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Lesbians and Bisexual Women

Selected Primary Sources in the SSC and Smith College Archives

Note: This guide includes women who identify themselves as lesbian or bisexual women. There is another guide for "Women Companions and Female Friendship," available in the SSC.

PERSONAL PAPERS

Joann Aalfs (1923 - )
Papers, 1972-1983 (ongoing)
.25 linear ft. (1 box)
Women's rights advocate. This first installment of Joann Aalf's papers contains records and printed materials of the New Bedford Women's Center (founded circa 1969), of which Aalfs was a member. She kept complete and highly detailed records that provide excellent documentation of the beginnings of this grassroots women's organization, the personal and political dimensions of the problems its members sought to address and remedy, as well as the economic, social and cultural context in which it existed.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.]

Martha Ackelsberg(1946 - )
Papers, 1970s-1990s (ongoing)
4.5 linear ft. (5 boxes)
Professor, political science, Feminist, Anarchist, Lesbian activist. Collection documents Ackelsberg's involvement in Northampton, Massachusetts affordable housing and sustainable development initiatives, including materials pertaining to the displacement and relocation of tenants living in Smith College-owned buildings, to make way for the new Ford Engineering Building. Materials relating to Ackelsberg's involvement in Jewish women's groups and projects.
[Note: Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice. This collection has not been fully processed.]

 Joan E. Biren in Dyke, Virginia, 1975  (self-portrait). Photo by Joan E. Biren (JEB).
Joan E. Biren in Dyke, Virginia, 1975 (self-portrait). Photo by Joan E. Biren (JEB). (Joan Biren Papers)

Dolores Alexander (1931-2008)
Papers, 1945-1998 (ongoing)
25.5 linear ft. (21 boxes)
Writer; Reporter; Lesbian activist. The Papers consist of correspondence, writings, and other documents pertaining to Alexander's work as a writer (freelance and as employed by Time, Inc.); files pertaining to Alexander's activism in NOW, Women Against Pornography, and to broader feminist and lesbian issues; files documenting the history of Mother Courage Restaurant in New York; books and audiovisual materials on the subject of achieving financial independence, and Alexander's personal financial information and records. A small amount of biographical information is also included.
[Note: Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice]
View Finding Aid

Batya Bauman (1929 - )
Papers, 1947-2005
5.75 linear ft. (8 boxes)
Animal welfare advocate; Ecofeminist; Feminist; Lesbian activist; Editor; Writer. Before becoming an activist in animal and ecofeminist concerns, Bauman was active in the 1970s and 1980s in New York City's feminist and lesbian communities, having co-founded Gay Women's Alternative and Lilith, a Jewish feminist magazine, as well as having been associated with Womanbooks, one of the first and largest women's bookstores in the country. Papers document her early life and activism in the realms of lesbian feminism, Jewish feminism, and animal rights.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.]
View Finding Aid

Alison Bechdel (1960 - )
Papers, 1984-2003 (ongoing)
13.25 linear ft. (20 boxes)
Artist, Lesbian business. The Alison Bechdel Papers include business correspondence; financial information; character and topic development files, for syndicated comic strips Dykes to Watch Out For and Servants to the Cause; post-syndication/pre-publication edits for Bechdel's book, Dykes to Watch Out For; press interviews, reviews, and press releases; and and a broad range of text, sketches, and notes that formed the basis for Bechdel's work from the mid-1980s through the early 2000s.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.]

Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz
Papers, 1956-2006 (ongoing)
19.5 linear ft. (13 boxes)
Lesbian activists; Teacher, Health and Physical Education; Professor; Counselor. The Ruthie Berman and Connie Kurtz Papers include personal correspondence and emails, scrapbooks, photographs, and files related to gay and lesbian rights, same-sex marriage, and women's rights. The collection also includes audiovisual materials, production notes, and public relations materials pertaining to the film documentary about the couple: Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House (2002).
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.]
View Finding Aid

