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Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project oral histories, 2010-2019
10.75 linear feet (26 containers) 8,456‬ Gigabytes 853 digital files (video, audio, and transcripts)
Collection number: SSC.MS.00661

Abstract:
Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project is a collection of life histories 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. Narrators include grassroots activists and political organizers; educators and academics; musicians, writers, and artists; as well as community and religious leaders. They come from a variety of class, ethnic, racial, social, and geographic backgrounds. Interviews cover childhood and growing up experiences; education and employment; activism and politics; family, identity, relationships and community.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

See individual interviews in resource record for specific restrictions on access.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to all of the oral histories except for those narrators who have retained copyright to their interviews. See individual interviews in resource record for specific information regarding copyright holder.

Sophia Smith Collection

Biographical / Historical

Interviews were conducted by Smith College students in Kelly Anderson's "Documenting Lesbian Lives" course beginning in the spring of 2010. Students were trained in both United States lesbian history and oral history techniques and protocols.

Scope and Contents

Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project is a collection of life histories 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. Narrators include grassroots activists and political organizers; educators and academics; musicians, writers, and artists; as well as community and religious leaders. They come from a variety of class, ethnic, racial, social, and geographic backgrounds. Interviews cover childhood and growing up experiences; education and employment; activism and politics; family, identity, relationships and community.

Narrators include:

  1. Ackelsberg, Martha
  2. Barale, Michelle
  3. Boggis, Terry
  4. Browne, Karen
  5. Chapman, Mare
  6. Choi, Gina-Kamas
  7. Collier, Chris
  8. Cooke, Carla
  9. Cote, Carol
  10. Davenport, Kate
  11. DiNardo, Geri
  12. Dobkin, Alix
  13. Earley, Deborah
  14. Elkin, Marty
  15. Entwistle, BJ
  16. Essery, Wendy
  17. Evans, Judith
  18. Everhart, Jan
  19. Faison, Deborah
  20. Flachs, Julie
  21. Fusco, Lisa
  22. Gillespie, Peggy
  23. Hackler, Ann
  24. Hairston, Andrea
  25. Harris, Janet
  26. Harris, Lori
  27. Heller, Deborah
  28. Howland, Pam
  29. Irvine, Janice
  30. Jerome, Judith
  31. Kavanaugh, Karla
  32. Laird, Joan
  33. Lanzillotto, Annie
  34. Lathrop, Janet
  35. Lukens, Rebecca
  36. McClintock, Mary
  37. McHaelen, Robin
  38. Millington, June
  39. Morningstar, Betty
  40. Myles, Eileen
  41. Nelson, Kristi
  42. O'Donovan, Alice
  43. Oglesby, Carole
  44. Pato, Roberta
  45. Penotte, Cody
  46. Perez, David
  47. Pittman, Catherine
  48. Plaskow, Judith
  49. Power, Bet
  50. Quinones, Carmen
  51. Rees, Kelly
  52. Richardson, Holly
  53. Ruffino, Renee
  54. Shaw, Peggy
  55. Shaw, Rebecca
  56. Shumsky, Ellen
  57. Spitzer, Rabbi Toba
  58. Sullivan, Laura
  59. Toole, Jay
  60. Walters, Jennifer
  61. Wolfe, Kate
  62. Young, Nanci

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

See individual interviews in resource record for specific restrictions on access.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to all of the oral histories except for those narrators who have retained copyright to their interviews. See individual interviews in resource record for specific information regarding copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

Additional Formats

Full transcripts and streaming video of many interviews are available online to the Smith campus community. Researchers may also request copies of electronic transcripts or video files.

History of the Collection

The Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project was donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Kelly Anderson and her students beginning in 2010. Annual additions are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Schlessinger, July 2010. Additions received 2011-2018 were processed by SSC oral history interns.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content. As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English

Contents List
Documenting Lesbian Lives
2010
27 Gigabytes(62 digital video and text files)

Ackelsberg, Martha, Martha Ackelsberg interviewed by Julie Colatrella
2010 April 16
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Martha A. Ackelsberg was born in New York City in 1946 and is a graduate of Radcliffe College and Princeton University (where she received her Masters and PhD). She has been a faculty member of Smith College since 1972, where she teaches government and the study of women and gender. She taught one of the first courses dealing with gender at Smith College ("Women and Social Change") and has been a member of the Committee on the Study of Women and Gender and the Five College Women's Studies Committee. Her work at Smith focuses on the construction of gender and citizenship in the realm of what she calls "applied feminist theory," and the anarchist women's organization in Spain.

In the late 1960's and early 1970's, Ackelsberg was involved in the women's health movement in New York City and student activism at Princeton during her time there as a graduate student during the years of 1968 and 1972. She has also been involved with several movements aimed at changing the status of women within the Jewish community, including the politics of changing family structures and the place of the LGBT community.

Martha Ackelsberg currently lives with her partner, Judith Plaskow, in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she is involved with various feminist, progressive, and Jewish organizations. She and her partner contribute to current "gay marriage" debates.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Martha Ackelsberg describes her work in Jewish feminist communities and her experiences with attempts to make sense of her lesbian identity in terms of her Judaism. The interview first focuses on Ackelsberg's early observations of gender inequalities within Judaism and then moves into her work within feminist organizations such as Ezrat Nashim and B'Not Esh to try to combat those injustices. Ackelsberg's describes her feelings on current gay issues such as the word "queer," gay marriage, and the troubles that come about when defining a unified LGBT or Jewish LGBT community. The interview frames Ackelsberg's relationships both with her ex-husband and with her current partner, Judith, and investigates the intricacies involved in becoming a lesbian step-parent and the multiple definitions of family that have become central to Ackelsberg's life, passions, and academic work.

Search Terms
Ackelsberg, Martha

Video interview of Martha Ackelsberg



Transcript of interview of Martha Ackelsberg


Box 1
Boggis, Terry, Terry Boggis interviewed by Iris Howorth
2010 March 27
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Terry Boggis (b. 1951) was born in Schenectady, New York and moved to Denver, Colorado at the age of eight. She attended Colorado State University before moving to New York City in the late 1970s. Boggis worked in corporate communications at a consulting firm and as a media specialist at the Girl Scout Council of greater New York before becoming one of the founding members of Center Kids in 1988, the year her son was born. Since its founding, Center Families has grown to be the largest regional LGBT families program in the country. Boggis began was the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center's Director of Communications and now serves as the Center's Interim Director of Public Policy. Boggis has written and published many articles on LGBT family issues for many New York City newspapers, including the New York Times. She has also written for Out Magazine and other gay media. Her articles and essays have appeared in many different publications and she has conducted LGBT awareness and anti-bias training in which she speaks on issues that affect nontraditional families. She is also a founding board member of Queers for Economic Justice.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Boggis discusses her course of life, reflecting on past romantic relationships and current relationships with her family. She tells of her experience as a lesbian mom and the work she does now for other nontraditional families. She tells of her relationship with her own parents and of her experiences as a young, recent college graduate in New York and more recently.

Search Terms
Boggis, Terry

Video interview of Terry Boggis



Transcript of interview of Terry Boggis


Box 1
Essery, Wendy, Wendy Essery interviewed by Susannah Calhoun
2010 April 17
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is closed until January 1, 2050 unless express permission is granted by the narrator. No online access. No bio or abstract online.

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Search Terms
Essery, Wendy

Video interview of Wendy Essery



Transcript of interview of Wendy Essery


Box 4
Faison, Deborah, Deborah Faison interviewed by Lori E. Harris
2010 March 17
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Deborah Faison (b. 1951) in Wake County, NC but raised in Philadelphia, PA. My narrator is an African American lesbian who resides in the suburbs of Washington, DC. The eldest of four children, Deborah graduated from Germantown High School in Philadelphia and matriculated into Eastern Baptist College outside of Philadelphia. She attended Eastern for only one year. Deborah's first paying job was part-time in a sandwich shop, then as a nursing aide in a nursing home. She worked at the gas company in Philadelphia as a receptionist and was promoted to customer service representative. She moved to the Washington, DC area after marrying a man that she stayed married to for 18 months.. Deborah has worked most of her life as a receptionist/secretary. Deborah is an administrative assistant with a government agency in Washington, DC where she is active in cultural programming. Last year for Black History Month she initiated postings of poetry by black poets in all of the organization's buildings. She has also organized the musical presentation of a trio of singers (she was the pianist) who performed at her institution's celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy. In her free time, Deborah has been involved in assisting with meetings and programs for AIDS/HIV education. She also plays the piano for church choirs in the Washington, DC area.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Deborah Faison describes growing up in Philadelphia, PA in the early 1960s. Although raised in a two-person household, Deborah, her siblings and her mother experienced abuse and neglect at the hands of the man that Deborah believed to be her biological father. It wasn't until she was an adult that she learned that the man she believed to be her father was actually her stepfather and had adopted her at a young age. Deborah recalls having lived part of her childhood with her two uncles. She stated that they were very instrumental in her development and she spoke of them fondly. Although Deborah married at the age of 21 and moved to Washington, DC, she soon fell in love with a woman and began a partnership with this woman that lasted for over 22 years. Her partner died unexpectedly and Deborah speaks poignantly and passionately about how her Partner Mya helped to shape Deborah's life and how it was Mya who helped Deborah gain a greater appreciation and deeper spirituality in terms of her Christian faith. When Deborah came out to her Mother her Mother rejected her and they did not speak for over 12 years. Eventually they reunited and maintain a loving and healthy relationship today. Deborah's story is unique in that it chronicles the everyday life of an African American Lesbian. Deborah became active in a Black Gay church where her perspective about homosexuality as a sin changed drastically. Deborah has a very deep faith walk and her belief system is interspersed with prophecy and visions. Although Deborah did not belong to any political or social LGBT organizations, she has lived the majority of her adult life as an out African American Lesbian. Her quiet strength, deep faith and her ability to live out her convictions in her day-to-day life is a testimony of radicalism and courage.

Search Terms
Faison, Deborah

Video interview of Deborah Faison



Transcript of interview of Deborah Faison


Box 1
Flachs, Julie, Julie Flachs interviewed by Olivia Mandica-Hart
2010 March 19
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Julie Flachs was born in 1975 in St. Louis and raised in Olivette, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. She attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, earning a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology. At Michigan, she played field hockey, served as the captain her senior year, and was both All American and Missouri Sports Woman of the Year in 1997. She also earned a Masters Degree from Endicott College in Sports Management. After graduating from Michigan, she taught physical education in the Midwest for a number of years before moving to Massachusetts.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Flachs talks growing up in Missouri and living in a single-parent home with her brother. She also goes into detail about her coming out process during her first year at the University of Michigan, where she made strong bonds with her field hockey coach, and dealt with issues of isolation and depression, culminating in a suicide attempt. Flachs then describes her struggle as a lesbian and as a physical education teacher within the public school system in both the Midwest and Massachusetts. Flachs' interview is particularly strong around the issues of sexual orientation discrimination within the workforce and her personal coming out process and difficulties. Her story tells us that homophobia is still in full force, even in the Northeast.

Search Terms
Flachs, Julie

Video interview of Julie Flachs



Transcript of interview of Julie Flachs


Box 1
Gillespie, Peggy, Peggy Gillespie interviewed by Alanna Dick
2010 April 2
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Peggy Gillespie (b. 1948) grew up in New York City, graduated from Smith College in 1969, and has a master's degree from University of Oklahoma. She is a certified social worker and has held various jobs such as massage therapist, freelance journalist, editor, dancer and actor. Gillespie's father died when she was sixteen and she lived with her mother, grandmother and maid. Gillespie is Caucasian, grew up as a non-practicing Jew, and as an adult follows some Buddhist practices. She identifies as bisexual, has been married to men twice, and is currently in a relationship with a woman. Her first marriage at age twenty-one lasted four years and then she married her second husband at thirty and he died in 2000. Gillespie and her second husband adopted a biracial girl. Gillespie is the Co-Founder/Director of Family Diversity Projects, a non-profit in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is the Editor-in-Chief of all of Family Diversity Project's exhibits and books.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Peggy Gillespie describes her childhood growing up in New York City and Tenafly, New Jersey. The interview focuses on her desires, sexual attraction, and relationships through her life starting with crushes in primary school. Gillespie's story is a primary source of a bisexual women's experience with love, lust and sexual relations. The interview also includes narrative about Gillespie's second husband's death and their adopted daughter. Gillespie speaks to the experience of raising her daughter as a single parent and watching her grow up as a tomboy and then later coming out as a lesbian. Gillespie talks about founding Family Diversity Projects and the experience involved in running a non-profit. The interview provides excellent insight into bisexual identity formation and validation, as well as bisexual visibility.

Search Terms
Gillespie, Peggy

Video interview of Peggy Gillespie



Transcript of interview of Peggy Gillespie


Box 1
Hackler, Ann, Ann Hackler interviewed by Kayden Moore
2010 April 10
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Ann Hackler (b. 1960) grew up in Illinois and graduated from Hampshire College. Her background is in anti-racist work, especially in the women's movement. Hackler is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Musical Arts (IMA), located in Goshen, MA.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Ann Hackler describes growing up in a small Midwestern town in the 1960s – 70s. She speaks about her work organizing around anti-racist issues in the late 1970s on various college campuses. Later, she discusses the women's music movement, and founding the IMA with her partner June Millington in the late 1980s.

Search Terms
Hackler, Ann

Video interview of Ann Hackler



Transcript of interview of Ann Hackler


Box 1
Hairston, Andrea, Andrea Hairston interviewed by Aiden Leigh Bartelt
2010 March 26
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Andrea Hairston (b. 1952) grew up in Homewood in Pittsburgh, got her B.A. at Smith in 1974, and finished a graduate degree at Brown University. She has since taught at Smith, Brown, Holyoke Community College, and Trinity College. She is an artist, an actor, a playwright, a director, a musician, a poet, an academic, a teacher, an organizer and a novelist. Her published fiction includes Griots of the Galaxy, Mindscape and Redwood and Wildfire, and her plays include On Display – Do Not Touch, Polywise, Soul Repairs, and Archangels of Funk, among many others. She has also published poetry in African Voices and Chomo-Uri, as well as written a large body critical work on subjects from robot narratives to the persistence of minstrel caricatures. Having co-founded Chrysalis Theatre Company, a broad-spectrum social action theater group, in 1978, she was serving as its artistic director at the time of the interview in 2010.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Andrea Hairston describes her childhood in a working-class African-American community in Pittsburgh and her experiences in community activism around Civil Rights, union organizing, and anti-war activity through her teenage years. Describing her sense of "revolving movements," she details her subsequent involvement with women's movements and queer organizing and community through her time as a student at Smith College. The interview focuses on her sense of multiple-issue activism over time, her experience of Northampton's queer, activist, and artistic community development since the '70s, her work with Chrysalis Theatre, and her relationships with her partner, Pan Welland, and James Emery in their three-person household. Hairston's stories detail how her experiences with and senses of community, collective action, and imaginative possibility have shaped both her approach to queer identity and activism in the world, making a strong contribution to these postwar histories.

