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Terry Sweeney and Pat Phalen Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-0077

Content Description

The Terry Sweeney and Pat Phalen Papers document some of their interests and life together in Omaha, Nebraska in the late 20th and early 21st centuries including participating in Marches on Washington (1987, 1993), writing the regional newsletter/magazine The New Voice for a decade, Phalen’s reign as ICON Emperor, the Omaha leather scene, safe sex and HIV/AIDS education, workplace activism, and other activities of the local LGBTQ community. The collection includes newsletters, event programs, Jerry Peck's photo album from Omaha Pride 1987, photographs, signs from protests and rallies as well as memorabilia including buttons, pins, medallions, a sash from Omaha Pride in 1991, hats, and other artifacts. During Pat Phalen’s reign as Imperial Court of Nebraska (ICON) Emperor VI he was known as the Flamingo Emperor and Sweeney was the Prince Royale. Phalen's moniker as the Flamingo Emperor translates into their likenesses being found throughout the memorabilia such as on his crown, buttons as well as in the scrapbook documenting his reign as Emperor 6. As part of the community service of the reign, Project Concern was created and led by Sweeney to provide safe sex and HIV/AIDS education. Project Concern was active for two years. Some of the collection’s other notable artifacts include: a personalized brick from Omaha’s Diamond Bar presented to Pat Phalen from the bar; the Nebraska banners from the Marches on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights; Pride Week at US West (1988-1989); and others.

New material added 2016-07-19: Includes photographs, a complete run of The New Voice magazine, posters, Christian teaching material, programs, ephemera, and other material.

New material added 2016-11-16: This accrual for the Terry Sweeney and Pat Phalen Papers is ephemera related to Project Concern including: a flier and a wrapper holding a condom and lube; an HIV and AIDS prevention poster from San Diego; and a plaque from the Imperial Court of Nebraska recognizing the work of Project Concern. In the early days of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, HIV and AIDS prevention material specific to Omaha or Nebraska had not yet been produced and so posters and other material from other parts of the country were used.

New material added 2017-05-01: The accession includes a photo album documenting 1986 Gay Pride Nebraska festivities, along with fliers, posters, other documents, tshirts, and sweatshirts documenting LGBTQ events and organizations in Omaha.

New material added 2018-09-01: The two VHS videotapes document events from the life of Terry Sweeney and Pat Phalen. Tape one is footage from the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights including the memorial for Harvey Milk at the Congressional Cemetery and scenes of various Washington buildings and monuments. Tape two is from circa 1986 with footage of Christmas gift opening with Terry Sweeney’s family (at Delories’ home), at Sam’s (believed to be Sam Mandina), the River City Mixed Chorus performing at Union Pacific headquarters and the River City Mixed Chorus (RCMC) holiday concert at UNO’s Strauss Performing Arts Center.

Material from this collection that has been digitized is available online at


  • circa 1975-2016


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-712 through 84-712.09), and other relevant regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Nebraska Omaha assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, Archives & Special Collections will provide information about copyright owners and related information. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity. Further information about copyright policy is available at


7.06 Cubic Feet (11 boxes, 2 folders) : VHS tapes; Posters; Programs; Newsletters; Photographs; Medallions; Buttons; Pins; Fliers; Posters; Textiles (tshirts, sweatshirts)


Collection is currently being arranged and described.

Custodial History

Collected and created by Terry Sweeney and Pat Phalen.

Custodial History

The photo albums from Omaha Pride in 1986 and 1987 belonged to Jerry Peck, a friend of Terry Sweeney and Pat Phalen. When Peck became ill with AIDS, he gave the albums to Sweeney and Phalen for safekeeping.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Terry Sweeney-Phalen on June 22, June 24, and November 16, 2016; May 1, 2017; and September 1, 2018.

Separated Materials

Plaques were loaned to UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections to be photographed and most were returned to the donor.
A complete set of The New Voice was removed from the collection and is part of the Archives & Special Collections book collection and is described in the library catalog.
A 1993 issue of Times of the Heartland signed by friend Dick Brown was removed from the collection and is part of the Archives & Special Collections book collection and is described in the library catalog.


Gift made in honor of Patrick Daniel Phalen.



Terry Sweeney and Pat Phalen Papers
Amy Schindler; Angela Kroeger
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
4th edition

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository

Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States