Joan E. Biren (JEB)
Papers, 1944- (ongoing)
92.5 linear ft.
Filmmaker, Photographer, Lesbian activist. The Papers document her professional, public and personal life. They include correspondence, photographs, writings, notes, project files, subject files, fliers and publicity materials, journal and newspaper articles, newsletters, audiovisual materials, transcripts of interviews, and memorabilia. The bulk of the papers date from 1975 to 2003 and focus on Biren’s photographic and film work. Major topics include photography, film, lesbianism, Judaism, Jewish lesbians, feminism, lesbian and gay rights, women's collectives, and anti-nuclear movements. In addition to Biren's own photographs, within the "Lesbian Images" subject files there is a large collection of postcards, photographs and art with various lesbian-related themes including pulp fiction covers from the 1950s and 1960s, women’s labor, women’s friendship, nudes, sex, lesbian bars, gay pride, and promotional cards for musicians and films. Notable correspondents include Audre Lorde, Alison Bechdel, Tee Corrine, and Barbara Smith.
[Note: Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore some portions may be difficult to use.]

(Noel) Phyllis Birkby (1932-1994)
Papers, 1932-1994
50 linear ft. (92 boxes)
Architect, artist, and lesbian feminist activist. She was also the unofficial archivist for a notable circle of New York lesbians, including Kate Millett, Jill Johnston, Sydney Abbot, and Barbara Love and documented lesbian individuals and activities through film, oral histories, and photographs. The papers include writings, personal correspondence, memorabilia, clippings, subject files, and journals, oral histories, films, and photographs.
View Finding Aid

Jan Clausen (1950 - )
Papers, 1907-2007 (ongoing)
26.75 linear ft. (24 boxes)
Poet, Novelist, Social reform advocate, Professor, Writer, Feminist. Materials documenting Clausen's career as a lesbian feminist poet, novelist, and writer of non-fiction; her participation in feminist, social justice, anti-nuclear, prison reform, and gay rights activism; and her family life and her relationship with former partner, Elly Bulkin. The correspondence in this collection is particularly strong in its frank discussion of the confluence of feminist theory and personal experience, as are Clausen's diaries. In addition to correspondence between Clausen and Elly Bulkin, there is also correspondence between Clausen and friend/filmmaker, Sandy Smith; letters from former significant other, Richard Garmise; and family correspondence.
[Note: Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies. Portions of collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.This collection has not been fully processed.]

Diana Davies (1938 - )
Papers, 1960s-1996 (ongoing)
17 linear ft. (57 boxes)
Musician; Photographer; Artist; Theater worker. Papers consist primarily of Davies' photographs of individuals and groups, musicians, artists, political activists in the civil rights, peace, anti-poverty, and feminist events (marches, demonstrations, conferences, etc.); celebrities, musicians, politicians, and street people. Included is material related to her publication Photojourney: Photographs; fliers, broadsides; memorabilia; and artwork.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.]
View Finding Aid

Margaret G. Frantz (1922 - )
Papers, 1958-2005 (ongoing)
19.25 linear ft. (16 boxes)
Professor, Pacifist, Labor reform advocate. The collection includes correspondence, clippings, and articles, with a substantial amount from author and close friend Jessica Mitford. Materials pertaining to Frantz's teaching career at the University of California at Santa Cruz; topics include Women's Studies and American Studies curricula, women's rights, civil rights, radical social movements in the U.S., and second and third wave feminism.
[Note: Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice. This collection has not been fully processed.]
View Finding Aid

Jane Garrett (1935 - )
Papers, 1973-2003 (ongoing)
18 linear ft. (15 boxes)
Episcopal Priest; active in church politics, especially with regard to its attitudes toward and stated positions on homosexuality and same-sex unions.
[Note: Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice]
View Finding Aid

Eve Hinderer (1947 - )
Papers, 1967-2008 (ongoing)
2.25 linear ft. (5 boxes)
Feminist; Anarchist; Naturist; Bisexual; member of New York Federation of Anarchists; and founding member of New York Radical Women in New York City, in late 1960s. In 1971, she joined the emerging gay liberation movement, becoming active in the lesbian separatist community in New York's lower Manhattan. She withdrew three years later, acknowledging her bisexuality. Her papers contain journals and diaries, correspondence, email, writings, clipppings and photographs.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.]
View Finding Aid

Mary E. Hunt (1951 - )
Papers, 1974-2007 (ongoing)
18 linear ft. (18 boxes)
Theologian; Feminist; Professor. Papers document Mary E. Hunt's career as a feminist theologian. Included are published and unpublished writings and lectures; audiovisual materials featuring Hunt; files on conferences and events she attended, and her travels. There is some biographical information, as well as a small amount of material documenting the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (founded in 1983 by Hunt and her partner, Diann L. Neu) and Women Crossing Worlds, WATER's international outreach program (1986).
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.]
View Finding Aid

Kady (1927-2003)
Papers, 1989-2004
.5 linear ft. (1 box)
Peace activist, Feminist, Lesbian activist, Artisan. The papers contain a small amount of biographical information, drawings by Kady, articles, clippings, memorial invitations to "KadyFest", eulogy, her book Panhandling Papers (1989), and an oral history.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed.]