Search Terms
Hairston, Andrea

Video interview of Andrea Hairston



Transcript of interview of Andrea Hairston


Box 1
Lukens, Rebecca, Rebecca Lukens interviewed by Ariella Frishberg
2010 March 14
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Rebecca "Becky" Lukens was born in 1960 in Lake Forest, IL and raised in Park Ridge, IL. She went to college first at Michigan State, and then transferred to the University of Oregon where she received a BS in Asian History and Education with a US History Minor before continuing on to receive an MAT from Lewis and Clark College.

She and her partner, Lisa Dieringer, have been together for 10 years. They married in Oregon, although their marriage is no longer recognized by the state as Oregon later amended the constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. She never sent in the check to get the "refund" on their marriage license, so in her book that still counts. They adopted their two sons, Sam (6) and Isaac (2) from the Pacific Islands.

During the 1980's she was politically active, and participated in marches even though sometimes she had to wear a bag over her head because the school district would have fired her. Becky was the department head of the West Linn High School's social studies department in 1992, when the elections for Measure 9 were approaching. She was outed by a journalist for the Oregonian, and although at times she worried for her life, she was also struck by the amount of support she received from the community around her. In 1993, she left West Linn and founded an alternative middle and high school with four other teachers in Portland. She is currently the co-director of the school and teaches social studies.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Becky Lukens talks about growing up in the Midwest and her family's response to her coming out. She talks about her experiences during Oregon's Ballot Measure 9 campaign, and her involvement in activism because of it. In the last third of the interview, she talks about faith, and the formation of family.

Search Terms
Lukens, Rebecca

Video interview of Rebecca Lukens



Transcript of interview of Rebecca Lukens


Box 2
Millington, June, June Millington interviewed by Kimberly Bormann
2010 April 5
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

June Millington (b. 1949) was born in the Philippians and moved to the United states as a teenager. She was drawn to the guitar and started an all-female band, Fanny, with her sister Jean Millington. Fanny was the first all-female band to be promoted by a major label. Shortly after leaving Fanny, June started touring on the women's music circuit. She has stayed involved in music as an artist and producer by playing with other women's music artists and producing the albums of many notable female musicians. She now runs the Institute for Musical Arts; An institute committed to mentoring, supporting, and educating female artists.

Scope and content:

In this oral history June Millington discusses her childhood in the Philippians after the Japanese Occupation and her discovered of the guitar as her passion. She talks about her time in the mainstream music industry and women's music, as well as, her participation in the women's movement and her current activism. The interview focuses on her sexuality and experience as a biracial, bicutural women. Her experience as a lesbian and women of color are discussed in relation to her experiences of growing up in Manila, moving to the U.S., playing in an all-girl's band within the mainstream music industry, women's music, and her current activism.

Search Terms
Millington, June

Video interview of June Millington



Transcript of interview of June Millington


Box 2
Plaskow, Judith, Judith Plaskow interviewed by Allison Pilatsky
2010 March 22
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Judith Plaskow (b. 1947) is a Jewish feminist theologian. Her work exists at the juncture of practice and ethics, applying feminist thought to religious thought and belief. She is among the first scholars to develop and promulgate a body of feminist scholarship in religion.

Judith was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Long Island during the 1950s. She has one sister and was raised in the Reform Judaism tradition. As a Jewish feminist scholar, she is the first to identify as a theologian. She received her B.A. from Clark University in 1968 and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. She initially taught at Wichita State University in Kansas, but left there in 1979. Since then, she has taught at Manhattan College. From 1969 till 1984 she was married to the Rabbinic scholar Robert Goldenberg and had one son, Alexander, born in 1977. She came out as a lesbian in the 1980s and celebrated her commitment ceremony with Martha Ackelsberg in 1986.

As a theologian, Judith is trained in Christian theology, although she is committed to her Jewish faith and evolved over time to do her theological work within the Jewish tradition. Much of her works deals with the problem of theodicy, a question she has been grappling with since her teens, as well as with sexuality, and issues such as political justice for the state of Israel. Along with her partner Martha, she is one of the co-founders of B'Not Esh, a Jewish feminist group. Judith has served in high ranking positions for the American Academy of Religion and was one of the early chairs of its Women and Religion group. Among her work, Judith's book, Standing Again At Sinai, is of particular importance in relation to how the body and sexuality interact with traditional language and understanding of God in the formation of the individual and their lived religious practice and understanding.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Judith Plaskow talks about her childhood and foundation in religion and politics, and her educational life. She discusses both the religious and academic sides of her work and the ways in which feminist thought has been influential on her work and religious practice. Much of the interview discusses particular conferences and organizations and their impact on her work and relationships.

Search Terms
Plaskow, Judith

Video interview of Judith Plaskow



Transcript of interview of Judith Plaskow


Box 2
Richardson, Holly, Holly Richardson interviewed by Katy Morris
2010 March 26
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Holly Richardson (b. 1965) is a queer identified community organizer. She was born in Worthington, MA. She received her BA from Western New England College, and then went to the School for Social Work at Smith College. She has worked for a variety of community organizations, and is currently a member of Arise for Social Justice and Out Now, a queer youth organization in Springfield, MA. Richardson has also been involved in anti-prison organizing and protesting the construction of the Chicopee women's jail. Her other areas of activism have involved outreach to sex workers, working for the decriminalization of prostitution, and AIDS activism.

Scope and content:

This interview covers Richardson's childhood, young adult and adult life history. There is a strong focus on her working-class background and her rural childhood experiences growing up on a farm. There is also an emphasis on her queer gender identity and sexuality, which includes the story of her father's gender identity and suicide. The interview also covers Richardson's experience in an abusive relationship, which became the catalyst for her subsequent activism. A large portion of the interview focuses on Richardson's critique of Smith College as an institution, in particular the SSW program.

Search Terms
Richardson, Holly

Video interview of Holly Richardson



Transcript of interview of Holly Richardson


Box 2
Shaw, Peggy, Peggy Shaw interviewed by Eleanor Blakeslee-Drain
2010 April 12
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Peggy Shaw was born in 1944 in Belmont, Massachusetts into a working-class Irish Protestant family. In her family there were 11 children. Shaw's upbringing was very religious, she even spent time as a missionary in Central America when she was 13. Her mother suffered from nervous breakdowns and was institutionalized many times during Shaw's childhood. After attending MASS College of Art, Peggy moved to New York City in 1967 where she married and had a child, Shara Antoni. Peggy worked at the Department of Social Services for the City of New York. A couple of years later Shaw met the theatre troupe Hot Peaches. Initially building and painting sets for Hot Peaches, Shaw did not perform until she and Shara joined the troupe on a tour of Europe. While in Europe, Peggy met Spiderwoman Theater and Lois Weaver. Peggy and Lois left Spiderwoman to create their own theater company, Split Britches, with Deb Margolin in 1980. Peggy and Lois also started the WOW Café in 1980. Peggy lives in the East Village in Manhattan with her grandson, Ian.

Scope and content:

This oral history focuses on many phases of Peggy Shaw's life including childhood, college, working and touring with Hot Peaches, and her hopes for the future. Shaw also discusses gay liberation, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, second wave feminism, and the current gay rights movement.

Search Terms
Shaw, Peggy

Video interview of Peggy Shaw



Transcript of interview of Peggy Shaw


Box 2
Spitzer, Rabbi Toba, Rabbi Toba Spitzer interviewed by Alicia DePaolo
2010 April 6
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Rabbi Toba Spitzer is the religious leader of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, in West Newton Massachusetts. She was born in the Philippines in 1962 and was raised in Maryland in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She completed her undergraduate degree in Social Studies at Harvard in 1986, entered the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1992, and was ordained in 1997. In 2007, she was appointed president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and became the first openly gay or lesbian rabbi to lead a national rabbinic organization. She has also served on the boards of J-Street and B'rit Tzedek V'Shalom and continues to work for peace in the Middle East.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Rabbi Toba Spitzer describes the experience of entering the rabbinate as an out lesbian and discusses how her spirituality has influenced her social justice work. She describes how she became involved in the Labor Zionist movement at a young age and how political involvement has always represented an important part of her connection to Judaism. She also explains how the feminist movement has been important to her and how she has worked to articulate her spirituality in a feminist context. This interview also focuses on Rabbi Spitzer's activism and her work around economic justice and Middle East peace.

Search Terms
Spitzer, Rabbi Toba

Video interview of Rabbi Toba Spitzer



Transcript of interview of Rabbi Toba Spitzer


Box 2
Toole, Jay, Jay Toole interviewed by Ryan Rasdall
2010 March 17
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Jay Toole (b. 1948) was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Her father was a brakeman on the railroad and her mother was a stay at home mom but was often absent due to mental illness. Jay was thrown out of the house when she was 13 years old and lived on the streets of New York for 25 years while battling addiction for 37 years. Jay got clean in 1999, the same year she obtained her GED. In 2000 she left the shelter system and helped to co-found Queers For Economic Justice (QEJ) in 2002. Jay is a trained alcohol and substance abuse counselor and in 2006 was awarded with the Richard L. Schiegel National Legion of Honor Award for Emerging Activist. Jay currently lives in New York City with her girlfriend Sheila.

Scope and content:

The oral history of Jay Toole discusses her childhood, her family, and her time living on the streets as a young butch lesbian, her drug and alcohol addiction and her queer activism in her later life. The interview is particularly strong on the topics of homelessness, New York City shelters, activism and Queers For Economic Justice.

Search Terms
Toole, Jay

Video interview of Jay Toole



Transcript of interview of Jay Toole


Box 3
Walters, Jennifer, Jennifer Walters interviewed by Anna Eisen
(bulk 2010 March 11 and April 9)
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Jennifer Walters (b. 1960) grew up in Buffalo, New York, graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor's degree in theology (1982), and earned Master's degrees from Boston College (1984) and Michigan State University (1994) in religious education and philosophy, respectively. She also holds a doctorate in ministry from the Episcopal Divinity School (1990) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Walters' employment history includes work for the Fenway Community Health Center in Boston, the ombudsperson and chaplain at University of Michigan, and a part-time pastor in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at Smith College. Her family includes partner Celeste Whiting, son Jeremy Whiting (age 20), daughter Julia Whiting (age 17), and son Ben Sciaky (age 17), as well as an assortment of furry animal companions.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Jennifer Walters describes growing up as the oldest of six children in a Catholic working-class family and community in Buffalo, New York. She explains how her early experiences as a student leader of college ministry at Marquette University, and later as a counselor to HIV-positive patients at Fenway Community Health Center, led her to obtain a doctorate from the Episcopal Divinity School. The interview centers on Walters' vocational discernment to the priesthood as an openly lesbian woman. She also details her coming out process, both to herself and her family, and emphasizes her family and community's unfailing support as she negotiated a place for herself in the Catholic Church and later the Episcopal Church in the midst of homophobic harassment.

Search Terms
Walters, Jennifer

Video interview of Jennifer Walters



Transcript of interview of Jennifer Walters


Box 3
Original tapes, and preservation master DVD's
2010

Box 4
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These materials are CLOSED.

Documenting Lesbian Lives
2011
2.5 linear feet(2 full letter document boxes, 1 half letter document box, 2 medium card boxes)43 Gigabytes(83 digital video and text files)

Barale, Michelle, Michelle Barale interviewed by Katherine Hanson
2011 March 24
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Michele Barale (b. 1945) spent her early childhood in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in Chicago, Illinois, following her parents' divorce. Her parents, Gloria Brennan and Pierre Barale, are now both deceased. Barale's mother's female partner is alive and in her mid-70s, but is not in good health. Michele graduated with a BA in Philosophy from Loyola University of Chicago in 1963, and received her PhD in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1983. She has taught at a variety of institutions, including Regis University, Denver; Gardner-Webb College, North Carolina; and in the Women's Studies Program at the University of Colorado. She began teaching at Amherst in 1987, and currently teaches at Amherst College as the Thalheimer Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies. Barale also serves as the Director of the Amherst Writing Center. She has lived with her female partner for the past 16 years.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Michele Barale describes growing up in a working class family and community in Chicago and Los Angeles. Specifically, she discusses living with her mother and Dutch Presbyterian grandmother in Chicago, and her experiences as a college student, participating in lesbian separatism and working at a gay bar before attending graduate school. The interview focuses on her experiences with religion and with lesbian feminism, her experiences as a gay woman who came out to herself and met her first love in college, her path to academia, her interest in queer literature, and opinions on how the different minority groups have interacted with one another. The sound was not recorded on the second tape, but she discusses her experiences after becoming a professor, and how she considers academia a form of activism. Michele's story illustrates that, despite becoming an atheist, religion played a largely positive role in her life, how the lesbian and gay communities have evolved over time, how lesbian feminism has evolved, and influenced her path in academia.

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Barale, Michelle

Video interview of Michelle Barale



Transcript of interview of Michelle Barale


Box 1
Collier, Chris, Chris Collier interviewed by Nancy Yerian
2011 March 15
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Christine (Chris) Collier (b. 1960) is a locally recognized and celebrated folk singer and songwriter who has produced seven CDs. She was born in the small town of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, and was one of nine children of a teacher and teamster (truck loader). She attended Bowling Green State University and SUNY College at Oneonta, and began her first significant relationship with a woman while in college. She has held a variety of jobs over the past 30 years, including pool manager, nurse's aide, substitute teacher, security guard, bartender, landscaper, GED teacher, caterer, and house painter. She earned a Master's degree in Educational Leadership in 2008 and is now Assistant Principal at Clark Montessori High School, a local public school where she also taught for six years. From 1987 to 1995, Collier also worked with Stonewall Cincinnati, a gay and lesbian rights group, where she organized and performed in pride parades. She has also participated in two gay rights marches on Washington.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Chris Collier describes growing up in a small town in Ohio in the 1960s and '70s, coming into consciousness of her own lesbian sexuality, her relationships with women from high school to the present, her participation in the lesbian community in Cincinnati, Ohio (particularly with the UC Law women's football team and through working as a bar tender at the lesbian bar the Squeeze Inn), her experience of losing a job due to homophobia, her experiences as a singer/songwriter, her participation in the gay rights marches on Washington, and her work as an educator in Cincinnati.

