military service, college years in Alaska, and early years living in New Orleans. This series also includes multiple photographs of parties held at the Faerie Playhouse, the home Butler shared with his partner Alfred Doolittle, for Mardi Gras, Southern Decadence, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and other occasions. Also included are photographs of various protests, including some sponsored by LAGPAC, NO/AIDS, and other local political organizations, as well as photographs from LGBTQ social and recreational organizations.

Dates

  • 1936 - 2017
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 1993

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Access is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Physical rights are retained by the Louisiana Research Collection. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

Considered one of the more prominent LGBTQ activists in New Orleans, Stewart Butler (1930-2020) began working in local and state politics by helping with voter registration drives in the 1970s. In 1980, Butler and other activists formed the Louisiana Lesbian and Gay Political Action Caucus (LAGPAC) as well as the New Orleans Regional Chapter (NORCO) in 1982. LAGPAC was created to advocate for lesbian and gay issues in Louisiana and New Orleans, especially police harassment, AIDS healthcare, and a Gay Rights Ordinance, and promote political candidates who supported civil rights issues. Butler worked with LAGPAC, community leaders, and politicians on each attempt to add language including protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender to the Civil Rights Ordinance in 1984 and 1986 before succeeding in 1991. Throughout his membership with the organization, Butler served as co-chair in addition to several terms as secretary. His duties included constructing a membership directory, creating questionnaires and interviewing candidates for political office, compiling membership votes for candidate endorsements, and writing and distributing organizational issues and positions to members.

Butler also helped organize political events and conventions. He worked on the Louisiana State Gay Conference, also called Celebration, from 1983-1991, the Southeastern Conference for Lesbians and Gay Men from 1983-1990, and the local Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) convention in 1993. Butler gave a workshop at each conference on the topic of homophobia in schools, and helped organize raffle tickets, venues, food and drink, and other logistics. He was active in compiling a directory of gay businesses and organizations in the Southeast for the SECLGM. In addition to helping organize the PFLAG conference in New Orleans, Butler served on the local chapter’s Board of Directors. Butler also helped organize the New Orleans Committee for the March on Washington and participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987 and 1993.

Butler was active in other local, regional, and national political and social organizations. He worked closely with the Louisiana AIDS Community Network, NO/AIDS, and the Lesbian and Gay Community Center in New Orleans as well as the Human Rights Campaign Fund and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He was a supporter of the Metropolitan Community Churches in Louisiana, the New Orleans Gay Men’s Chorus, as well as multiple social organizations.

Stewart Butler was born in Mobile, AL in 1930 and died on March 5, 2020. He lived in New Orleans, LA and Carville, LA before attending Louisiana State University, the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and serving in the U.S. Army as a 1st Lieutenant. In 1964, he returned to New Orleans and in 1973 he met Alfred Doolittle, who would become his life partner. Butler and Doolittle bought a house on Esplanade Avenue that became known as the Faerie Playhouse, and served as the venue for many LGBTQ organizations and political meetings. Butler has received the ACLU-LAGPAC Gittings-Hays award, the Louisiana Council for Equal Rights award, the Human Rights Campaign Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service, and the 2004 Equality Louisiana’s Community First Award.

Extent

35 Boxes

17 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

The Stewart Butler papers have been arranged into eight series. Series 1: Louisiana Lesbian and Gay Political Action Caucus(LAGPAC) is arranged into two subseries, LAGPAC and NORCO/LAGPAC. Each subseries is arranged by document type and chronologically. Series 2: Celebration – Louisiana State Gay Conference is arranged chronologically by date. Series 3: Southeastern Conference for Lesbians & Gay Men (SECLGM) is arranged into two subseries, SECLGM conference materials and SECLGM organizational resource project. The conference materials are arranged chronologically, and the organizational resource project is arranged alphabetically by state. Series 4: Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is arranged chronologically with the exception of Box 21 which contains the convention organizer handbook from 1993. Series 5: National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights are arranged in two sub-series. The first sub-series contains the materials from the New Orleans committee for the March on Washington and they are arranged chronologically. The second sub-series contains general March on Washington materials. It is also arranged chronologically. The sixth series, Organizations, events, and fundraisers, is arranged alphabetically by name. Series 7: Personal Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Photographs, the final series, has been split into personal and professional photographs and arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Stewart Butler.

Related Materials

Duplicates of political ephemera, event invitations, and flyers have been moved to the Ephemera Collection.

Stewart Butler also donated the papers of Rich Magill. They have been converted into Manuscripts Collection 1107.



Other related collections: LGBT Community Center of New Orleans records (MSS 1072), Skip Ward papers (MSS 1074), Alan Robinson papers (MSS 1104), Rich Magill papers (MSS 1107)

Processing Information

Physical processing by Andrew Mullins, III, Madison Hayes, Michael Ossorguine, James Scott, and Carlo Vescovi. Supervised by Andrew Mullins, III.
Title
Stewart Butler papers finding aid
Status
Completed
Author
Andrew Mullins, III
Date
2017 April 4
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Edition statement
Edition 1.0, completed finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Tulane University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jones Hall Room 202
6801 Freret Street
New Orleans 70118 US