Joan Laird
Papers, 1979-2001 (ongoing)
1.25 linear ft. (1 box)
Professor of social work; family therapist. Papers consist of published books and journal articles.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice]
View Finding Aid

 Radical lesbian Donna Gottschalk at New York City Gay Pride March, circa 1971. Photo by Diana Davies.
Radical lesbian Donna Gottschalk at New York City Gay Pride March, circa 1971. Photo by Diana Davies. (Phyllis Birkby Papers)

Anne MacKay (1928 - )
Papers, 1992-1996 (ongoing)
.25 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Author, Educator, Lesbian activist, and member of a lesbian community on Long Island's North Fork and a founder of that group's women's health initiative. Her papers so far contain copies of her writings: Just Lucky, I Guess (1996), an autobiography (typescript); Wolf Girls at Vassar: Gay and Lesbian Experiences 1930-1990 (edited by McKay, 1992), and She Went A-Whaling: The Journal of Martha Smith Brewer Brown (edited by McKay, 1993).

Isabel Miller (1924-1996)
Papers, 1937-1997
37 linear ft. (39 boxes)
Author, Lesbian activist (aka Alma Routsong). The papers include diaries (beginning when she was in her early teens), correspondence offering rich documentation of her personal life, from her years as a member of WAVES during World War II and as wife and mother of four daughters in a traditional heterosexual marriage, to her coming out as a lesbian and her life thereafter. Research and manuscript materials document the evolution of her profession as an author of lesbian fiction, the best known of which is Patience and Sarah. The collection also offers a personal record of the lesbian communities of New York City and the mid-Hudson Valley region, from the 1960s to 90s and includes transcripts of a lesbian consciousness raising group, extensive personal correspondence, and documentation of Miller's spiritual interests, including her numerous astrological charts of women. Correspondents include Sidney Abbott, Dorothy Baker, Noel Phyllis Birkby, Barbara Love, Dolores Alexander, Joan Casamo, Linda Clarke, Kate Millett, Diane Stevenson, Mildred Stewart, and May Swenson.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Portions of collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.]

Marjory Nelson (1926 - )
Papers, 1947-2006 (ongoing)
5.5 linear ft. (5 boxes)
Lesbian and Civil rights activist; Therapist; Feminist. The Papers consist of a wide range of materials documenting the progression of her life, from faculty wife in a traditional marriage to graduate student, lesbian activist, radical feminist, hypnotherapist, and pacifist. Her activities in the feminist movement are richly documented, from its beginnings in the 1960s to the present. There are also correspondence, photographs and other materials representative of Nelson's personal life.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.]
View Finding Aid

Diann L. Neu (1948 - )
Papers, 1977-2005 (ongoing)
5.5 linear ft. (5 boxes)
Theologian; Feminist; Psychotherapist. Papers document Neu's education in theology; her work and activism re: articulating and advocating radical new forms of feminist theology, and in re-defining the role of women in the church; her participation in numerous conferences about women in the church; and materials pertaining to her two books, Return Blessings: Ecofeminist Blessings Renewing the Earth (2002) and Women's Rites: Feminist Liturgies for Life's Journeys (2003). Types of material include correspondence, interviews, lecture notes, minutes, sermons, speeches, transcripts, writings, slides, and audiovisual material.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.]
View Finding Aid

Kathleen O'Shea (1944 - )
Papers, 1910-2006
6 linear ft. (7 boxes)
Author; Lesbian activist; Social reform advocate; Catholic nun. Papers include documents and memorabilia from O'Shea's childhood, including her education to become a member of a religious order; correspondence; photographs; and a small amount of materials pertaining to lesbian former nuns. Photographs include Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Angela Davis, bell hooks, and Sister Helen Prejean. Also included is research related to O'Shea's writings on women on death row with files on sixty-five women prisoners, including correspondence from some, and video tapes about women in prison, including Aileen Wuornos.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use]
View Finding Aid

Judith Plaskow (1947 - )
Papers, 1997-2006 (ongoing)
.5 linear ft. (1 box)
Author, Professor of Religious Studies, Lesbian Feminist. Since 1984 she has been Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College in New York. Her scholarly interests focus on contemporary religious thought with a specialization in Jewish feminist theology. Plaskow has written several significant books in the field, including the first full-length Jewish feminist theology, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective. The papers include published and unpublished writings, lectures, and related correspondence. See also the Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.]