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Collier, Chris

Video interview of Chris Collier



Transcript of interview of Chris Collier


Box 1
Dobkin, Alix, Alix Dobkin interviewed by Sarah Dunn
2011 April 3
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Alix Dobkin (b. 1940) was born in New York City, and lived in Philadelphia, New York City, Washington D.C., and Kansas City, Missouri. At 16, Dobkin returned to Philadelphia and attended Temple University, graduating from the Tyler School of Fine Arts in 1962. Dobkin's parents were members of the Communist Party, which Dobkin herself joined at the age of 16. Her parents and the camp Dobkin attended exposed her to the tradition of folk music at a very young age. Dobkin began performing tradition folk and international music publically, and moved to Greenwich Village in 1962 to perform at clubs and coffee shops. Dobkin married Sam Hood, manager of the Gaslight Cafe in 1965, and they moved to Florida to start a new club, the Gaslight South. They returned to New York City after the club folded. They had a daughter, Adrian in 1970, and they separated in 1971. Dobkin announced she was a lesbian in 1972 after meeting Liza Cowen. Dobkin released the first album made by and for women, Lavender Jane Loves Women, in 1973. Dobkin began performing for women-only audiences, and was a strong advocate for women's spaces. She released 6 albums and played concerts in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and many other countries. She currently sits on the steering committee for OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change), and spends as much time as she can with her three grandchildren, Lucca, Marley, and Sorella.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Alix Dobkin discusses her early family life briefly, including her involvement with the Communist Party and the 1960's Greenwich Village folk music scene. Dobkin discusses married life, the financial struggles the couple faced in Florida, the birth of their daughter, and her separation from Sam Hood. The interview then moves on to Dobkin's first encounter with feminist consciousness, coming out as a lesbian, and her emergence into the world of women's music. The interview covers Dobkin's involvement with the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, the tensions within the lesbian community, and the struggles of being a female musician, as well as her involvement in OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change), and her hopes for the future.

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Dobkin, Alix

Video interview of Alix Dobkin



Transcript of interview of Alix Dobkin


Box 1
Earley, Deborah, Deborah Earley interviewed by Gabriela Acosta
2011 March 14
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Deborah Earley (b. December 13, 1960) grew up in Louisville, Kentucky with an older brother and two younger siblings. She graduated high school from Muhammad Ali High School, earned a BA from Wooster College, and later went on to earn a Masters Degree in Acupuncture at TAI Sophia Institute. Earley's employment history includes a combination of religious and corporate work, before settling into her current entrepreneurial acupuncture practice. She currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area with her partner and two sons.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Deborah Earley describes the difficulties that she experienced growing up as a tomboy in her Presbyterian home in Louisville, Kentucky. Earley explains that for much of her life, she sought to find acceptance from classmates, friends, and family through "overachieving perfectionism." Earley describes her internalized suppression of feelings for women because of her religious and familial influences. After a dysfunctional marriage, a 30-year-old Earley began her coming out process. Looking back, Earley explains the importance of living her own life and making the right choices for herself. Primarily, Earley focuses on her role as a mother of two sons, Garrison and Byron, and discusses the pressures and difficulties of raising two boys in a lesbian home.

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Earley, Deborah

Video interview of Deborah Earley



Transcript of interview of Deborah Earley


Box 1
Everhart, Jan, Jan Everhart interviewed by Anna Holley
2011 March 19
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Jan Everhart (b. October 27, 1956) in Cambridge, United Kingdom. She is one of four children and spent most of her childhood in Berkley, California. Her mother was a homemaker while her father was a university professor, administrator, and President of California Institute of Technology. Everhart earned her A.B. from U.C. Davis in 1978, her Masters of Divinity from Drew University Theological School in 1981, and her PhD from IIiff School of Theology at the University of Denver in 2003.

After finishing seminary in 1981, Everhart's bishop appointed her as the Associate Pastor of Sunnyvale United Methodist Church, where she worked until 1984. She then moved to Byron, California, where she worked as a Pastor of Byron Methodist Church from 1984 to 1989. After this position, she entered her final career move as a pastor within the Methodist Church as Pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church from 1989 to 1998. At this point, Everhart left the Methodist Church because, as a lesbian, she could not live openly with her partner within the confines of the church. She then moved to Denver, Colorado where she became an adjunct professor at IIiff School of Theology while simultaneously earning her PhD. In July of 2003, she moved to Iowa, working as Director for the Initiative of Vocational Exploration at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. She became Assistant Professor of Religion in 2006, and worked as director of the Lilly Service Initiative until 2009. Currently, she is a professor of religion at Simpson College.

Since entering the world of academia, she has published a plethora of articles, often underscoring feminist ideals and LGBTQ issues within a biblical framework. Everhart has also written about the American birth control conflict, and has presented several papers at the Society of Biblical Annual Meetings across the country. She has given numerous presentations, discussing her published work around the nation. She has earned numerous awards for her work in service and for her vital addition to the scholarship of religion.

Outside of academia, Everhart's community involvement has remained consistent throughout the years. She was convener of the Clergywomen's Association in California-Nevada in the mid-1980s. In 1999, she participated with 70 clergy colleagues in an "ecclesiastical disobedience" by officiating at a public holy union at the Sacramento Convention Center. Subsequently, she was charged with disobedience to the order and doctrine of the United Methodist Church. Everhart has also been active in reproductive rights and queer rights, volunteering at Rainbow Alley, a drop in center for queer youth in Denver, Colorado. Everhart met her partner, Jan Ratliff, at an AA meeting, and has been sober since 1984. Everhart and Ratliff have been partnered since 1988, celebrated a holy union in 1991, and were legally married in the state of Iowa in 2009. They have three grown children and reside on a farm in Southern Iowa.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Jan Everhart shares her experiences as an ordained Methodist pastor living in Iowa. She discusses her political thoughts surrounding gay marriage, and details her 22 ½ year relationship with her partner, Jan Ratliff. Everhart also discusses queerness within the United Methodist Church, her dedication to the church's values, and her radical perceptions of the Bible. Finally, she sheds light on her "quiet" activism, commitment to service learning, and passion for mentoring young adults.

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Everhart, Jan

Video interview of Jan Everhart



Transcript of interview of Jan Everhart


Box 1
Harris, Lori, Lori Harris interviewed by Lalitha Muthusamy
2011 April 18
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Lori Harris (b. 1957) was born in Dayton, Ohio, and was raised primarily by her mother and her maternal grandparents. Her mother worked in her grandmother's beauty salon and later became an administrative assistant at a local high school. Harris identifies as African American and part Blackfoot and as gay/lesbian. She was raised as a Baptist, later became a Methodist, and currently has no religious affiliation, but still considers herself a spiritual person. In the 1980's and 90's, she was involved with an organization called "The Black Lesbian Support Group."

She attended a vocational high school school, and later went on to take courses in Communication at Trinity University from 2006-2007. Harris worked as a legal assistant and secretary for a law firm from 1975 to 2007, when she decided to attend Smith College as an Ada Comstock Scholar. While at Smith, Harris worked as a Junior Curator/Public Historian at the Smithsonian Institution, had an archival internship at the Black Women's Health Imperative, and was a Kahn Liberal Arts Student Fellow during the 2009-2010 academic year. During the 2010-2011 academic year, she worked as an OCIP/CDO Intern at the Sophia Smith Collection.

In 2011, Harris received her BA in American Studies, with a concentration in museum studies and archival studies.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Lori Harris describes her childhood growing up in Dayton, Ohio with her siblings and her experiences dealing with her mother's divorces and her abusive stepfather. The interview focuses on her journey as a working adult returning to college to receive her bachelor's degree in American Studies. She talks at length about her academic and scholarly work in black women and lesbian health issues, as well as her experiences in the academy as a non-traditional aged student scholar of color. Harris' story about her time in Washington, D.C. as a volunteer with the Black Lesbian Support Group also sheds light on the internal race dynamics of LGBT organizations during the 1970's and 1980's. Her story adds a new perspective on the LGBT movements that gained momentum before and during the AIDS epidemic and, in particular, the voice of the marginalized, tokenized black lesbians, that has been scarcely heard before. It also delves into Harris' personal life, and her journey in discovering herself through romantic and familial relationships.

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Harris, Lori

Video interview of Lori Harris



Transcript of interview of Lori Harris


Box 1
Howland, Pam, Patricia Holland (pseudonym) interviewed by Sarah Bastress
2011 April 22
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Patricia Holland (b. 1949) was born in Syracuse, New York, but grew up with her family in California and Virginia, and lived in New Jersey for one year. Her father was a landscape architect for the National Park Service and on the faculty of the University of Virginia. Holland's mother stayed at home until Patricia and her siblings began to attend school, then became the assistant to the Principal for Instruction at Mclean High School, and eventually became a guide at Monticello where she worked for 25 years. Holland has a brother who is 66, and three sisters who are 58, 55, and 53. Holland attended the Virginia Commonwealth University, where she began her long dedication to community organizing, helping to develop the Welfare Rights Organization in Richmond, Virginia. She graduated in 1971with a BA in Social Welfare. Since her first job volunteering for VISTA and organizing a public housing tenant union, Holland has committed to fighting for welfare rights and self-help housing. In 1977, she became the Coordinator for Children's Services for the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health's Division of Drug Rehabilitation. In 1982, Holland became the Program Manager for Project Aim, Incentive Community Enterprises, Inc. in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she developed and managed community homes for formerly institutionalized people. In the late 1970s, she purchased a sheep farm in Massachusetts, which she lived and worked on congruently with her welfare work until the early 1990s. Holland attended the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts and received her Masters in Public Administration in 1987. After working in housing projects for over two decades, Holland has become passionate about building affordable sustainable housing, and helping other women to do the same. Recently, she helped found the Westfield Energy Efficiency Trades Center (WEETC), a non-profit facility for women-owned businesses to build a healthier environment and economy, of which she also serves as the Executive Director. Holland serves on many local committees involving social welfare and sustainability.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Patricia Holland describes aspects of herself as a child that are still relevant and important to her identity today, many stemming from her experiences of being a young girl living on a farm. The interview centers on her struggle to accept and celebrate herself as a woman and a lesbian, as well as the relationships that both prevented and allowed her to do so. She discusses her dedication to anti-poverty work and self-help housing, and why self-help housing is the tangible way of making a difference, especially for women.

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Howland, Pam

Video interview of Patricia Holland



Transcript of interview of Patricia Holland


Box 2
Lanzillotto, Annie, Annie Rachele Lanzillotto interviewed by Caitlin Dubois
2011 April 3
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Annie Rachele Lanzillotto (b. 1963) was born in the Bronx, New York, to Italian-American parents. Her father, Joseph Lanzillotto, was an iceman and later an electrician, and served in World War II. Lanzillotto's mother, Rachele Lanzillotto, graduated from Jane Addams High School in the Bronx with training in cosmetology. She became a hairdresser and manicurist after divorcing Annie's father in 1975. She is the youngest of four children (Charles, 1948; Rosemarie, 1950; John, 1952). In 1975, at the age of twelve, Annie and her mother moved to Yonkers. In 1986, Lanzillotto graduated with an Honors BA in Medical Anthropology from Brown University. While at Brown, Lanzillotto worked various service jobs. In 1985, she attended the American University of Cairo where she did her thesis work at the Egyptian Ministry of Health, where she first began to "play with gender" by sometimes dressing as a man. In 1990, she went on to get her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence University. At age 18, Lanzillotto was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and, due to the radiation, she was later diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer at age 35. Today, Lanzillotto identifies herself as a "theatre teacher, writing instructor, song writer, performer poet, director of solo theatre, director of site specific theatre, memoirist, rock vocalist, and community organizer." In 1993, she entered the theatre world by writing and performing Confessions of a Bronx Tomboy. Theatrical highlights include her public art installation and performance A Stickball Memoir, curated by City Lore for the 2001 Smithsonian Folk Life Festival; her play Pocketing Garlic, commissioned by Franklin Furnace in 1994; her one woman show, How To Wake Up a Marine in a Foxhole, which premiered at The Kitchen Solo Voice's Series in 1998, and her two year site-specific work entitled, a'Schapett! (the act of wiping your plate clean with the heel of the bread, and savoring the juices) at The Arthur Avenue Retail Market in the Bronx. In 2010, The Annie Lanzillotto Band came out with a rock album entitled, "Blue Pill."

Lanzillotto is currently a member of the Italian American Writers Association, the Italian American Historical Association, the Franklin Furnace Archive (which preserves and encourages avant-garde art by underrepresented communities in Brooklyn), Dixon Place, and The Kitchen. She was also a member of Act Up: Rank and File from 1986-1988, and is presently a member of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition Executive Committee.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Annie Lanzillotto describes her childhood in a working class Italian American family, with focused attention on the transition that moved the narrator and her mother from the Bronx to Yonkers, New York in 1974. The interview also explores the impact of her father's domestic violence on her family. Lanzillotto also discusses gender identity and the messages she received regarding sexuality and gender while attending Catholic schools, Brown University, and the American University in Cairo. In addition, Lanzillotto describes the impact of being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at age 18 and Thyroid Cancer at age 35, along with her understandings of work and development of an "artist family." Lanzillotto also characterizes her participation in the Triangle Factory Fire Remembrance held on March 25, 2011.

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Lanzillotto, Annie

Video interview of Annie Rachele Lanzillotto



Transcript of interview of Annie Rachele Lanzillotto


Box 2
Morningstar, Betty, Betty Morningstar interviewed by Jeni Turner
2011 April 8
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Betty Morningstar (b. 1952) grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. In 1971, she graduated from Smith College with an A.B. in Psychology. She pursued her graduate studies at Smith, earning her M.S.W. in 1977 and her Ph.D. in 1989. In addition to her extensive studies at Smith, Betty holds a M.A. from the Andover Newton Theological School. Since 1983, she has worked as a therapist in a private practice. Her teaching experience includes the Schools for Social Work at Smith and Simmons Colleges. Currently, she serves as the president of the Massachusetts Chapter of National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and in the past, has served as the chair of the national LGBT committee of NASW. She is also the former chair of the Social Workers for Peace and Justice. Additionally, she contributed to the book Lesbians and Lesbian Families: Multiple Reflections with the chapter Lesbian Parents: Understanding Developmental Pathways, (1999).

