[Back to Newsletter No. 1, June 1975]
One of the projects of the Archives Collective will be a large map
of the United States on which we will represent the Lesbian netowrk
by marking the small towns and villages where Lesbians are
establishing themselves on farms and in communes. We would
also like to maintain a mailing list of rural Lesbians. This project
is an effort to keep all of us in touch with each other and to provide records
of our lives. Please send names and addresses to
Lesbian History Exploration was held in Los Angeles, May 2-4,
1975. Pamela Oline from the Archives attended and conducted
a workshop on the activities and holdings of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.
The list of research projects [this was my special love, to project our thinking into new territories of inquiry and inspiring a grassroots lesbian archival sense]
that follows contains suggestions for needed collections that seem important to us. We are presenting it here not only for members of the Archives, but for anyone interested in the systematic discovery and preservation of our herstory. Many of the items in the list are general categories that might be further broken down or combined according to the interest of the individual and her resources and time. In no way is the list definitive, nor is it meant to dictate areas of research. It is just a list of possibilities that suggest themselves at this time. If you are interested in working on a project, or if you have already started on a project, whether it is listed here or not, please contact us so that we will know who is working on what and can pass the world on to other women. In this way, we can help each other with the task of discovery and recovery.
1. DIARIES, past and present; 2. POETRY, including contacting Lesbian poets and requesting their mss., letters, clipping Lesbian poem whereever they appear; 3. TAPES, of our lives, friends, meetings, oral herstories, conferences (confidences will respected if so indicated); 4. PHOTOGRAPHS, personal and news, pictures of us together and ourselves; 5.FILMS, home-made, Hollywood, prints, bibliography; 6. BIBLIOGRAPHIES, areas of interest to Lesbians, psychology, literature, poetry, hersotry, sociology, etc.; 7. GRAPHICS, posters, ads, prints, buttons, shirts, logos; 8. NEWSPAPERS, articles, or pick one newspaper and clip all articles related to Lesbians, review coverage; 9.ORGANIZATIONS, Lesbian Feminist Liberation, Daughters of Bilitis, Gay Academic Union, activities, archives; 10.LEADERS, follow one person's career, interviews, tapes, films; 11. TELEVISION, record shows, review programs with Lesbian content; 12.BIOGRAPHIES, collect those already in existence, begin books about Lesbians who aren't usually written about;13. AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, we should all begin to record our lives, in writing or on tape; 14.PAINTERS, collect artwork by Lesbians, contact them to record their lives;15. ARCHITECTURE, contact Lesbian architects for interviews, collect photos, designs, descriptions of Lesbian homes and surroundings; 16. LESBIAN MEDIA, collect our journals and newsletters, trace their development and progress; 17.PRESSES, collect lists of publications of presses, trace their development and growth; 18.AUTHORS, past and present, collect their books, mss., record their lives; 19. POLITICIANS, keep scrapbooks on their lives and careers, e.g., Elaine Noble; 20. ATHELETES, SPORTS, keep track of Lesbian athletes, the sports they participate in; 21. DOCTORS, LAWYERS, TEACHERS, FARMERS, DENTISTS, WAITRESSES, PROSTITUTES, record our work life; 22. THE COMING OUT PROCESS, a shared experience; 23.SPECIAL TOPICS, Lesbians who have been expelled from school, fired from the military or other places of work; 24. THEMATIC RESEARCH, tracing the development of an idea or life-style; 25. LESBIAN LANGUAGE, do we have one, will we develop one?