Ellen Shumsky (1941 - )
Papers, 1969-1972 (ongoing)
.5 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Lesbian activist, Feminist, Photographer. Small number of writings about lesbian and feminist issues by Shumsky and others; fliers; minutes of meetings of Radical Lesbians (NYC); other printed materials; photographs (photocopies); and seven issues of the newspaper, Come Out. The photographs are identified and provide excellent documentation of women together - working, relaxing, marching, etc. (many of Radical Lesbians groups and individuals), and the written and printed materials offer a very good record of certain aspects of radical gay and lesbian political activism.

Katherine Triantafillou (1950 - )
Papers, 1955-2007 (ongoing)
30 linear ft. (25 boxes)
Lawyer, Lesbian activist, Professor, law, Civil rights advocate, Author. The Papers contain biographical information, including school records and early writings; correspondence; photographs; materials on her tenure as City of Cambridge (Massachusetts) Councilor; audiotapes of the radio show "Closet Space," and related documents; Triantafillou's leading role in implementing the City of Cambridge's anti-domestic violence ordinance and other anti-discrimination legislation; documentation of cases litigated by Triantafillou, including violence against homosexuals (Boston Firefighters), adoption by unmarried couples (Cooksey-Love), and employment discrimination against homosexuals (Madsen vs Christian Science Monitor); and her involvement in the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association and the National Lesbian and Gay Bar Association.
[Note: Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice. Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information. This collection has not been fully processed.]

Carmen Vázquez (1949 - )
Papers 1951-2007 (ongoing)
12.5 linear ft. (13 boxes)
Lesbian activist. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Harlem, Vázquez lived and worked in San Francisco for almost two decades, becoming a seasoned activist and movement leader in causes ranging from immigrant rights to lesbian health. She was founding director of the Women's Building in San Francisco, the Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Coordinator of Lesbian and Gay Health Services for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In 1994 she became Director of Public Policy for the LGBT Community Center in New York City. Her papers contain diaries, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, and essays, poems, and speeches. They document Vazquez's activism for gay and lesbian rights, gay and lesbian health issues, as well as Vazquez's interest and involvement in broader issues of race and class. Activities of the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center are also well-documented.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.]
View Finding Aid

ORGANIZATIONS

Dyke TV
Records, 1993-2007
93 linear ft. (80 boxes)
Television production company, Lesbian business. The collection includes audiovisual materials for Dyke TV programs. The materials cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to lesbians in sports, artists, gay pride, childhood and coming of age stories, political issues, gay and lesbian civil rights, sexuality, lesbian parenting, HIV/AIDS and other health issues, incest survivors, lesbian domestic violence, and women's rights.
[Note: Access to original audiovisual material is restricted; use copies are availible for most shows. Portions of collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice. This collection has not been fully processed.]
View Finding Aid

Green Street Lesbian Rooming House, 1975-1992
Records, 1977-1999
1.25 linear ft. (1 box)
Lesbian rooming house in Northampton, Massachusetts. House logbooks including announcements, phone messages, minutes of occasional house meetings, and personal messages between residents.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.]
View Finding Aid

New Directions for Women Productions Records, 1994-
Records, 1994-2005 (ongoing)
1 linear ft. (1 box)
Television production company. Collection consists of taped episodes of “New Directions for Women,” a television series produced by Morris County, NJ Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), airing regular broadcasts on a broad range of topics related to women, including sexuality and gay and lesbian issues. For a list of past programs and links to online video, go to their website.
[Note: Research copies must be made of audiovisual materials before they can be used.]
View Finding Aid