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Betty Morningstar describes her evolving relationship with her parents, including their attendance at her commitment ceremony. She explains her schooling experiences as a Jewish student at both private and public schools, and articulates how many choices in her earlier adulthood manifested from her lack of choices within the social times growing up. Her educational and ideological explorations during her studies at Smith College, as both and undergraduate and graduate student, highlight her positioning on the cusp of major political movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. Additionally, she chronicles her emerging feminist and lesbian ideologies during her personal growth of relationships and professional development. From a realization in her early childhood to become a therapist to being the president of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Betty has demonstrated a clear professional trajectory. The interview includes experiences as a single, lesbian woman searching for the means to create a family with children and a supportive partner. All the while, Betty fuses the clinical practice of therapy with the exploration of the religious, personal self. Betty's story details the avenues she explored to become a lifelong learner, an active community member, and a lesbian parent and spouse.

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Morningstar, Betty

Video interview of Betty Morningstar



Transcript of interview of Betty Morningstar


Box 2
Oglesby, Carole A., Carole Oglesby interviewed by Zeina Dajani
2011 February 24
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Carole Oglesby (b. 1938) grew up in Oklahoma and California. She earned her BA and MS from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1961 and 1964 respectively, and earned her PhD in Physical Education from Purdue University in 1969. She also earned a PhD in Counseling at Temple University in 1999. Oglesby started her career as a professional softball player, competing in national level softball championships in 1962, 63, and 65, and coached teams from both Purdue University and the University of Massachusetts. Oglesby is a professor emeritus in sport psychology (2001) from Temple University and was Chairperson in Kinesiology at California State University Northridge from 2003 to 2009.

As a sports psychology consultant, she has worked with Olympians and Pan American Games champions in rowing, cycling, para-Olympic cycling, and with the USA Deaf Women's VB team. Oglesby was on the executive committee of the USA World University Games group from 1972-1992, the US Olympic Committee House of Delegates from 1992-1996, and sat on the USOC Sport Psychology Registry for 12 years. She has presented papers and conducted training and leadership workshops in 31 countries. She has also published several pioneering works, including, Women and Sport: Myth to Reality (1978); Black Women and Sport (co-edited, 1978); and Encyclopedia of Women and Sport in America (1998).

She is past-president of WomenSport International, served on the Executive Committee of the International Working Group for Women and Sport, and was the principal contributor to the UN-DAW monograph, Women 2000 and Beyond: Women, Gender, Equality and Sport, 2009. She is a recipient of the Women's Sports Foundation Billie Jean King award, AAHPERD R. Tait McKinzie award, ICSSPE Phillip Noel Baker Research award.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Carole Oglesby describes her childhood with her feminist mother and supportive father. The interview is a quick overview of her relationships, activism, political activity, and family life. Oglesby details her introduction to feminism, and credits her interest in sport psychology as stemming from her life long battle to attain equal rights for women in sports. She has worked on many different projects, for example she talks about her work with the 1977 Women's Conference in Huston, and her work with Title IX.

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Oglesby, Carole A.

Video interview of Carole Oglesby



Transcript of interview of Carole Oglesby


Box 2
Penotte, Cody, Cody Penotte interviewed by Grace Martin
2011 April 23
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Cody Penotte (b. 1957) grew up in Ohio and Florida, living with two foster families after leaving her family of origin at the age of twelve. After attending high school, she spent a year in a cultural anthropology program, during which she lived in Mexico, Canada, and the Sea Islands. After this, she spent two years as an apprentice to a Shaker furniture maker, and, since then, she has been a passionate furniture maker. Penotte is currently an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College, majoring in Education. She lives on Nantucket with her partner of thirty years.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Cody Penotte describes her very diverse childhood in several different families and socioeconomic backgrounds, her equally diverse job experience, and the factors that led her to pursue a Bachelor's degree at Smith College. The interview focuses on the numerous jobs she has held, particularly in the field of woodworking, as well as her experience with the Ada Comstock program, and her relationship with her current partner. Penotte's story also details the ways in which diversity in her upbringing has influenced her life.

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Penotte, Cody

Video interview of Cody Penotte



Transcript of interview of Cody Penotte


Box 2
Pittman, Catherine, Catherine Pittman interviewed by Elizabeth (Bethy) Williams
2011 March 12
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Catherine Pittman was born in Flint, Michigan on August 3, 1961. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University and Northern Illinois University (where she received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology). She has taught at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana since 1989. Though she is a practicing clinical psychologist, Pittman's passion has always been for teaching. At Saint Mary's, she has served as advisor for several campus organizations that raise awareness of issues such as violence against women and LGBTQ visibility. She also co-authored a book with Elizabeth (Lisa) Karle entitled Extinguishing Anxiety: Whole Brain Strategies to Relieve Fear and Stress.

Catherine Pittman currently lives with her two daughters Melinda and Arrianna in South Bend, Indiana, where she is a community activist in the debate of whether to amend the city's Human Rights Ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. She served as spokesperson for South Bend Equality, a group advocating for the Human Rights Amendment, from 2006 until 2011.

Scope and content:

In this interview, Catherine Pittman discusses growing up in Owosso, Michigan as the oldest of 10 children raised in a single parent household. She recounts her religious and spiritual journey—growing up with Catholicism and later finding a home in Unitarian Universalism and earth-centered spiritualities. Pittman talks of her academic passions in the field of psychology as well as her activism as a professor at Saint Mary's College, a small Catholic women's college in Notre Dame, Indiana. On a personal level, she discusses her divorce with her husband, her relationship with her two daughters, and her identity as a bisexual woman. Explaining her current activist work, Pittman discusses her efforts to amend the South Bend, Indiana Human Rights Ordinance to include gender identity and sexual orientation.

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Pittman, Catherine

Video interview of Catherine Pittman



Transcript of interview of Catherine Pittman


Box 2
Power, Bet, Bet Power interviewed by Rhys McGovern
2011 April 11
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Bet Power (b. 1950) is an FTM transgender man who has chosen not to medically transition. He is a longtime activist and agitator for LGBT rights. Power was raised in Chicago, and has been a resident of the Northampton area since the late 1970s. He identified as a stone butch, and lived and socialized in the lesbian community in Chicago and Northampton during the 1970s and early 1980s, and has identified as an FTM transgender man since 1983. Since the late 1970s, Power has been curator of the Sexual Minority archives, which document the lives and histories of varied sexual minorities, including lesbians, bisexuals, gay men, transgendered people, S/M leatherfolk, and fetishists. He founded the East Coast FTM group in 1992 and continues to host the monthly meetings in his home.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Bet Power describes his childhood in a working-class family in Chicago, and his experiences in the Polish Roman Catholic community as a child. The interview focuses on his involvement and experiences with the lesbian feminist movement in Chicago and Northampton in the 1970s and 1980s, his experiences coming out as a transman in Northampton in the early 1980s, his activism within the LGBTQ community, and the history and development of the Sexual Minorities Archive.

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Power, Bet

Video interview of Bet Power



Transcript of interview of Bet Power


Box 2
Shumsky, Ellen, Ellen Shumsky interviewed by Dara Kagan
2011 March 14
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Ellen Shumsky (b. 1941) grew up in Brooklyn, received her B.S. from Brooklyn College in l96l, and earned her Masters in library science from the Pratt Institute in l964. Shumsky taught high school science in the New York City school system for four years, followed by ten years as a school librarian. In the late 1960s, Shumsky studied photography in France with her mentor and brother-in-law Harold Chapman. She returned to the United States in 1969 to join the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). Shumsky co-founded the Radicalesbians and co-authored the lesbian feminist text "The Woman-Identified Woman" under the name of Ellen Bedoz. She served as the principle photographer for GLF's newspaper Come Out. In 1979, Schumsky received her Masters in social work from SUNY Stony Brook. From 1980 to the present, she has worked as a psychiatric social worker, a psychotherapist in private practice, and teacher and supervisor at psychotherapy and psychology institutes in New York City.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Ellen Shumsky describes growing up in a Jewish community in Brooklyn and her experiences learning about photography in France in the 1960s. The interview focuses on her experiences in the New York City school system, her experiences working in the Gay Liberation Front and co-founding the Radicalesbians, her work as a photographer and chronicler of the gay liberation movement, and her work as a social worker and psychotherapist. Shumsky's story details the origins of lesbian feminism from an intimate perspective, those policing this movement, internal discord, and commune life. She also illustrates the experience of being a lesbian psychotherapist, and how her identification as a lesbian changes her relationships with her patients and the larger discipline.

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Shumsky, Ellen

Video interview of Ellen Shumsky



Transcript of interview of Ellen Shumsky


Box 3
Sullivan, Laura, Laura Sullivan interviewed by Melissa Yvette Pena
2011 April 7
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Laura Sullivan (a.k.a. "M.L.") (b. August 1, 1959) grew up in Westport, CT. The third of five children from a middle-class Italian-American family, she was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools throughout her primary and secondary school education, until she attended Yale University in the late 1970s. After graduation, she became a physical therapist at Yale New Haven Hospital, where she worked for eighteen years, during which time she married and had a daughter. In the early 1990s, after becoming disillusioned with her role as a physical therapist, she and her business partner, Samantha, opened the Chateau, the first women-owned and operated BDSM club in Connecticut. A strong advocate for BDSM awareness, the Chateau was a safe space for employees and patrons to find community and "play." M.L. left the Chateau in the mid-1990s over creative differences wither her business partner, and divorced her husband in the early 1990s, suffering through a tumultuous child custody battle, where her BDSM interests and activities were major factors in the court proceedings. She now lives with her daughter and leather family in Connecticut, where they run a small, private BDSM club.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Laura Sullivan begins by describing her childhood in a close-knit Italian-American family, where the listener gains insight into her privileged upbringing. Her loving and supportive family provided a disciplined and structured foundation, where she had strong female role models (i.e. a mother who was a nurse and a grandmother who owned a bakery), which helped lead her to a life filled with self-determination and confidence.

The interview mainly focuses on Laura Sullivan's interest, entrance, and existence within the BDSM community, beginning with her involvement in "shoe-licking" shenanigans in the second grade, to opening the Chateau, a mass BDSM club, to her commitment to her present, private BDSM club in Connecticut. Through her personal reflections, the audience is allowed access to the emotional and literal negotiations between the roles of wife, mother, daughter, teacher, student, etc., through a perceived sexualized lens. Her story offers valuable information on the study of alternative sexualities and women entrepreneurs in the sex industry, as well as providing a normalized perspective of what is often considered a taboo subject.

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Sullivan, Laura

Video interview of Laura Sullivan



Transcript of interview of Laura Sullivan


Box 3
Wolfe, Kate, Kate Wolfe interviewed by Annie-Sage Whitehurst
2011 April 9
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Kate Wolfe (b. 1964) grew up in El Paso, Texas, with her mother, step-father and one of two older brothers. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1986, and stayed at the university to earn her MA in Experimental Psychology in 1989. In 1994, Wolfe earned her Ph.D in Social Psychology from the University of Houston. Wolfe's subsequent employment includes pre- and post-doctoral positions as a teaching assistant, a research fellow, a director of research projects and, in 2001 she began teaching at community colleges in Washington, Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, Oregon and Massachusetts. Her published work includes articles in the Journal of Clinical Psychology (1990), Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (1995), and the American Journal of Public Health (1996). (All articles published under her previous name, Susanna M. Perry). Wolfe currently holds four teaching positions (virtual and physical) as a Tenured Psychology Instructor at Seattle Central Community College, an Adjunct Psychology Instructor at Springfield Technical Community College, Asnuntuck Community College and Holyoke Community College.

Wolfe grew up in a white, working-class Catholic household and moved frequently as her step-father, a former sailor in the Navy and her mother, a registered nurse diagnosed with Lupus, looked for work throughout Texas and New Jersey. Wolfe lived with her parents until 1989 when she moved to Houston, where she came out as a lesbian and began the first of three significant relationships. Wolfe lived in Seattle, Portland and California before moving to Massachusetts with her current girlfriend Kellye Rowland ('AC) in 2010.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Kate Wolfe describes her childhood in Texas, her estranged relationship with her stepfather and elder siblings and the year spent sleeping in a car while her parents moved the family across the country in search of work. The interview focuses on Wolfe's romantic, intellectual and emotional life since grade school, her employment history and her lesbian identity. Wolfe's story illuminates the experiences of working-class lesbians, perspectives on the "queer" label, Wolfe's marriage in 2003 to then-girlfriend in Portland, her attempts to reconnect/ distance herself from her family and her activities in academia.

Search Terms
Wolfe, Kate

Video interview of Kate Wolfe



Transcript of interview of Kate Wolfe


Box 3
Original tapes, and preservation master DVD's
2011

Box 4 Box 5
Restrictions on access:

These materials are CLOSED.

Documenting Lesbian Lives
2012
30 Gigabytes(75 digital video and text files)

Chapman, Mare, Mare Chapman interviewed by Sophie Steinberger
(bulk 2012 March 16 and 19)
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Mare Chapman (b. 1944) grew up near Kalamazoo, MI. She graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with a degree in Occupational Therapy and later earned her masters degree in counseling psychology. Chapman has taught classes in psychiatric O.T. at Wayne State University and University of Wisconsin Madison and has worked in the public mental health system in a variety of capacities, including as the director of a community program for mentally ill adults. She currently is in private practice and a teacher of mindfulness meditation in Madison, WI.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Mare Chapman describes growing up as a tomboyish child in her educated, emotion-hiding "fine family" as well as her Michigan country high school. The interview follows her feminist awakening, growth and motivation parallel to her career and to her progression through high school dating, marriage to a man, introductory lesbian dalliances, and long-term lesbian partnerships. Chapman's story depicts her experience as a mother and wife in "traditional" heterosexual marriage and it's lack of cohesion, equality, and fulfillment before her personal awakening and transition into a woman-centered life. Chapman expresses the joy and fulfillment she has found through other women, family, her career, and meditation practice.

