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Harold Hanson

June 4, 2013


Hudson, NY


Recorded by

Emma de Campo

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This interview with Harold Hanson was conducted in Hudson, NY on June 5, 2013, as part of the Oral History Summer School.

In this interview, Harold talks about his Childhood growing up in Pontiac Michigan, as 1 of 5 children. He discusses the migration of his father's family from Norway to the United States shortly after the First World War, and the movement of his mother's family from the East to West Coast of America. He talks about how the combination of his parent's experience of migration, growing up in the Mid-West, and Lutheranism influenced his own values. He also mentions that he is not a religious person, and may be an atheist. Harold talks about his first job at the age of 19 with General Motors in Detroit, and the realisation at this same time, that he was a gay man. He talks about moving in 1960 at the age of 21 to New York City, beginning to explore the gay clubs of Manhattan, and the regular police harassment that occurred at these bars. Harold talks about his successful career in the New York City finance industry and his establishment of a monthly Investment Management and Marketing newsletter. He also talks about setting up an Artist Management business in the late 1970's, and his experiences managing and travelling with performing artists throughout the United States and Canada. Harold talks about his work in the antique industry, beginning in 1977 when he opened his first antique store in Brooklyn Heights. He talks about the antique stores he established and ran in the Upper East Side of New York City; Hudson, Catskill and Albany New York. He also discusses his involvement as the publisher and editor of both the Antique Guide to North East New York, and the North East Journal of Antiques and Art. Harold talks about his interest and involvement in supporting people with AIDS, as the Administrator Officer of the AIDS Council of North East New York and as Co-founder of the Wellness Network Capital Region, a self-support organisation for people with HIV and AIDS. He  also discusses his participation as an Officer of the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club, a progressive democratic club largely made up of people who were gay. Harold talks about his work as a Property Manager in Hudson, and how his concern about segregation between the black and white communities, led to him employing and renting out properties to black individuals. During this time he met and employed Larry, the first man he ever loved. He talks about their relationship, and the support Larry has and continues to provide him. Harold talks about how inequity and segregation continues today in America. He also talks about his enjoyment of meeting all kinds of people, and that by making even the slightest effort you can find something worthwhile to Exchange with almost anyone you meet.

This interview may be of interest to people with an interest in the antique industry in New York State between 1977- 2013, the experience of being a gay man in New York City, and segregation between black and white communities in Hudson.

Interviewer Bio:
Emma de Campo

Interviewer: Emma de Campo has a background in community radio, audio storytelling and environmental education. She is from an Anglo-Italian background, and identifies as a lesbian, feminist atheist. Emma lives and works in Melbourne, Australia and has an interest in how oral history and radio storytelling can intersect.

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

Part of this interview may be played in a radio broadcast or podcast.

Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”

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