The Lesbian Calendar , 1987-2001
Records, 1912-1994 5 linear ft. (13 boxes)
Records includes the administrative records of the Northampton Massachusetts based newsletter, The Lesbian Calendar (TLC) from its inception in 1987. Also included are the records of LOGS (Lesbians of Greater Springfield); and subject files collected by Marie Louise Francoise, Pamela Kimmell, and local printer and activist, Willow Lamont documenting the local lesbian community, as well as the national and international Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender movement. Included are print and graphic materials such as flyers, pamphlets, posters, brochures, catalogs, artwork and memorabilia dating from the 1890s to the 1990s.
View Finding Aid

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, 1989-
Records, 1987-2010 (ongoing)
23 linear ft. (19 boxes)
Lesbian activists. The collection includes extensive documentation of all OLOC biennial Gatherings to date (1987-2004), including photographs, videotapes of panel discussions and keynote speeches, administrative files, copies of the organization's quarterly newsletter, The OLOC Reporter, as well as other publications, educational and public relations materials, and a history of the organization. OLOC has also been a part of the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project, which gathers the unique stories of lesbians who are seventy years of age and older. OLOC confronts ageism wherever it is found, operating both as a national organization and through local chapters that have formed across the country.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed.]

Reproductive Justice For All Conference, 2005
Records, 2005
.75 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Reproductive rights advocates. Conference records include packets given to participants, workgroup materials, memorabilia, and video documentation. Four general subject areas were covered: the rights of pregnant women; the control of sexuality; the right to be a mother; and assisted reproduction and genetic technologies.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed.]
View Finding Aid

Tribad Productions, 1991-1995
Records 1992-1993 .5 linear ft. (1 box)
Theatrical production company, Playwrights. Typescripts of plays on gay and lesbian themes submitted for a playwriting contest sponsored by the women's theater company, Tribad Productions in 1992. Includes related correspondence.
[Note: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.]

Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), 1983-
Records, 1983-2004 (ongoing)
7.5 linear ft. (6 boxes)
Religious organizations, Feminist advocacy organization. Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual Records consist of administrative records dating from the organization's inception in 1983 by Mary E. Hunt and her partner Diann L.Neu, and includes extensive documentation of WATER programs in Latin America and in the U.S., its fundraising and outreach initiatives, its publications, and audiovisual records of its program speakers. The organization's commitment to justice and social activism through a feminist interpretation of theology, and its commitment to promoting women's full inclusion and participation in ecclesiastical ritual and hierarchy is also well documented.
[Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.]
View Finding Aid

Michigan Women's Music Festival, August 1976.
Photo by Diana Davies. (Diana Davies Papers)

Women's Music Archives Collection, 1978-2004
Records, 1972-2005
75 linear ft. (79 boxes)
The Women's Music Archives Collection consists of bibliographies, biographical sketches, clippings, correspondence, flyers, newsletters, photographs, posters, publicity materials, songbooks, sound recordings, videotapes, and memorabilia. The bulk of the collection dates from 1975 to 1995 and consists of live and studio-produced recordings by women, including many lesbian musicians, and of women's music festivals, retreats, and conferences.
[Note: Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies. This collection has not been fully processed.]
View Finding Aid

Women's School of Planning and Architecture , 1972-1981
Records 1974-1992
12.25 linear ft. (18 boxes)
Educational program and feminist collective. Records provide a detailed account of the successes and struggles of an experimental, non-hierarchical educational institution founded at the height of the 1970s women's movement. Records document the School's sessions on feminist architectural planning and design, as well as the founding, planning, and operation of the School. Materials include correspondence; histories; photographs; extensive audiovisual material; publications; publicity and memorabilia.
View Finding Aid

SUBJECT COLLECTIONS

Homosexuality Collection
Records, 1932-1995
.75 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Includes clippings, articles, pamphlets, memorabilia, and selected issues of lesbian and gay periodicals.
View Finding Aid

Miscellaneous Subjects Collection
Records, 1856-2009 (ongoing)
2.5 linear ft. (9 boxes)
Includes lesbian comic books.
View Finding Aid

Women's Liberation Collection,
Records, 1959-2006
11 linear ft. (25 boxes)
This collection focus is on the mid-20th century women's liberation movement in the United States. Materials include newletters, pamphlets, fliers, bibliographies, book reviews, books, catalogs, correspondence, articles, position papers, publicity, questionnaires, reports, resolutions, speeches, memorabilia, photographs and audiovisual materials. Also included are files on local, national and international women's groups; and biographical material on individuals.
View finding aid

ORAL HISTORIES

The Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project records include fifty-three interviews (transcripts and audio recordings. The project began in 1997 when Arden Eversmeyer started working with women she knew who were ill and dying in her area of Houston, Texas; the project later expanded to include the life stories of lesbians 70 and older, i.e. who were born in the early years of the 20th century. Twenty two of the interviews were published in the book A Gift of Age.
[Note: Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information. Research copies must be made of audiovisual materials before they can be used. This collection has not been fully processed.]