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Chapman, Mare

Video interview of Mare Chapman



Transcript of interview of Mare Chapman


Box 1
Cooke, Carla, Carla Cooke interviewed by Allie Bernard
2012 April 15
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Cooke, Carla

Video interview of Carla Cooke



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Closed without express narrator permission until April 15, 2042.

Transcript of interview of Carla Cooke


Box 3
Davenport, Kate, Kate Davenport interviewed by Karla Faber
2012 April 6
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Kathryn (Kate) Davenport was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1957. She spent her childhood growing up in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. Davenport moved to Boston at the age of 18 to attend a secretarial school. After living in Boston for a while, Davenport attended the University of Massachusetts and soon after, attended the Smith School of Social Work. After earning her degree she worked as a social worker and a therapist. While at Smith she married and had one daughter. She divorced her husband at the age of 35 and simultaneously came out, when she met her first partner. Davenport's passions lie in being a parent, and finding tools like yoga, and meditation to be the best person she can be. She lives with her partner of ten years, and currently works as a private psychotherapist.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Kate Davenport discusses her unstable childhood, and moving to Boston by herself at a young age. She talks about her time at UMass and at the Smith School of Social Work and the challenge of finding herself throughout her adolescence and adulthood. The importance of parenting is highlighted throughout the interview, as well as her exploration of tools, like yoga and therapy, she utilized to overcome the abuse and neglect of her childhood, to bring her to her current point in life.

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Davenport, Kate

Video interview of Kate Davenport



Transcript of interview of Kate Davenport


Box 1
BJ Entwisle interviewed by Lillie Scheffey
2012 April 5
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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This interview is closed until January 1, 2032. No bio or abstract online. No online access.

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Video interview of BJ Entwisle



Transcript of interview of BJ Entwisle


Box 3
Restrictions on access:

Closed until January 1, 2032.

Evans, Judith, Judith Evans interviewed by Jennifer Krain
2012 March 23
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Judith Evans (b. 1940) was born in Wareham, Massachusetts where she lived during her early childhood. At age 12 Evans' family relocated to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where she lived for most of her adult life. Evans graduated from High School and went on to secretarial school where she learned the appropriate skills needed for an office job. Evans worked for Equitable Insurance for 13 years before working at the State Hospital for 26 years as an aid. During her time at the State Hospital she also served as a nurse for the 316th Medical Unit of the Army Reserves. She served a term of two years. Currently Evans resides in Villas, New Jersey living a happy retired life. In New Jersey Evans has volunteered at both a local animal shelter and women's abuse center.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Judith Evans describes her childhood, careers, and romantic relationships during her lifetime. Evans discusses the hardships of growing up with an unsupportive parent and the stress created from living a double life. Evans also focuses on the stress felt at work and the need to be closeted for fear of being fired. Evans has always taken a caregiver role, volunteering for several years at an animal shelter and women's abuse center. Evans' discusses her motives not to join any feminist movements during the 1970's and 1980's because of the lesbian feminist reputation for being far left. She also comments on the ability to "pass" on the streets because of her feminine looks. Her story contrasts that of separatist feminist feelings as Evans promotes having friends of both sexes and sexuality. Her story also comments on a life experienced with different partners and the challenges of being in a committed relationship.

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Evans, Judith

Video interview of Judith Evans



Transcript of interview of Judith Evans


Box 1
Harris, Janet, Janet Harris interviewed by Taylor Schulte
2012 March 30
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Permission to use must be given by narrator.

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Scope and content:
Search Terms
Harris, Janet

Video interview of Janet Harris



Transcript of interview of Janet Harris


Box 3
Heller, Deborah, Deborah Heller interviewed by Kayla Ginsburg
2012 April 7 and 8
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Deborah Heller (born August 19, 1940) was raised in Brooklyn, New York in an upwardly mobile Jewish family. She graduated from Smith in 1961 as a sociology major and then proceeded to attend the School of Social Work for one year, which ended her up in Cleveland where she met her husband. After 10 years of marriage, she divorced her husband and came out as a lesbian in the 1970s. She earned a masters and a doctorate at Boston College between 1972 and 1976. She taught at Goddard in an adult degree program, BC as a teaching fellow, and started a gender identity clinic. Instead of pursuing academia, she became head of counseling and women's services at a women's health clinic, and then director of ambulatory services for department of psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital, with an appointment at the medical school. Then in 1982, she started HellerCunningham, a consulting firm helping organizations (profit and non-profit) become more successful. Heller has been active her whole life. She was involved in anti-Vietnam organizing, early reproductive and abortion rights, and the women's movement. She was a Board member of Fenway Community Health Service. She and her partner Ann Sanders started the Fenway Women's Dance, one of the first major women's dances, together over 20 years ago. She has been with her current partner, Ann for 26 years. They were legally married in 2004 in Massachusetts. They currently live in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Deborah Heller discusses her childhood in Brooklyn, New York and her transition to Smith College. She describes Smith in the late 1950s and goes on to talk about her decision to go to the Smith School of Social Work. She discusses her time in Puerto Rico in the Peace Corps and her work in Boston before divorcing her husband. She talks about her academic interest in gender and sexuality in graduate school occurring before and simultaneous to her coming out. She focuses on the women's movement through lesbian feminism and often discussing lesbian community in Boston. She discusses her political work, including teaching workshops on lesbian sexuality at the short-lived lesbian college, Sagaris. She comments on her experiences during the AIDS crisis and work on the board of Fenway, as well as starting the Fenway Women's Dance with her partner, Ann Sanders. The interview focuses on her political work, as well as her personal life.

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Heller, Deborah

Video interview of Deborah Heller



Transcript of interview of Deborah Heller


Box 1
Laird, Joan, Joan Laird interviewed by Erin Hopkins
2012 April 13
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Joan Laird (b. 1934) grew up in Rochester, New York, graduated with a BA in political science from Vassar, and a MSW from Columbia. She taught at Eastern Michigan University's Social Work Program. She did three-years of postdoctoral work in anthropology and social work at the University of Michigan. She co-founded the Ann Arbor Center for the Family with her partner, Ann Hartman. Her partner Ann Hartman was dean of the Smith School for Social Work. She has published several books with Hartman on the topic of family therapy. Laird has also taught at Smith, and has been a pioneer in researching and working with lesbians in the field of social work.

Scope and content:

This oral history details Joan Laird's evolving relationships with her family. Laird's marriage with her ex-husband, the birth of her son, Duncan, and her relationship with her current partner, Ann Hartman, is discussed.Her experiences at Vassar in the fifties are described as well. The interview includes stories of Laird's time in Ann Arbor as a postdoctoral student in social work and anthropology as well as the opening of the Ann Arbor Center for Family with Hartman. Laird talks about the coming-out process in numerous contexts and the particular struggles of doing so in the field of social work. She also describes her work with gay and lesbian families in the field of social work. She also reflects on the evolving environment for queer people.

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Laird, Joan

Video interview of Joan Laird



Transcript of interview of Joan Laird


Box 1
Lathrop, Janet, Janet Lathrop interviewed by Hannah Pepin
2012 April 8
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Janet Lathrop (b. 1951) grew up in Madison, Wisconsin with her mother, father, and one younger brother. She holds a B.A. degree in journalism and a M.S. in science communication from University of Wisconsin, Madison. She identifies as a lesbian and a writer and has worked for a variety of organizations and publications as a newspaper reporter, editor, and science writer. She continued to travel and write until 2008, when she came to the UMass Amherst News Office as the campus science writer. Jan's first relationship was with a woman, from 1964-68, but she resisted the label of "lesbian" and eventual married a man, Mike Downs, in 1971. She had once child with him, a son named Paul, but eventually divorced her husband in 1987. Since then she has been in two partnerships with women, including one lasting 16 years from 1991 to 2007. She now lives Massachusetts with her parakeet, Phoebe, and is not currently married or partnered.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Janet Lathrop describes growing up in Wisconsin in a small, upwardly mobile family, and her journey through college and beyond. This interview traces the development of Lathrop's early sexual and romantic attraction to women over men, and her struggle within a family that often felt constricting and even fearful of her preferences. Lathrop describes her high school and college years, including her involvement in anti-war activism on campus in Madison, Wisconsin. Never quite identifying with the word "lesbian" or the other lesbians she met, Lathrop talks about her decision to marry a man and about becoming increasingly unhappy in her marriage as the years went on. The interview also touches on Lathrop's development as a writer, and her involvement in a number of newspapers and other publications. Lathrop speaks to the experience of coming out late in life, of parenting as a lesbian, and especially to the discovery of a supportive and welcoming lesbian community and its importance in her life.

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Lathrop, Janet

Video interview of Janet Lathrop



Transcript of interview of Janet Lathrop


Box 1
Myles, Eileen, Eileen Myles interviewed by Brittni Hayes
2012 March 30
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Eileen Myles (b. 1949) grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, attended Catholic school, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts- Boston, with a BA in English. She moved to New York in 1974 to become a poet and since then has received multiple awards and grants for her work. In 1991, Myles ran for President of the United States of America, leading the first all-female write-in campaign. She served as a Professor Emeritus at the University of California at San Diego from 2002-2007. Myles currently lives in New York with her partner of three years, Leopoldine.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Eileen Myles describes the complexities of existing as a queer, working class individual. She details her childhood spent in the suburbs of Boston attending Catholic schools and reflects on the presence of Nuns in her early life. The interview, however, focuses more specifically on the later years of her life, following her move to New York City in 1974 with aspirations of becoming a poet. Myles details her experiences in the poetry scene of the lower east side, specifically her time at Saint Mark's Church, and speaks of her coming out process as being inherently tied to the poetry community. Myles speaks heavily about the activist sentiment present in her work, as she feels her work relates to the larger political spheres of feminism and queer politics. Myles' story brings awareness to the intersectional aspects of identity (in this case, sexuality and class). Additionally, she sheds light on the way in which activism at a communal level can be isolating, while simultaneously remaining imperative at a personal level. Myles traces this thought through her relationship with second wave feminism and the political environment of the 90s. This oral history provides excellent insight into personal, queer interaction with the larger political and cultural spheres from the 1970s-present day.

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Myles, Eileen

Video interview of Eileen Myles



Transcript of interview of Eileen Myles


Box 2
Nelson, Kristi, Kristi Nelson interviewed by Elizabeth Weissert
2012 April 3
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Kristi Nelson (b.1960) was born in Yonkers, NY to young parents who were in college. She is the oldest of three siblings. She has a brother (b.1961) and a sister (b.1963). After moving around frequently, her family settled in Amherst, MA where her father became an English professor. When she was 17 years old, her parents divorced and her mother moved to Connecticut to pursue a career in law. After taking a few years off to work and travel, Nelson enrolled in UMass Amherst and declared a major in Women's Studies. In 1983 Nelson got married and dropped out of college. She was married for four years and got divorced in 1987. Nelson began a career in fundraising and philanthropy working for the Peace Development Fund, the Progressive Group, 20/20 Vision, and Food & Water inc.

In 1992 Nelson was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. After an intense struggle with cancer, Nelson began working for hospice. In 1997 Nelson was hired as Executive Director of the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts. In 2002 she finished her B.A. in Women's Studies from UMass Amherst. She went on to complete the Leadership for Change program at Boston College in 2003. She ran her own fundraising company for non-profit organizations called Inside Out from 2002 to 2006. In 2007 she completed a Masters in Public Administration at Harvard University. She worked at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health from 2007 to 2008.

Nelson currently works at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society in Worcester, MA. She lives in Hadley, MA with her partner Linda and Linda's two children from a previous marriage.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Kristi Nelson describes her experience as a social activist throughout her life and the many forms her activism has taken. The interview follows the course of Nelson's life from her experiences as the child of activist parents to her current role in non-profit fundraising. Nelson's story encompasses her more radical social activism in high school and college. She reflects on the feminist and lesbian separatist movements in the early 1980's, focusing on her experience as a bisexual woman. Nelson's story then moves to her career in fundraising for non-profit organizations and the way this fundraising connects with her social activism. Nelson relates her experience as a cancer survivor and the way this experience shaped her spirituality. She describes her philosophy as a mindfulness practitioner. She reflects on homophobia within the women's movement and describes her experience of being closeted within the movement. Nelson's story includes her experience of being a lesbian mother in a non-traditional family. Finally Nelson reflects on the current state of the gay rights movement, social activism and American politics.

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Nelson, Kristi

Video interview of Kristi Nelson



Transcript of interview of Kristi Nelson


Box 2
Pato, Roberta, Roberta Pato interviewed by Vivian Andreani
2012 April 14
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Roberta Pato (b. 1946) was born in the Bronx and was raised in the Lower East Side in New York City. She spent most of her life in NYC, and attended Hunter College, an all-women's college in Manhattan. She also earned an MS in Education, and taught in the NYC Public School system from 1967 to 1990 — when she moved to Arlington, Massachusetts for three years and worked as an accounts clerk at MIT — resuming in 1993 and working until her retirement in 2002. She currently resides in Northampton, and is actively involved in LGBT and anti-violence organizing in the Valley.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Roberta Pato describes growing up Jewish in a multi-cultural apartment building in New York City, her early consciousness of lesbian desire and the pressure towards conformity. Pato contrasts the differences between her experiences with men and women, and the process of finding relationships. She details the painful experience of losing the love she found with a woman to societal expectations. Pato discusses the experience of being married to a man for nine years, and the affair and a thirty four year partnership with an abusive woman. The interview focuses on the process of losing family due to this relationship, and reconnecting to them, the reality and consequences of an abusive partnership, the arduous process of leaving an abuser, the finding of a lesbian community and searching for love and company in more recent years. Pato emphasizes the importance of safety and truthfulness, and the toll taken from being at least partially closeted for almost thirty four years.

