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William H. "Bill" Nelson, Jr. and Jean Nelson Collection (The Dallas Way), 1970-2011 | University of North Texas Special Collections

By S. Ivie

Collection Overview

Title: William H. "Bill" Nelson, Jr. and Jean Nelson Collection (The Dallas Way), 1970-2011Add to your cart.
Predominant Dates:1971-1990
ID: 01/AR0842
Extent: 5.0 Boxes
Arrangement: These materials are arranged into three separate series. Series 1: Papers contains the papers and photographs of Bill Nelson and Jean Nelson. Series 2: Audio/Visual contains recorded audio and video materials from Bill Nelson's life. Series 3: Artifacts contains three-dimensional or oversize objects.

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Scope and Contents of the Materials

The poetry, writing and memoirs of Bill Nelson are part of this collection. Also included in this collection are the letters and speeches of Jean Nelson, mainly concerning her son, Bill Nelson, as well as correspondence with Bill’s friend, Mike Anglin. Jean Nelson discusses her life with Bill and after his death, presenting a unique point of view as the mother of a civil rights leader and as someone who lost a loved one to AIDS. Letters of support to Jean Nelson and others as tributes to the life of Bill Nelson are included as well.

Collection Historical Note

William H. Nelson, Jr. (1949-1990), or Bill Nelson, as he was commonly addressed, was a prominent leader in the LGBT rights movement in Dallas during the pivotal years of the AIDS epidemic. Nelson, a former Dallas high school history teacher and coach, was reprimanded after his photograph was spotted in a TWIT (This Week in Texas) publication in 1979, as part of a “Fun-Fest” event for the Democratic Party. In the photograph, Nelson is wearing a March on Washington t-shirt. Nelson fought the reprimand and it was never included in his personnel file. He worked for the school during a span of 10 years without prior incident, receiving an award for teacher of the year in 1974.

Bill was affiliated with the Dallas Gay Alliance, the Dallas Gay Political Caucus, the Foundation for Human Understanding and various other groups. Nelson was also president of the Dallas Gay Alliance during 1984-1987. During these years, Nelson, along with others, formed the beginnings of what became the AIDS Resource Center or Resource Center, as it is known today. In the Dallas area, he was one of the key organizers for the 1979 March on Washington. He was also a founder of Razzle Dazzle Dallas, an annual fundraising event, which continues to this day. Based on ACT UP, out of New York, Gay Urban Truth Squad, or GUTS was another of Nelson’s projects, where he and others raised public awareness on gay rights and AIDS issues through both protests and site installations. Nelson was also president of the Vickery Place Neighborhood Association (North Henderson Neighborhood Association), a member on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Homeowner's League and a member of the Texas Human Rights Foundation.

In 1985 and in 1987, Nelson ran for a seat on the Dallas City Council. In the first City Council run, Lori Palmer won the election. In the second run, in 1987, Nelson received 23,000 votes. During one of these elections, Nelson could not sign one of the candidate forms for the Council because, as an openly gay man, he could not abide by Texas Statute 21.06.

Bill Nelson, along with his partner, Terry Tebedo and their friend, William Waybourn, founded Crossroads Market, a store which supplied magazines, books, antiques and jewelry. Through donations of canned goods for AIDS patients, Crossroads Market marked the beginnings of what would become the food pantry for the AIDS Resource Center

In the Dallas Gay Alliance vs. Parkland Hospital (City of Dallas) case (c. 1988-1990), Nelson, and members of the Dallas Gay Alliance, sued the City of Dallas over discriminatory practices by the hospital towards AIDS patients. AIDS patients were put on waiting lists for health care and some had died because of not receiving treatment. Hundreds of these patients were also assigned to the same doctor, which slowed treatment time.

Nelson passed away in 1990 of AIDS-related complications and was preceded in death by Tebedo in 1988. The Nelson-Tebedo Clinic was named at the AIDS Resource Center in their honor. Jean Nelson, Bill’s mother, participated in gay rights events in memory of her son until her death in 2016.

Administrative Information

Repository: University of North Texas Special Collections
Access Restrictions: This collection contains restricted items.
Use Restrictions: Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Archives and Rare Books department. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Physical Access Note: Collection is housed in the UNT Archives and Rare Book department vault. The UNT Archives and Rare Book department requires a 24 hour notice from patrons in order to page materials from the vault and ready the materials for use. Please contact the UNT Archives and Rare Book department for further information.
Preferred Citation: William H. "Bill" Nelson, Jr. and Jean Nelson Collection (The Dallas Way), University of North Texas Special Collections

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:


Series 1: PapersAdd to your cart.
 