26. STUDY PROGRAMS, curricula, teachers, students, etc; 27. FEMINISM, personal experience, organizations, relation to our lives; 28. HEROS, the brave women we are; 29. MOTHERS, experiences, court cases, litigations; 30. COMMUNES, experiences, geographical distribution, ideologies; 31. LOVE, our experiences of it, our definitions; 32. IDEOLOGY, part of our self-defining process; 32. ECONOMICS, in relation to the larger society, our own self-help system; 34. ENTERPRISES, bookstores, restaurants, jewelers, potters; 35. AESTHETICS, Lesbian sensibility, criticism; 36.HANDCRAFTS, what we make for ourselves; 37.RELIGION, where we are in the old, creating our own, what do we need or want; 38. BARS AND BARTENDERS, where are our bars, recording the lives of the women who work in them; 39. CONFERENCES, posters, tape the proceedings, interview the speakers, film the events; 40. SONGS, SONGWRITERS, collect our songs, preserve the lives of the women who write them; 41.FOLKLORE, tales and legends of our lives, our deeds; 42.THIRD WORLD LESBIANS, herstories, autobiographies, writings; 43. EUROPE, establishing stronger bonds with our sisters, ccould be broken down into countries; 44. PRISONERS, experiences, lives, legah histories; 45. ARMED FORCES, experinces, lives, careeres, purges; 46. CULTURAL HERSTORY, where we've been, what we've done, what we wish to create for ourselves; 47. DRAMA, PLAYWRIGHTS, ACTRESSES, our experience in the theater through the years; 48. THERAPY, THERAPISTS, directions; 49. WITCHES, WITCHCRAFT, the old religion; 50. FBI HARASSMENT, the Susan saxe Case; 51.CLASS ANALYSIS, social classes and Lesians; 52. FASHIONS, what we wear, what we's like to wear; 53. ARTIFACTS; 54.TRANSLATIONS, articles, chapters, books from English into Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Russian and from these languages into English; 55. EDITIONS, collecting all editions of our works, e.g. The Well of Loneliness, Nightwood, etc.; 56. PAST COMMUNITIES, the Bloomsbury Group, the Charmed Circle, Renee Vivien, Colette, Romaine Brooks, discover more
[An early group of volunteers who took these stated dreams and made them real, 1980 c. in #13A--Judith, Mabel, Joan,Deb, Jan,Beth, Beth, Morgan, Irare, Linda, Sam]
One of our members, Pamela Oline, has already taped interviews with three women, discussing their lives, their work, their ideas. We would also like to ask Lesbians to tape record their lives, whatever they would like to have preserved about themselves, casettes, or reels are fine. We have both types of tape recorders, so we can make them available to those who wish to use the Archives. When you have the time and the impulse sit down and tell us something about yourself and send it to us. It's important!
Our thanks and appreciation to the many women who have supported us, encouraged us, sent us their manuscripts, allowed us to interview them, the women whose lives are important to all of us, and to Beth Hodges, Elsa Gidlow, Chocolate Waters, J.R. Roberts, our journals and our newsletters!
[The End of Our First Newsletter and the Begining of the Rest of Our Lives]
I chose to type the newsletter word by word rather then scan it is because with each letter, I relived those times, I could see Julia working away on that electric typewriter she loved so much, I could see Sahli's delicate graceful body moving through the room, I could hear Pamela's caring voice, Deb finding ever more room for the collection when it seemed impossible, I could see us all with our different histories and most of all I could dream again of changing history. My language would be different today, my sense of what a Lesbian is not so fixed, I have a set of different questions, for a different time, but at 72 I reach out to these early years. Good on you, I say. good on us, and now others are shaping LHA with their dreams and talents. New generations of women are living in the Brooklyn home, articulating their questions for the future. If you can, visit LHA, see how that long list of suggested research projects has turned into three flours on site and many more off, of materials, of lives waiting for you. Be moved to become a part of the story or just enjoy ourself. And if you are so moved, donate whatever you can to keep the collection vital.
1974, Sahli, Julia and Deb loading the earliest parts of the collection in Pigpen, Deb's beloved car, to take it from Tennessee to its home in #13A. Joan is doing the archival work of taking the picture.
You can meet the ongoing family of women working with the Archives and make a donation at LHA's website, http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/