Search Terms
Pato, Roberta

Video interview of Roberta Pato



Transcript of interview of Roberta Pato


Box 2
Quinones, Carmen, Carmen Quinones interviewed by Elise Smith
2012 March 19
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Quinones, Carmen

Video interview of Carmen Quinones



Transcript of interview of Carmen Quinones


Box 2
Shaw, Rebecca, Rebecca Shaw interviewed by Arielle Petrovich
2012 April 3
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Rebecca (Becky) Shaw was born in Sayre, PA in 1961 to Howard and Barbara Shaw. She grew up with her two siblings, Alan and Leslie, in the rural town of Towanda, PA. Her mother was an elementary school teacher, while her father worked in a local factory. Shaw was raised Presbyterian, and describes her experience growing up in a conservative family as very difficult. Shaw attended Elmira College, graduating with Bachelors degree in Business Administration and Marketing in 1984. She soon began her first job in Springfield, OH as Residence Hall Director at Wittenberg University until June 1986. That following month, Shaw continued her education, attending Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA. While working towards her Masters, Shaw worked as Residence Hall Director yet again. She graduated with a Masters degree in College Student Personnel Administration in 1988. Shaw moved to Carlisle, PA, where she worked at Dickenson College from 1988 to 1994. Shaw has extensive experience in leadership roles within College Administration field, holding the position of Dean of College and Director Residence Life multiple times during her career. Shaw currently works at Smith College as Director of Residence Life. She lives in western Massachusetts with her partner of 19 years, Amanda Costin and their three children: Bailey, Meghan, and Samuel Costin-Shaw.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Becky Shaw describes her childhood in a conservative, working-class family in Towanda, PA. The interview focuses on her journey to self-discovery, discussing her struggles with coming out to herself, as well as her family and friends, as well as accepting her ambitions outside of traditional female roles. This period ranges from her formative high school years to well into adulthood, as she began her career in student affairs. Shaw shares her complicated relationship with her family, history of past relationships gone wrong, and discrimination she's suffered as a lesbian and mother. Shaw goes in depth about the process of having children, and creating a family with her partner, Amanda Costin. Shaw's narrative details the way in which we come to understand the shift in lesbian history through the 80s and 90s, as she moves past a feminist movement to a more current period, in which she sought her own personal happiness.

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Shaw, Rebecca

Video interview of Rebecca Shaw



Transcript of interview of Rebecca Shaw


Box 2
Young, Nanci, Nanci Young interviewed by Fidelia Vasquez
2012 April 12
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Nanci A. Young (b. 1961) grew up in Royersford, Pennsylvania, graduated from Juniata College in 1982, and earned her M.A from University of Connecticut. Young has worked in many universities as an archivist including Yale University and Princeton University. She currently works at Smith College where she is the college archivist. Young now resides in Greenfield, Massachusetts where she lives with her partner Anne and her two children Osvaldo and Ashley.

Scope and content:

Nanci Young describes growing up as a preacher's daughter in a small town and how her friendship with her gym teacher influenced her decision to go to college. She talks about coming out incrementally to her friends and family and the different lesbian cultures that she witnessed in each place she lived. She describes falling into the archival profession and wanting to be the College Archivist at Smith College for a number of years before the job opened up. She ends the interview by discussing her current partner, the process of adopting her children and learning to parent, and the recent racist and homophobic events at Smith College.

Search Terms
Young, Nanci

Video interview of Nanci Young



Transcript of interview of Nanci Young


Box 2
Restricted transcripts (Carla Cooke, Janet Harris, BJ Entwisle), original tapes, and preservation masters
2012

Box 3
Restrictions on access:

These materials are CLOSED.

Documenting Lesbian Lives
2013
64 Gigabytes(87 video and text files)

Browne, Karen, Karen Browne interviewed by Veronica Brandt
2013 March 24
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Karen Browne (b. 1948) was born in Buffalo, New York, but spent most of her childhood in the area around St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated with honors from high school in Overland, Missouri in 1966 and earned a BA cum laude in psychology from Macalester College in 1970. She also attended the University of Minnesota for one semester. Browne's employment history includes positions in the field of women's studies and psychology. Immediately after her graduation from college, in 1972, Browne founded the Lesbian Resource Center in Minneapolis and worked as the director there for several years. She then taught a women's studies class at the University of Minnesota's Experimental College. For the majority of her career Browne has worked as a clinical social worker. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-Vietnam War Movement and the Lesbian-Feminist Movement.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Karen Browne describes her childhood growing up in a lower-middle-class family in the area around St. Louis, Missouri. She describes her father was an abusive alcoholic, a circumstance that led Browne into a lifetime of recovery and healing and inspired her major in psychology and enter the field of clinical social work, helping other people deal with trauma. Browne discusses her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, Anti-Vietnam War Movement and in lesbian-feminist activism. She talks about many aspects of lesbian-feminist life, including her definition of the term, the emphasis placed on political correctness, lesbian-feminists' presence in lesbian bars and the confusion around transgender people. She talks about the Lesbian Resource Center she founded in Minneapolis; discussing how she got the funding for it, the significance of using the word "lesbian" in the center's name and what its primary purpose was. Throughout this oral history Browne reflects and analyzes her experiences and in the political context of the times from childhood, through the tumultuous late '60s and early '70s, to present-day Northampton life.

Search Terms
Browne, Karen

Video interview of Karen Browne



Transcript of interview of Karen Browne


Box 1
Choi, Gina-Kamas, Gina-Kamas Choi interviewed by Nahee Kwak
2013 April 11
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Gina-Kamas Choi (b. 1961)was born in Baker, Oregon and grew up in Boise, Idaho. Her father has a Ph.D. in education and her mother has a Masters in art. Gina-Kamas Choi grew up with a sister who is one year younger and a brother who is two years older and is of half-Korean and half-European-American descent. She identifies as a Buddhist, a Two Spirit, and a lesbian. Choi graduated from Smith College in 1983 and attended Stillpoint Center and Springfield College. Her first job was as a second violinist in the Boise Philharmonic. She worked in various fields, from ranch hand to massage therapist , before becoming a mental health worker in psychiatric hospital. Gina-Kamas Choi is member of her local Democratic Party, the Human Rights Campaign and is affiliated with the Brattleboro Retreat LGBT Inpatient Unit. Kamas is married to her wife, Marian Geller, a social worker. They have one dog and two cats.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Gina-Kamas Choi describes her childhood, her high school experience, her experience at Smith College, and what it was like to live in Northampton. She describes her family dynamic and the significance of her Korean background. Kamas reflects on her life, including her experiences in many jobs before she became a mental health worker.

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Choi, Gina-Kamas

Video interview of Gina-Kamas Choi



Transcript of interview of Gina-Kamas Choi


Box 1
Cote, Carol, Carol Cote interviewed by Natalie Bornstein
2013 March 18
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Carol Cote (b. 1963) was born and raised in Lewiston, Maine, a predominantly French-Canadian, Catholic, working-class mill town. It is a small city, though large by Maine standards, the second largest city in the state. Her father was also born in Lewiston and her mother is from Pennsylvania. Both of her parents are living. The fifth of six children, Cotes graduated from Lewiston High School in 1981. She was a nursing assistant from 1978 -1983 and was on active duty in the U.S. Army Military Police from 1984 -1986 at West Point United States Military Academy, when she left the army with an honorable discharge. She worked in accounting/bookkeeping at Geiger Brothers in Lewiston from 1986-1984, at Catholic Charities Maine from 1994 -1996, and at Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios from 1996 -2000. In 1999 Cotes attended the Central Maine Medical Center School of Nursing in Lewiston and graduated with an associate's degree in nursing in 2001 with the highest GPA in her class. She is a registered nurse and has worked at St. Mary's Hospital since 2001. She currently works at d'Youville Pavilion, the hospital's rehabilitation unit. Cotes lives with her long-time partner, Janet Cyr. They have two dogs and one cat.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Carol Cote describes her childhood growing up in Lewiston, Maine, a small, predominantly working-class town. She discusses her relationships with her family, both immediate and extended. Cote talks about her early work experiences as a nurse's aide in high school and the friends she met through that job. She recalls her first crushes, discovering her sexuality, and how the friends she made while working in high school helped her to meet other gay and lesbian people. She talks extensively about her career in the U.S. Army and reflects on life for LGBT people in the Army during her years at West Point. She also considers the aftermath there after the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. Cote speaks about her experiences in nursing school and her nursing career. She discusses her 30-year relationship with her partner, Janet Cyr, and recalls their early relationship while she was in the army, her parent's discovery that they were a couple, and their life together. Cote looks to the future and reflects on her hopes and plans for the next stages of her life.

Search Terms
Cote, Carol

Transcript of interview of Carol Cote


Box 1
Elkin, Marty, Marty Elkin interviewed by Barbara Foley Morrison
2013 March 19 and 20
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Biographical note:

Marty Elkin (b. 1940) was born and raised in the rural town of Danville, Maine. She attended nursing school in Boston and was employed as a nurse and nursing educator at the college level, eventually specializing in maternity care, "Baby-friendly" obstetrics policy, and lactation. She holds a Masters of Public Health and co-authored the nursing textbook, Nursing Interventions and Clinical Skills. Elkin worked as a self-employed lactation specialist before retiring to the diversified sheep and wool farm, A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm, which she and her partner, Mary Ann Haxton, own and operate in Sumner, Maine. Elkin married an attorney when she was in her early twenties, and moved frequently throughout the United States with him and their three children, finally settling in Springfield, Illinois. In the mid-1980s, she met and developed a friendship with Haxton, the wife of the preacher at her Methodist church. Elkin and Haxton and fell in love and began a committed relationship in 1988. Her eldest son died at the age of 18, and her two surviving children live in Illinois and New York State, respectively. Elkin has seven grandchildren.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Marty Elkin describes her childhood in an all-white rural town, as well as her close relationship with her father, who worked for Gulf Oil Corporation, and her mother, a stay-at-home mom who inspired Elkin through her determination to not be limited by the loss of one of her legs as a child. Elkin discusses maternity care and her efforts to create hospital policy that supports mother-infant bonding, breastfeeding, family bonding, and mothers' medical autonomy. She speaks about her and her partner's struggles to find a welcoming Methodist church, and her experience of earth-based or Wiccan spirituality within the lesbian community in Maine since she left the United Methodist Church. Other topics include feminist process; her first marriage to an alcoholic adulterer; her children, including her daughter's experience with the mental health system and its homophobia; acceptance in a conservative rural Maine community; lesbian community in Maine; her opinions on sexual identities and labels; and her hopes for future generations of lesbian women.

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Elkin, Marty

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Fusco, Lisa, Lisa Fusco interviewed by Alexa DeJesus
2013 March 14
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Lisa Fusco (b. 1962) grew up in Springfield and Wilbraham, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1987, completed her masters degree in criminal justice at Westfield State and completed her criminal justice training at the police academy in Needham, Massachusetts. Fusco was an environmental police officer from 1987 to 2008. She now owns a bar in Easthampton, Casey's Big Dog Saloon, and a hot air balloon company, Pioneer Valley Balloons.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Lisa Fusco describes her childhood in a working-class family in Springfield, including her close relationship with her grandparents who lived next door. She discusses her time as an environmental police officer and the sexism, racism, and homophobia that she observed during that time. She talks about her struggles during her much of her education, her success in graduate school and how her teachers have helped her become who she is today. The interview focuses on many aspects of her life including an in-depth conversation about her extended family, education, coming out as a lesbian, and her professions. Fusco reflects on her challenges as well as her passions and describes how she reached stability and happiness in her life today. Fusco talks about the unique nature of Northampton and offers life lessons she has learned about being a good person. She tells numerous stories from her life that add to the narrative of the lesbian experience.

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Fusco, Lisa

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Jerome, Judith, Judith Jerome interviewed by Anne Ames
2013 March 22
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Judith Jerome (b. 1944) spent her childhood in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Dallas, Texas; and Denver, Colorado. She earned a BA in storytelling and mythology from Loretto Heights College in Denver, as well as an MA and a Ph.D in performance studies from New York University. Her extensive professional history includes work as a piano tuner, homesteader, newspaper columnist, general editor of Women and Performance, storyteller, actor, writer, and teacher. She is currently the artistic director of the Stonington Opera House, a community theater that she founded with her partner in 1999. Jerome was active the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, and organized the first Midwest Women's Festival in the 1970s. She has three daughters and currently lives in Deer Isle, Maine with her partner, two dogs, and two cats.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Judith Jerome discusses her childhood in the Midwest, her young adulthood experiences as a VISTA volunteer and a mother, as well as the events that led up to her move to Stonington, Maine where she restored a community theater with her partner. The interview focuses heavily on Jerome's upbringing during the 1940s, where she was surrounded by extended family that instilled a love of storytelling and performance in her from a young age. She also discusses her close relationship with her half-brothers, her marriage with her husband, her three children, her work as a piano tuner, editor for a feminist performing arts journal, organizer of the Midwest Wimmin's Festival, and her lifelong activism. Jerome's fiery personality and motivation to follow her passions shine throughout her narrative, which touches heavily on the back-to-the-land and feminist movements.

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Jerome, Judith

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Kavanaugh, Karla, Karla Kavanaugh interviewed by Ellice Yasner Amanna
2013 March 20
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Karla Kavanaugh (b.1950, New York City) grew up on a small family farm outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the oldest of three children in a politically active family. Her parents came from vastly different backgrounds. Her mother, Carola, who received masters in journalism at Columbia University, was the daughter of a well-known art curator and an independent early feminist. Her father, Ted, who worked in public relations, grew up in a working class Irish-Catholic family in New York City's Irish Harlem. The family grew their own food and were liberal activists in a small, conservative rural town. Kavanaugh graduated from Colby College where she was once again considered politically radical by the conservative community of students. Her college years coincided with the social movements of the 1960's and she participated in local and national protests including those around the Women's Movement, Civil Rights, against the Vietnam War and joined her family in their efforts to block construction of a nuclear power plant near her childhood home. She learned weaving at summer camp and after college found her way to Peter's Valley, an artists' community in upstate New York, where she was employed for several years, including a period as interim co-director. It was there that she learned carpentry. She moved with two carpenters from Peter's Valley to the Chatham, New York area where they spent several years constructing a unique artisan house. Through this experience she honed her skills, and became acquainted with local lumber yards and other tradespeople. In the early1980s she co-founded Octagon Construction, an all-women construction company. An advocate of green-building practices and affordable housing, Kavanaugh is presently also construction manager for Habitat Inc. of Columbia County, New York, where she is oversaw the recent construction of the first Habitat passive house in the country. Kavanaugh came out as a lesbian in her late 30s and became active in lesbian and gay causes. She is a founding board member of the Berkshires Stonewall Community Coalition and has served in various capacities in numerous other organizations.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Karla Kavanaugh describes her childhood as one of three children growing up on a small family farm outside Philadelphia. She reflects on the experience of being part of a politically radical, activist family in a conservative, rural town, as well as her experiences as an activist during the 1960s to the present. The interview focuses on her career as a carpenter in the primarily male building trades, including her founding of an all-women's construction company in Columbia County, New York in the early 1980s. She discusses the formation of Octagon Construction as a political act, as she and her business partners sought to claim a position of power in order to circumvent the difficulties experienced by other women who were trying to break into all-male building trades at the time. Kavanaugh discusses their vision of creating a site where women who wanted to explore careers in the trades could come and learn their craft in a supportive environment. Kavanaugh, who came out in her late 30s, talks about her experiences in the active lesbian community in the rural Berkshire Mountains community from the 1980s to the present. She talks about her present work as a builder, which is divided between Octagon and her position managing the builds for Habitat, Inc. of Columbia County, where she has just completed construction the first Habitat passive house in the country, particularly her commitment to green building as a strategy to mitigate the destructive trend of climate change, which she says is "the frontier now" and the center of her current activism.