The Voices of Feminism Oral History Project documents the persistence and diversity of organizing for women in the U.S. Narrators include labor, peace, and anti-racism activists, artists and writers, lesbian rights advocates, grassroots anti-violence and anti-poverty organizers, and women of color reproductive justice leaders. The videotaped interviews average 5-6 hours and cover childhood, personal life, and political work. Most of the 60 interviews in this collection are open to researchers and are available in audiovisual format or as edited transcripts.
View finding aid       View complete transcripts

Lesbian narrators include:

  • Katherine Acey, Arab-American, founding director Astraea Foundation.

  • Dolores Alexander, first director of NOW, North Fork (Long Island) lesbian community.

  • Dorothy Allison, Southern writer, sex-radical, founder Lesbian Sex Mafia.

  • Virginia (Ginny) Apuzzo, gay rights activist, former appointee to Clinton administration.

  • Billye Avery, founder NBWHP (National Black Women's Health Project).

  • Joan E. Biren (JEB), lesbian feminist activist, photographer and filmmaker.

  • Marge Frantz, former Communist Party organizer, peace activist, teacher.

  • Ronnie Gilbert, folk musician, former member of the Weavers [see also Gilbert Papers in SSC].

  • Amber Hollibaugh, queer activist, feminist, writer and filmmaker.

  • Eva Kollisch, member of the Workers Party 1940s, peace activist, feminist and teacher.

  • Anne MacKay, author, lesbian feminist, North Fork (Long Island) lesbian community.

  • Aurora Levins Morales, Jewish and Puerto Rican, bisexual, poet, writer.

  • Cherríe Moraga, poet and playwright, co-editor This Bridge Called My Back, co-founder Kitchen Table Press.

  • Marjorie Nelson, civil rights organizer and peace activist, lesbian feminist, feminist psychotherapist.

  • Suzanne Pharr, Southern anti-racist and anti-right organizer, founder The Women's Project in Arkansas, writer.

  • Achebe (Betty) Powell, lesbian feminist and anti-racist activist, founder Salsa Soul Sisters.

  • Minnie Bruce Pratt, poet and writer, teacher, Southern-born lesbian feminist activist, former member of Feminary collective [see also Pratt Papers in SSC].

  • Pat Reeve, labor organizer and educator, co-founder of WILD (Women's Institute for Leadership Development).

  • Catherine Roma, socialist-feminist student activist 1960s-1970s, leader women's music movement, founder and director MUSE chorus.

  • Graciela Sanchez, lesbian activist, filmmaker, founder Esperanza Peace and Justice Center (Texas).

  • Martha Shelley, lesbian feminist, writer, key member of Gay Liberation Front, Radicalesbians and Daughters of Bilitis.

  • Barbara Smith, writer, public intellectual and activist, co-founder Combahee River Collective.

  • Linda Stout, working class and anti-racist organizer, founder PPP (Piedmont Peace Project) and Spirit of Change. [see also Linda Stout Papers in SSC.]

  • Carmen Vázquez, Puerto Rican queer feminist activist, author and public intellectual, founding director San Francisco Women's Building.

Documenting Lesbian Lives: Student Oral History Project
A collection of sixteen interviews of women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, woman-identified-woman, queer, or who prefer not to identify with sexuality categories. The project provides a complex and nuanced collective story of American lesbian history and experience. Interviews were conducted by Smith College students. Narrators are: Martha Ackelsberg, Terry Boggis, Deborah Faison, Julie Flachs, Peggy Gillespie, Ann Hackler, Andrea Hairston, Rebecca Lukens, June Millington, Judith Plaskow, Holly Richardson, Peggy Shaw, Rabbi Toba Spizter, Jay Toole, and Jennifer Walters.
View transcripts online


PERIODICALS

Below is a list of periodicals in the SSC by and about lesbians and the LGBTQ Community. In addition, there are many other women's periodicals with content relating to LGBTQ issues.   View finding aid for Periodicals Collection.  There is also a large collection of Girl Zines with LGBTQ themes.