Box 1Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 704218
Folder 1: Historical Poetry Written by Nelson, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 2: Poems, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 3: Jean Nelson, 'What a Son" Letter, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 4: Memories, Clippings, "Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up," 1990-03Add to your cart.
Contains an article which appeared in AIDS Update in March of 1990.
Folder 5: Memories, Dallas City Council, 1985, 1987Add to your cart.
Contains clippings, a Bill Nelson campaign sticker, campaign letters and brochures.
Folder 6: Memories, Dallas City Magazine, November 25, 1985Add to your cart.
 
Folder 7: Memories, Attitude by Charles Swindoll, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 8: Memories, My Unbelievable Stroke at 88, Jean Nelson, January 6, 2011Add to your cart.
 
Folder 9: Memories, House of Representatives Letters from John Bryant, 1990-02, 1990-04Add to your cart.
 
Folder 10: Memories, Jean Nelson Speech, World AIDS Day, John Wesley United Methodist Church, November 28, 2001Add to your cart.
Contains a speech presented to the church by Jean Nelson in honor of the life of Bill Nelson.
Folder 11: Memories, Jean Nelson - Story About Her Life, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 12: Memories, Letter to Jean Nelson from William Waybourn, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 13: Memories, Letter from Vic Basile, February 21, 1990Add to your cart.
Contains a story about Vic Basile's first introduction to Bill Nelson and the impact it has had on his life.
Folder 14: Memories, Letter from Craig Washington, February 21, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 15: Memories, Al Lipscomb Letter, 1990-02Add to your cart.
 
Folder 16: Memories, Letter to Bob Ray Sanders from Jean Nelson, March 16, 1990, March 18, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 17: Memories, Jean Nelson Report on Omega House, undatedAdd to your cart.
Contains Jean Nelson's writing on a Hospice place which cares for AIDS patients.
Folder 18: Memories, Jean Nelson's Speech at the Opening of the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic, 1990Add to your cart.
Contains Jean Nelson's first speech at the opening of the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic as part of the AIDS Resouce Center.
Folder 19: Memories, Diane Ragsdale Letter on the Life of Bill Nelson, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 20: Memories, Fax Letter from Lori Palmer, February 22, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 21: Memories, Fax Letter from Vic Basile, February 21, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 22: Memories, Forwarded Fax Letter to William Waybourn from Craig Washington, February 21, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 23: Memories, W.T. White High School Welcome Back Flyer, Clipping, Obituary and Honoring Past VPNA Presidents, 1972, March 3, 1989, February 22, 1990, 2006Add to your cart.
Contains a flyer from W.T. White High School welcoming the former student Bill Nelson back to the school as a teacher, a clipping from the Dallas Times Herald on Nelson's battle with AIDS, his obituary and a brochure with a biography on Nelson's life, showcasing his work as a past president of the Vickery Place Neighborhood Association.
Folder 24: Memories, Retrospective Letter to Bill Nelson from Jean Nelson, September 20, 1994Add to your cart.
 
Folder 25: Memories, David Cain Tribute Letter to Bill Nelson, February 22, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 26: Memories, Ann Richards Tribute Letter to Bill Nelson, February 22, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 27: Memories, Bill Hobby Tribute Letter to Bill Nelson, February 22, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 28: Memories, E-Mail Correspondence About the Life of Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo, 2000Add to your cart.
Contains correspondence between Karen Estes and family members of Terry Tebedo who mention his life growing up in Michigan and his life in Dallas with responses from both William Waybourn and Dick Weaver.
Folder 29: Bill and Jean Nelson Correspondence to Mike Anglin, 1980-1981, 1985-1986, 1989Add to your cart.
Contains postcards from Bill Nelson's trips to New York, Europe, the Mediterranean and Spain, his letters, as well as a letter from Jean Nelson.
Folder 30: Black Tie Dinner, Humanitarian Award - Mike Anglin Speech; Jean Nelson Letter, 1986, November 20, 2006Add to your cart.
 
Folder 31: Black Tie Dinner, Humanitarian Award, Envelope from Jean Nelson, 2006-11Add to your cart.
 