The interviewer and narrator have a close personal relationship. They met while Amanna was a student in the Women's Carpentry class Kavanaugh teaches at The Heartwood School in Washington, Massachusetts.

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Kavanaugh, Karla

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McClintock, Mary, Mary McClintock interviewed by Alishia Alther
2013 March 17
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Mary McClintock (b.1957) graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1978, where she majored in English. She was born in California, grew up in California and Hawaii, and settled in Conway, Massachusetts as an adult. McClintock says she chose Western Massachusetts because she wanted to "live rurally and still have a vibrant lesbian/women's community around." She is an active member of her community and has been involved with activism around growing local foods and other issues. McClintock is well known for her publications around food sustainability and her weekly column in the Greenfield Recorder: "Savoring the Seasons: Enjoying Locally Grown Food Year-Round". She is also a lead organizer for the Free Harvest Supper of Locally Grown Food, founded in 2005, and the Winter Fare Farmers Market (started in 2008). She has also been involved in activism to shutdown the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. From 1997 to the present, McClintock has been on the advisory board of the Valley Women's History Collaborative. Currently she works as a freelance writer, editor, researcher, and book indexer at Better-Me-Than-You Research and Editorial Services in Conway, Massachusetts. Sea kayaking was the focus of her life from 1984-2000 and she led many women's kayak trips and paddled throughout the world, including New Zealand and Alaska.

Scope and content:

In her oral history, Mary McClintock describes the women-centered community that drew her to Western Massachusetts, and which contributed to her decision to settle in the area. She discusses her involvement with the Valley Women's History Collaborative and some of the work she has done there. She also talks about her life at Mount Holyoke College and her interactions with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hampshire College, and Amherst College. McClintock traces the manifestations of lesbian/women-centered community, in Northampton, at Mount Holyoke, in San Francisco, and at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, as well as in lesbian land communities. She discusses her relationships with women, what it means to be a lesbian, and the challenges and joys of coming out in the late 1970s, as well as her relationship with feminism.

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McClintock, Mary

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McHaelen, Robin, Robin McHaelen interviewed by Julie Maynard
2013 March 30
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Robin McHaelen (b. 1955) grew up in Waterbury and Wolcott, Connecticut, and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1994 with a Masters of Social Work. She is the founder and executive director of True Colors Inc. Sexual Minority Youth and Family Services, a non-profit organization that "works to create a world where youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities are valued and affirmed." The organization hosts a conference each March that features LGBT resources and workshops and is open to all interested parties, including youth and educators. True Colors, previously named Children From the Shadows, was started in 1992. McHaelen also provides training and courses for schools, The Department of Children and Families and mental health professionals. She lives in Manchester, Connecticut, with her wife, Holly Lawrence McHaelen, and daughter, Rhylie, 14. Lawrence got her Masters of Social Work along with McHaelen, and home-schools Rhylie.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Robin McHaelen describes a childhood of isolation which she associates with her gay identity and the effect that has had on her life, particularly on her social activism. She also paints a vivid picture of her Italian family, which she characterizes as central to her identity. McHaelen speaks talks about how she came to the University of Connecticut's School of Social Work and her involvement with Children From the Shadows. She shares stories about True Color's transformation from a fieldwork project to a non-profit organization with a substantially wider reach. McHaelen reflects on her life as an activist, particularly her efforts to reach out to more people and about how she has work to keep from getting burnt out in this demanding work. She describes the critical importance of her experience as a wife and mother, recounting heartfelt stories that reflect an evident pride in her daughter. The conversation includes her personal journey with her own sexuality and therapy, her coming out as a lesbian at her job, her reflections about lesbian history, especially lesbian book stores and women's music festivals, as well as her identity as a "recovering Catholic."

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McHaelen, Robin

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O'Donovan, Alice, Alice O'Donovan interviewed by Megan G. Yeo
2013 March 8
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Alice L. O'Donovan (b. 1945) was born Alice Louise Lilly to Kathryn Frisbie Lilly and Ralph Guilford Lilly in Plattsburg, New York. She was raised in Willsboro, New York until age nine and in Ashfield, Massachusetts until age seventeen and attended high school at Sanderson Academy in Ashfield, Massachusetts, graduating in 1963. Her one brother was born in 1935. O'Donovan's father, Ralph Lilly received a BA from Middlebury College and and MA from Columbia University. He worked as an educator, school administrator and banker. Kathryn Lilly received her BA from Adelphi College and was a full time educator before her marriage. She worked part time as a substitute teacher while raising her children. O'Donovan earned a Bachelor of Science in recreation administration from the University of Massachusetts, followed by a Masters of Divinity from Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1988, and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut in 1988. She married Robert J. O'Donovan Sr. in 1971 and divorced in 1982. He died in 2004. She has three children from this marriage, Robert Jr., Stephen, and Mary. O'Donovan worked as a field director for the Connecticut Trails Council of Girl Scouts from 1967 to 1970 and became the first female director of recreation for the City of Norwich, Connecticut in 1970. Additional experiences include farm laborer, fire department EMT and chaplain, and member of a town library board. Since 1988, she was employed in several pastoral positions at Peru Congregational Church in Peru, Vermont, South Windham Congregational Church; as Interim Associate Pastor at the Congregational Church of South Glastonbury; Interim Pastor at the United Church in Bernardston, Massachusetts; Interim Pastor at Second Congregational Church of Stafford at West Stafford and Interim Pastor at Westfield Congregational Church in Danielson, Connecticut until September 2012. O'Donovan has worked tom raise awareness within church organizations around lesbian/gay issues since 1982 as a member of the United Church Coalition for Lesbian/Gay Concerns. O'Donovan lives in Tolland, CT with her partner Kathleen (Cass) Crewdson. Crewdson and O'Donovan met in 1970 as colleagues on a summer camp staff, began their life together in 1980 and were legally married in 2009 on their 25th anniversary. Cass earned a BS at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, attended graduate school at the Connecticut Center for Message Therapy, and is a Licensed Massage Therapist. O'Donovan identifies as a Caucasian, lower-middle-class lesbian and as a Christian in the United Church of Christ.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, O'Donovan tells about her family and parental background in New England in the 1950s and 60s. She recalls leading a happy childhood as a tomboy fascinated with outdoor sports, bicycles, horses TV, Girl Scouts and reading books and refers to her early, independent interest in religion and church. The interview includes a wide range of her interests, and traces a trajectory from college to seminary during the 1970s. She talks about shifts from Southern Baptist to Roman Catholic and finally to United Church of Christ and Congregational Church denominations. O'Donovan reflects on her sexual identity, her relationship with her partner, Cass, and outlines the dynamics of her divorce, as she left her husband to raise three kids with Cass. She discusses historically significant ordination as the first openly gay women ordained by the Episcopal Church in Connecticut in 1980 and the hardships and victories of her church life, including struggles with discrimination as well as acceptance in her churches. Through pastoral leadership and membership in the United Church Coalition for Lesbian/Gay Concerns, O'Donovan utilized her self-identity as a "justice pastor" to further an understanding of lesbian and gay issues in her congregations through a lens of faith.

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O'Donovan, Alice

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Perez, David, David Perez interviewed by Rachel Klinger
2013-03-22
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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David Perez (b.1961) grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts and attended Northampton High School. He has two older brothers and a younger sister. Both of his parents emigrated to the United Stated from Puerto Rico in the 1950s. Perez married his wife Michelle in 1985 and their son Derek was born in 1986. His mother, father, brother, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and David have all worked for Smith College. At the time of this interview, Perez had just completed his 30th year of service as a custodian at Smith. He was the assistant coach for the Smith basketball team from 2000-2007. Perez and his wife share a two-family home with his brother and sister-in-law in Florence, Massachusetts.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Perez talks about how his family came to the United States and, specifically, to Northampton. He talks briefly about his parents and their work on tobacco fields in Sunderland, Massachusetts. The interview focuses on the changing face of Northampton, particularly on shifting class dynamics and other shifts since the 1980s. Perez speaks about the lessening of homophobia he has observed in Northampton, and his own growing awareness of the lesbian community at Smith, as well as his recent identification with pan-sexuality and the misreading of his gender. He also speaks about his experiences as the assistant coach of the basketball team at Smith, his operatic voice lessons, AIDS, racism in Northampton High and his mentorship of a transboy through Facebook. The oral history traces Perez's work history from employment in a car showroom to the Daily Hampshire Gazette and then to Smith College.

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Perez, David

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Carol Queen interviewed by Parks Dunlap
2013 April 9
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Video interview of Carol Queen



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Rees, Kelly, Kelly Rees interviewed by Carolyn Rees
2013 March 19
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Kelly Rees was born in Colombus, Ohio in 1966, the sixth of seven siblings, and grew up in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, a racially diverse borough of Pittsburgh that began to decline economically with high unemployment and the shutting down of steel mills, increased racial tension, "white flight", and declining housing values. She went to Catholic school for twelve years and received her Associates Degree in Nursing in 1989. Rees has lived in Pittsburgh for the entirety of her life. She came out as a lesbian at the age of 17. She is a registered nurse, but was unemployed at the time of this interview.

Scope and content:

In her oral history, Kelly Rees describes her childhood in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania and her family of seven siblings. She discusses her relationship with her parents and the process of coming out as a teenager in Wilkinsburg. She discusses the gay community in Pittsburgh, its small size, and the butch/femme dynamics that she observed. She describes the bar scene in Pittsburgh during the 1980s as well as where LGBTQ spaces are emerging today in the city. She shares her insights and values, emphasizing honesty and truthfulness in response to ignorance and lack of forgiveness.

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Rees, Kelly

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Ruffino, Renee, Renee Ruffino interviewed by Monica Muñoz
2013 March 21
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Renee Ruffino (b. 1957) was born, raised and currently lives in Buffalo, New York. She has held various jobs throughout her life, from shoes salesperson to working at a printing company, and eventually as creative design director and adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo. In between, she earned her MFA from the University at Buffalo. Ruffino lives with her life partner, Sherri Darrow, and together they have raised three children, one biological and two of Ruffino's nieces. Ruffino is highly involved in the Buffalo community, as a principal in various art galleries as well as several organizations in Buffalo. She has a passion for art and photography.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Renee Ruffino describes her childhood growing up in an Italian-American working-class family and community. She talks about attending the University at Buffalo and the various jobs she has held throughout her life. Ruffino reflects on her coming out process and her experiences in the lesbian bar scene in Buffalo, where she met her partner, Sherri Darrow. She discusses the creation and growth of her family, including having one child together and taking in two of her nieces. In addition, this interview details her relationship to art, religion, and to the Buffalo community. Ruffino describes her relationship to her four siblings and the recent death of one of her sisters. Her story documents the changes she has seen in the lesbian/gay community in Buffalo over time and explores nuanced details of her life as a lesbian in Buffalo, New York.

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Ruffino, Renee

Video interview of Renee Ruffino



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Transcript of interview of Renee Ruffino


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Documenting Lesbian Lives, Spring 2014

0.75 linear feet(1 full letter box, 1 half letter box; closed files in a third box shared with 2015-S-0068)39 Gigabytes(60 digital video and text files)

Dana Beyer interviewed by Megan Haaga
2014 March 18
1 oral histories

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Dana Beyer (b. 1952) grew up in New York City and graduated from Cornell University Phi Beta Kappa in 1974 and from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1978. Beyer worked as a physician and eye surgeon in Kenya, Washington, D.C., Florida, Nepal, and Mississippi. She retired from clinical practice in 1990 and has been living in Chevy Chase, Maryland, devoting her time to her two sons, earning a master's degree in organic chemistry, and participating in extensive political activism. Beyer ran for Maryland state senate in 2006 and 2010 while serving as a Montgomery County Council staffer, and is currently (in 2014) campaigning again. If elected, she would be the first transgender state delegate in the United States, and one of very few openly transgender elected officials in the world. Beyer has been a leader in many local and national organizations, including Gender Rights Maryland, the Democratic National Convention Rules Committee, Teachthefacts.org, Equality Maryland, Progressive Neighbors, Human Rights Campaign, and National Center for Transgender Equality. Her activism includes bringing comprehensive sex education to Montgomery County public schools, working to pass an artificial trans fats ban in Montgomery County as a County Council staffer, lobbying to pass gender identity anti-discrimination laws in three Maryland counties, and helping to re-write the DSM in 2012 so that being transgender is no longer considered a mental illness. Beyer also reaches a wider audience through writing a weekly column for the Huffington Post.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Dana Beyer describes her childhood in a Jewish family in New York City in the 1950s and her intense focus on her education. The interview largely traces Beyer's life through her gender identity and how being closeted for so long impacted her life in many ways, from her relationships with her parents, two ex-wives, and two sons, to her choice of medical specialty, to her introverted yet risk-taking personality. Beyer's story moves through realizing she was a girl as a young child in the late 1950s, experiencing trauma and medical mistreatment from an intersex complication as a teenager in the 1960s, witnessing the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion from the closet, traveling the world for her medical career in the late 1970s/early 1980s, learning about successful trans women like Lynn Conway and the possibilities of surgeries in the 1980s, beginning the transition process in the 1990s, and fully coming out as Dana in the early 2000s, after the catalyst of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Beyer reflects on transphobia and assimilation in the queer community, the rewards and challenges of activism, shifts in sexual orientation labels, and differences and parallels between the Boomer and Millennial generations. Her story shows how she used her experiences of trauma and compartmentalization to fuel her surgical and activist careers.

