The Houston Metropolitan Research Center recently acquired the collection of Mildred Hausinger and Marguerite Austin. It offers a view into their public and private lives as a lesbian couple in Houston during the 20th century. Processing archivist Abra Schnur recently completed the organization of the collection and shared their story with us.
Mildred and Margy had been together since the summer of 1948. The story goes that Mildred was out with friends when she saw the most beautiful lady in a nurse’s uniform walking towards them. Mildred asked her friend to invite this nurse, Margy, to a party later that evening. Margy went to the party and spent the evening dancing the night away with Mildred. Mildred’s friend made the comment that she didn’t waste any time, and Mildred replied, “I didn’t intend to.”
In 1956 Margy and Mildred began long careers with the Spring Branch Independent School District; Margy as a school nurse and Mildred as a tennis coach. The couple bought a home in the Braeburn Glen subdivision off the Southwest Freeway in 1958.
Mildred and Margy loved to spend their free time at their bayou house on Bastrop Bayou. Mildred loved fishing and hunting and Margy enjoyed gardening and photography. They retired from Spring Branch ISD in 1979, sold their home in Houston and moved to their land in Somerville near Brenham, Texas in 1980.
Throughout their lives, they took several vacations; alone, and with friends and family. They devoted their retirement to traveling across the United States in their RV during the 1980s. In the 1990s they focused on targeted trips and cruises.
Mildred and Margy were never “out” to their family, though it was clear from correspondence and photographs that there was an unspoken understanding and acceptance. They had an active social life, inviting friends and family to Bastrop Bayou or Somerville for get-togethers and participating in local LGBT potlucks and reunions.
Mildred passed away in 2013 and Margy in 2017.
Their collection consists of correspondence and family records; photographs that document their childhood, school, pets, life at home, LGBT house parties, potlucks, anniversaries, and birthday gatherings; audiovisual material, and objects such as Margy’s nursing pins and Mildred’s Spring Branch Memorial High School stadium blanket.
Below, you'll find additional resources available through the Houston Metropolitan Research Center:
- 12 Fighting Years: homosexuals in Houston, 1969-1981, thesis by Bruce Remington 305.90664 R388. Although limited in scope, this is most probably the most complete written history of the community in Houston.
- M. Robert Schwab Collection
- Robert Schwab was a civil rights attorney and longtime gay activist. In 1976, he founded the Houston Human Rights Foundation which became the Texas Human Rights Foundation in 1978. He was the first president of THRF and was the driving force behind its initiation of litigation to declare Texas Penal Code Sec. 21.06 unconstitutional. He died of AIDS in 1983. The collection consists of one box of writings, press clippings concerning Robert Schwab and his activities within the Gay Rights movement in Houston and with the Texas Human Rights Foundation. The collection includes; official materials from the case of Baker v. Wade and the associated media campaign including audio tapes. Snapshots of Schwab and friends; portrait of Donald F. Baker. 1970s & 1980s”
- Log Cabin Republicans Collection
- Incorporation papers of the Texas Log Cabin Republicans-1993, Incorporation papers of the Houston Chapter-1995, Meeting Agendas Sep-Nov, 1994; Jan-Feb 1995, Log On v.1 no.1 (SEP) 1994; v.1 no.2 (OCT) 1994; v.1 no.3 (DEC) 1994; v.2 no.1 (JAN) 1995; v.2 no.2 (FEB) 1995; v.2 no.3 (MAR) 1995, Meeting notices Nov 1993; Jan-Mar 1994; Jul-Oct 1994, Blank letter head, blank membership application RG A 0013 (4S/69/I) “A simple matter of justice” 1993 LGBT March on Washington. Films Incorporated film from HPL film collection.
- Vertical Files “Homosexuality” for 1978-1993. Although the terminology is outdated these files include clippings from Houston newspapers regarding events that affected the LGBT community. There is also two thesis papers, on the Houston Pride parade in the Houston vertical file for “Events-Parades” that might also be of interest.
For more information on the collection contact the Texas Room in the Julia Ideson Building at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 832-939-1662.