Folder 32: Photos, Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo, c. 1979-1987, 1989, 2012Add to your cart.
Contains photographs primarily of Bill Nelson, as well as some color prints of Terry Tebedo and Jean Nelson. John Thomas and others also appear in the photos, as well as a photo of Tebedo when he was ill with AIDS.
Folder 33: Photos, Black and White Prints, undatedAdd to your cart.
Contains 3x5 black and white prints, with most of the photography done for a modeling agency.
Folder 34: Photos, Quilt, 1995-12Add to your cart.
Contains color photo prints of the AIDS Memorial Quilt as well as a patch of the quilt dedicated to Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo.
Folder 35: Photograph Envelope, Message from Jean Nelson, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 36: Reprimand 1, Letters, 1979Add to your cart.
Contains letters from the inside front cover of the reprimand notebook.
Folder 37: Reprimand 2, Notebook, 1979Add to your cart.
Contains the September 14th, 1979 issue of TWIT (This Week in Texas) showing Bill Nelson's photograph on page 59, Nelson's formal grievance procedure to have the reprimand removed, case materials and references in defense of Nelson's grievance, Principal Maple's letter denying the grievance, Nelson's formal appeal of the grievance to the Dallas Independent School District, letters concerning DISD involvement in the appeal, letters of support for Bill's grievance, Principal Maple's letter withdrawing the reprimand, as well as the DISD Assistant Superintendent congratulating Bill Nelson.
Box 2Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 704219
Folder 1: Book from Bill Nelson's Landlady in Paris, 1971Add to your cart.
 
Folder 2: Journals from Paris, 1971Add to your cart.

A transcription of this diary with a contextual note by Nelson's friends William Waybourn and Mike Anglin is presented in a digital format on the Portal to Texas History.

Identifier: UNTA_AR0842-001

Series 2: Audio/VisualAdd to your cart.
 
Box 3Add to your cart.
 
Folder 1: Bill Nelson Interview, Audio Cassette, undatedAdd to your cart.
Contains an audio cassette tape with an interview conducted with Bill Nelson by Linda Mitchell's sister.
Folder 2: Bill Nelson Memorial, Audio Cassette, February 22, 1990Add to your cart.
Contains an audio cassette recording on Bill Nelson's Memorial Services at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas.
Folder 3: Picture/Video Edit, Joey Kaumo Intro Film/Video, undatedAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 4: Don's Address to the Texas Human Rights Foundation, February 24, 1996Add to your cart.
Contains a 3.5 diskette with Don Baker's speech to the Texas Human Rights Foundation.
Folder 5: Nightwatch with Charlie Rose, Bill Nelson on Issue of AIDS "Quarantines," KERA, 1986Add to your cart.
Contains a DVD recording of an interview with Charlie Rose as part of the Nightwatch series in 1986. Bill Nelson and Congressman Gilmore of Ohio are featured in the recording.
Folder 6: Bill Nelson Obituary, Story, News Addition, KERA, February 23, 1990, March 16, 1990Add to your cart.
Contains a DVD recording of two News Addition segments on the life of Bill Nelson.
Folder 7: Bill Nelson, Dallas City Council Election, 1985Add to your cart.
Contains a DVD recording of footage from Bill Nelson's run for Dallas City Council.
Folder 8: Bill Nelson, Dallas City Council Election, 1987Add to your cart.
Contains a DVD recording of footage from Bill Nelson's run for Dallas City Council.
Folder 9: Goodbye, Bill Nelson, 1990-02Add to your cart.
Contains a DVD recording of Bill Nelson's Memorial Services.
Folder 10: Bill Nelson's Paris Journal, Vols. 1 and 2, 1971Add to your cart.
Contains the full transcription of Bill Nelson's Paris Journal in DVD-RW format.
Folder 11: Bill Nelson's Paris Journal, Vols. 1 and 2, 1971Add to your cart.
Contains the full transcription of Bill Nelson's Paris Journal in CD-R format.
Series 3: ArtifactsAdd to your cart.
 
Box 4Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 642672
Folder 1: Sign Carried by Jean Nelson in Houston Gay Rights Parade, 1989Add to your cart.
 
Folder 2: Layouts Used for Bill Nelson's AIDS Memorial Quilt, 1994Add to your cart.
Contains collage layouts of Bill Nelson's AIDS Memorial Quilt designed by Jean Nelson and Bill's sister, Sheila.
Box 5Add to your cart.
 
Barcode: 706606
Folder 1: Bill Nelson's Grand Marshal Medallion from the Texas Freedom Parade, 1989Add to your cart.
 
Folder 2: Memorial Service Sign-In Book, February 22, 1990Add to your cart.
 

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