Laura Lollie Johnson (1939-2001) was born in Beaumont, Texas, but moved to San Antonio in her youth and graduated from Brackenridge High School in 1956. A divorced mother of three, she worked for almost 10 years as a bartender before opening the Kali Club in 1971. Many other bars followed, including the Hypothesis Club (1972-1976), The Zoo Club (1974-1979), Faces (1979-1983), and her longest running establishment, the Noo Zoo Company (1983-1993). The success of her nightclub businesses was credited to her commitment to the San Antonio Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered community, which made up the majority of her customer base. Lollie was also active in the local community groups, including Alamo Human Rights Committee, Lavender Alcalde, and 1st Gay Conference in San Antonio. Additionally, she served as secretary on the Board of Directors of the San Antonio AIDS foundation and was treasurer and vice president of the San Antonio Tavern Guild.
The Lollie Johnson Papers include newspaper clippings, correspondence, printed materials, photographs, negatives, a small notebook, menus, programs, and artifacts. Photographs comprise the largest portion of the collection, recording Lollie’s family and friends, homes, clubs and vacations throughout her lifetime. The photographs taken at her clubs show events such as Halloween parties, open-mic nights, New Year’s Eve parties, and female impersonator shows. Employees and bar patrons are well documented, as are her many house parties. The bulk of the 2-dimensional objects from the collection have been digitized and are available online.
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