Albatross: The Lesbian Feminist Satire Magazine, 1978

The Amazonian, 2000-2001

Atalanta, 1975-86

Bisexual Women’s Liberation Newsletter (New York), 1975

Come Out!, 1969-71

Common Lives/ Lesbian Lives, 1981-94

Conditions – A Magazine of Writing by Women with an Emphasis on Writing by Lesbians, 1977-88

Cowrie, 1973-74

Dykes and Gorgons, 1973

Ecstasy (Gay Revolution Party), 1972

Feminists for Bisexual Freedom, 1975-76

Focus, a Journal for Gay Women, 1971-82

The Furies, 1972-73

Gay Community News, 1973-89

Gay Flames (New York City), 1971

Gays on the Hill , 1976

Hag Rag, 1992-93

Herizon: News for "the family", 1985

I Know You Know, 1984-85

Joy of Gay, circa mid-1970s

Lesbia Magazine (Quebec?), 1991-94

Lesbian Activist (New York City),1973

The Lesbian Calendar (Northampton, MA), 1994-2001

Lesbian Connection, 1974-94

Lesbian Contradiction – A Journal of Irreverent Feminism, 1983-89

Lesbian Ethics, 1990

Lesbian Feminist, 1973-77

Lesbian Feminist Flyer (Richmond, VA), 1977-88

Lesbian Herstory Archives Newsletter, 1975-2001

The Lesbian Inciter (Women’s Learning Institute), 1982-86

Lesbian London, 1991-92

Lesbian News (Los Angeles), 1978-92

The Lesbian Outlook, circa 1991

Lesbian Pride Newsletter, 1997

The Lesbian Reader: an Amazon Quarterly Anthology, 1975

The Lesbian Tide, 1972-80

Lesbian Voices, 1975-81

Lesbians Fight Back, 1972

Lesbians Rising, 1976

Lunatic Fringe (a newsletter for separatist, anarchist, and radical feminist lesbians in Chicago), undated

Mom's Apple Pie: Lesbian Mothers' National Defense Fund, 1975-78

Monthly Cycle: A Newsletter by and for Lesbians, 1980

Moonstorm: Lesbian Feminist Newsletter for Women

NLIS Newsletter (National Lesbian Information Service), 1972

Our Own, 1988-89

Our Paper – A Voice for Lesbians and Gay Men in Maine, 1985-86

Outlook, 1988

The Pink Paper – The National Newspaper for Lesbians and Gay Men, 1991-96

Rites – for lesbian and gay liberation, 1985-86

Sister Source – A Midwest Lesbian / Feminist Newsletter, 1981-82

Sisters, 1971-75

Speak Out – A Feminist Journal (Albany, NY), 1974-78

Spectre – Paper of Revolutionary Lesbians, 1971-72

Thursday's Child (San Diego), 1974-75

The Wishing Well, 1982

We Ain’t Got It Easy But…We Got It!, 1975-76

Woman to Woman (Lake Charles, Louisiana), 1983


SMITH COLLEGE ARCHIVES

  • Sidney Abbot ('59) (author of "Sappho Was a Right-on Woman) --
    Oral history in College: A Smith Mosaic

  • 80.Clubs and Organizations
    Lesbian/Bisexual Alliance (LBA) (ca. 19802-present) [and archives at      LBA center, 25B Henshaw]
    Lesbian Alliance (1976-)
    Sophia's Sisters
    Women's Resource Center

  • 22.Buildings:
    Hover House - journal

  • Student papers: "A History of Lesbian And Bisexual Life At Smith, 1959-86" by Miriam Bearse, 1994, and "Female Intimacy at Smith College: A Study in Adoration, Admiration, Love, and Passion" by Kyre Osborn, 1995.

  • See also “Crush” in College Archives card catalog

For secondary sources, see the Browsing and Reference collections in the SSC Reading Room.

Note: The SSC is actively collecting the papers and oral histories of women in the LBTQ community. Please contact us for updated information on our holdings.


 

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