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Botts, Charles | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Botts, Charles

Historical Note:

In the 1970s, Charles Botts began collecting, preserving, and archiving documents, publications, and other items  of historical significance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities of Houston , southeast Texas, and the United States. He did so informally and eventually under the roof of the Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church (RMCC) of Houston, Texas. Mr. Botts amassed a significant collection of items related to the LGBT community and its history. Upon his death in 1994, a handful of dedicated volunteers continued Charles Botts’ work. Larry Criscione became active at this time and is primarily responsible for the expansion of the collection. A great effort was made to assure that the collection is accessible and useful to students, researchers, and journalists needing access to this unique body of information. The volunteers have also put together displays from the materials for numerous functions, in order to educate the public on different aspects of LGBT History.

In 2001 tropical storm Allison flooded large portions of Houston. The church library including the LGBT material collected by Charles Botts were affected as was everything in the church. It was after this storm that Leif Hatlen became involved with the collection. Due to water damage caused by the storm, some of the library materials was destroyed, much of the rest of the materials was water damaged and any system of filing or sorting was lost. Leif began to re-sort the materials, developing lists and indexes in the process. Later in 2005, Mike Kelley (now deceased) began to volunteer with the collection and developed computerized indexes that has been used for the magazines and to organize the individual collections.

In 2011, when it became apparent that Resurrection church’s goals and intentions with respect to the collection differed from those of the volunteers, Larry Criscione formed and incorporated the Botts Collection of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History, Inc. (Botts Collection). The organization moved to a new location and continues collecting and cataloging items of historical importance to the region’s LGBT community.

Note Author: Maria Ferreira

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