Video interview of Dana Beyer



Transcript of interview of Dana Beyer


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Penny Coleman interviewed by Suri Roth-Katz
2014 March 23
1 oral histories

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Penny Coleman (b. 1948) grew up on Long Island, graduated from Vassar in 1970, and received a Bachelor's of Photographic Arts from Brooks Institute of Photography in 1974 and a Master's in Social Policy from Empire State SUNY in 1996. Coleman's career as a photographer spans employment at various newspapers including the New York Times, the LA Times and the Dallas Morning News. She is the author of two books, Village Elders and Flashback: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the Lessons of War. In addition to the publication of her second book, Coleman has written numerous articles on veterans' issues and spoke before the House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee on the topic of suicide among veterans. She is currently the program director of the Graduate Certificate Program in Veteran Services at Empire State.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Penny Coleman describes her childhood on Long Island, including the experience of being the child of liberals in a very racist and segregated community and her growing awareness of social injustices which would shape the work she has done throughout her life. This interview focuses on the parts of Coleman's life that have led her to write her two books, both of which work towards elevating the voices of marginal communities. Her marriages, first to a Vietnam veteran who took his own life, and the current one to a professor at Empire State, have been central to the work she does as a political activist. Her activism draws on her skills as a photographer and journalist as well as her position as a member of the LGBTQ community and the military community. Coleman's recollections of the oral history work she did in order to write Village Elders and again to write Flashback reflect on the importance of oral history practices and how she has used them in her efforts to fight injustice.

Video interview of Penny Coleman



Transcript of interview of Penny Coleman


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Geri DiNardo interviewed by Catherine Cote
2014 March 8
1 oral histories

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This interview is available for research. Sections have been removed from the final transcript and the unedited transcript is not included. Edited video is available.

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Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Geri (Geraldine) DiNardo (b. 1943) graduated high school from St. Mary's in Milford, MA and moved on to graduate from Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, MA, in 1964. She received a Masters in Education from Worcester State College and went on to teach in Spencer and Worcester public schools. She was involved with Catholic Charities, and for fifteen years, she worked for the Division of Mental Health. Geri has been associated with the Catholic Worker Movement and the Worcester Mustard Seed since their beginning.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Geri discusses issues of growing up as a lesbian in a heterosexual world. Due to her lack of awareness of lesbianism, she only first identified as a lesbian at the age of 70. Geri has had relationships with women throughout her adult life, and speaks about the intersection of her sexuality with her staunch Catholic faith. She talks about her growing frustration with intolerant Church doctrine, which caused her to speak out at age 70, writing in to a local Catholic Worker newsletter and identifying herself as a lesbian. Geri has since been involved in her local PFLAG. She strongly urges that LGBT Catholics should not leave the Church and discusses her involvement in the Worcester Mustard Seed.

Transcript of interview of Geri DiNardo


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L. Orrell (pseudonym) interviewed by Nina Goldman
2014 March 19
1 oral histories

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L. Orrell (b. 1962) grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland and various parts of New Mexico. As a young adult, Orrell lived in Dallas, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Lynn, Massachusetts. During this time she worked various jobs and participated in local lesbian and gay social scenes. Orrell moved to Weston, Massachusetts to care for her aging grandmother in 1984. Through their relationship and the location of Weston, she began to pursue a growing interest in horticulture, eventually resulting in her engagement in higher education and completion of a B.S. and M.S. in environmental biology. She pursued advanced degrees in environmental biology, completing a Ph.D. program in 2006. Throughout this time, Orrell ran her own landscaping business, taught as a grad student, married, divorced her partner/wife of 20 years, farmed the land, and raised two children.

Scope and content:

In this oral history L. Orrell describes her childhood in a middle class neighborhood in Ellicott City, Maryland in the 1960s. Orrell then describes her experiences moving to small-town New Mexico as a young teenager, her experiences at the Cambridge School of Weston in the 1970s, and her subsequent move back to New Mexico after being pulled out of school. Situating her teenage years in the 1970s, Orrell discusses her developing lesbian sexuality, her attraction to women, and her engagement with "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" during this time. The second half of the interview is focused on her life as a young adult. Orrell moved to multiple states with different lovers, eventually settling in Weston, MA to care for her aging grandmother. The focus of this part of the interview is on her developing passion for horticulture, which led her to begin college and pursue degrees in environmental biology. In this period of her life, Orrell met and married her partner/wife with whom she raised two children. Orrell reflects on her marriage and divorce extensively in the final forty minutes of the interview, discussing internalized homophobia and difficulties of lesbian parenting as issues that emerged during the relationship. Orrell ends with a small discussion of her current partner, who was her best friend before they were romantically involved.

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Transcript of interview of L. Orrell


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Sharon Fagan interviewed by Amanda Lewis
2014 April 13
1 oral histories

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Video interview of Sharon Fagan



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Vicki Gabriner interviewed by Grace Ramsay
2014 March 15
1 oral histories

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Vicki Gabriner (b. 1942) was born in Brooklyn, New York, where both of her parents were foreign language teachers in public schools. She attended Cornell University and moved on to the University of Wisconsin, at which point she spent her summers doing voter registration work in Atlanta. After receiving a master's degree in education in 1978 she moved to Atlanta, where she founded the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance, one of the longest-lasting lesbian feminist groups in the United States. Vicki then left Atlanta and has since spent over twenty years in Massachusetts. She has been legally married to her current partner since 2004. In 2009, Vicki received her Ph.D. in women's history from Union Institute, documenting her mother's involvement in Parent Teacher Association activism. Vicki has been published by Sojourner Truth Press and in Quest: A Feminist Quarterly, among other publications.

Scope and content:

This oral history has two components. Vicki first chronicles her life and experiences from childhood to coming out in Atlanta, Georgia. It is organized by both time and place, as Vicki describes what led her from Cornell, to Madison, to Atlanta, and finally to Massachusetts. She illustrates how her exposure to activism early in life informed and influenced her later participation in the labor rights movement and gay liberation. The second half of the oral history is topic-based. Vicki draws upon her experience with lesbian feminism to inform her opinions on the current LGBT marriage equality movement, parenthood, religion, and the aging gay and lesbian community.

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Transcript of interview of Vicki Gabriner


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Emily Greene interviewed by Adrienne Szamotula
2014 March 25
1 oral histories

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Emily Greene was born in 1946 and has lived in Washington D.C., Massachusetts, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Alabama. She has worked primarily in the field of nursing, but has a variety of other experience as well. In 1979, she moved to a women's community called the Pagoda in St. Augustine, Florida, and in 2002, she moved to a lesbian community called Alapine in rural Alabama. She was a member of Alapine for over a decade before moving to Greenfield, MA in 2013. She has been an active member of various social justice and activist groups throughout her life, such as organizations for LGBTQ rights, peace organizations, and the environmental groups. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with her cat and two dogs.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Emily Greene describes the progression of her life from her childhood in Maryland and Massachusetts to her experiences working as a nurse and living in women's separatist communities in Florida and Alabama. The interview focuses on her experiences coming to terms with her sexuality and coming out, her experiences at the two separatist communities, the Pagoda and Alapine, and her work with activist groups. Greene's story details the ways she grew from her experiences and found communities that were important to her. It also illustrates some of the recurring themes of the lesbian separatist movement in the 1970s, as well as comparisons to movements today.

Video interview of Emily Greene



Transcript of interview of Emily Greene


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Lee Ann Hopkins interviewed by Sophie Nathan
2014 March 16
1 oral histories

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Lee Ann Hopkins was born on January 2, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri to parents John and Sally Hopkins. Her mother was a stewardess and a secretary; her father was a traveling salesman. Hopkins grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. She valued her teachers and always wanted to be in school. After high school she went on to Texas Christian University, received a B.A. at Mercer University in Atlanta in 1986, and went on to Georgia Institute of Technology where she got her Ph.D. in the experimental Analysis of Behavior. Following her Ph.D. she received a Master of Divinity from Episcopal Divinity School in 1992. Her final piece of schooling was from Golden Gate University School of Law, where she received her J.D. in 2002.

Hopkins currently works with the law and nonprofits (1999–present). Previously she worked as a clergywoman/chaplain (1980s–1990s), a factory worker and secretary (1980s), and in restaurant and retail work (1970s–1980s). She identifies herself as a white, middle-class, Protestant lesbian. She has been involved in multiple organizations advocating for LGBTQ health and rights, including the Whitman Walker Health Clinic, Free State Legal Project, and the Trans Law Center. In addition she has created an online motivational community called The Hooray Daily. Over her lifetime she evolved from being a member of the Young Republicans to becoming very liberal. In addition, her lesbian identity and religiosity have played significant roles in her life.

Currently Hopkins lives in Alexandria with her wife, whom she has been with for two and a half years. She has had three other significant partnerships, in one of which she helped parent two children. She is an outgoing woman who now writes a positive blog about life and optimism.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Hopkins describes her childhood in an upper-middle-class family and growing up in a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas. She describes how her Protestant roots and Christian identity sheltered her from dating men and from homophobia. Then she describes her transformative higher education experiences that led to her coming out as a lesbian. She discusses coming to terms with her sexuality, significant partnerships with women, her politics, and her experience moving from the Midwest, to the South, to New England, to San Francisco, to the Mid-Atlantic region. In addition, she discusses her change of careers from being a chaplain to being a lawyer at forty years old. She discusses gay marriage, sexuality terminology, gay family, her conversion to Judaism, her proposal on the Supreme Court steps in 2013, and much more.

Video interview of Lee Ann Hopkins



Transcript of interview of Lee Ann Hopkins


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E. Carolyn Innes interviewed by Tanya Pearson
2014 March 17
1 oral histories

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Carolyn Innes (b. 1937) grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating high school she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Penn State in 1970, and obtained a Master's Degree in 1972. A self-described "activist by association," she and a lover moved to San Francisco in 1957 and worked as volunteers at The Ladder offices, stapling pages and mailing copies in non-descript packaging. In 1972, Innes organized the first gay pride parade in Philadelphia alongside Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin. At Gittings' urging she founded the Gay Nurses Alliance (GNA) in Pennsylvania in 1973. The GNA emerged nationally after she and co-founder David Waldron presented the organization at the American Nurses Association convention in June 1974 in San Francisco. Innes' goal was to raise awareness about the number of gay nurses, provide a forum, work for the civil rights of gay nurses, and fight for the medical rights of gay patients. The AIDS epidemic played a pivotal role in lesbian nurses' coming out process. Innes continued her activism, organizing the first gay pride parade in San Diego, and as Director of the Gay Center in San Francisco. She moved to the east coast in 1984 to focus on a career in hospice care. She currently resides in Hadley, Massachusetts with her cat, Jeter.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Carolyn Innes describes her childhood in Philadelphia, her experience as a nursing student in the 1950s, and her accidental introduction to gay rights activism after college. The interview chronicles her life over a sixty-year period, through personal experiences, friendships and romantic relationships, and consequential activist work during the gay rights movement. Her close associations with prominent lesbian activists during the formation of the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade led her to form the Gay Nurses Alliance with friend and fellow nurse, David Waldron. She also addresses her alcoholism, subsequent sobriety and her various career choices in the field of nursing.

Video interview of E. Carolyn Innes



Transcript of interview of E. Carolyn Innes


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Connie Jenkins interviewed by Rachel Fogg
2014 March 21
1 oral histories

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Connie Jenkins (b. 1967) was born to a working class family made up of a machinist father, a homemaker mother, and an older sister who was eight years older than she. After a relatively stable upbringing, though one in which she did not have a strong relationship with her parents, she went to Miami University of Ohio, followed by the University of Cincinnati for her medical degree specializing in psychiatry. She married a man and lived with him outside of Newark for a few years. At around age 29, she came out to her husband and her family as gay. She divorced her husband and her very conservative Christian parents disowned her. While working at a clinic, she met a woman named who also worked there as a social worker. They began to date and eventually became partners. They have lived in Pickerington, Ohio, for many years with their various pets. Jenkins has never had any children. Professionally, she has worked as a psychiatrist for her entire career, working both in private practice and at hospitals and clinics. She recently quit her job at a hospital and is starting a private mental health practice. Spirituality is important to her, and she practices Buddhism.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Jenkins describes her family background and childhood in a working-class family in Newark, Ohio, and her experiences growing up with the acknowledgement that she was different. She talks about coming into the realization that she was gay, coming out to her unsupportive parents, and getting out of her marriage. She discusses meeting and maintaining a relationship with her partner. She discusses what it has been like being gay in central Ohio, and how she chooses to work with organizations that are gay-friendly. She talks about being out professionally and how the field of psychology has changed regarding homosexuality over many years. She talks about why she was drawn to psychiatry and her work over the years. She explains her spirituality and her history of exploring spirituality. The interview ends with her discussing some views on feminism, class, and race, as well as the terms queer, butch, and femme.

Video interview of Connie Jenkins



Transcript of interview of Connie Jenkins


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Dr. Miriam Kaufman interviewed by Abigail Carpenter-Winch
2014 March 21
1 oral histories

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Miriam Kaufman (b. 1954) grew up in Cleveland, OH, Durham, NC, and Kingston, ON. Her family moved around during her childhood due to her father's job, and she is one of five children. Kaufman dropped out of high school, but later returned to school, first earning a BSN from Duke University and then an MD from Queen's University. Kaufman is an eminent pediatrician, currently serving as the Division Head of Adolescent Medicine at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, where she has worked for the past 20+ years. Kaufman and her partner, Roberta Benson, successfully petitioned Ontario for second-parent adoption rights for their two children in the early nineties, enabling them to both be recognized as their legal parents of their children. Prior to this, Kaufman was also involved in anti-war and LGBT organizing, notably in Durham, NC and with the Queen's Homophile Association in Kingston, ON.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Miriam Kaufman describes her childhood in Cleveland, Durham, and Kingston as one of five children of a pathologist father and a stay-at-home mother. She dropped out of high school in Kingston, moving back to Durham, where she became heavily involved in anti-war activism. She then went on to pursue nursing and medical school, meeting her partner at the Queen's Homophile Association when she was in medical school at Queen's University. The interview then shifts to Kaufman and her partner's experience successfully petitioning Ontario for second-parent adoption rights for their two children in the early nineties, enabling them to both be recognized as the legal parents of their children. Kaufman recounts the court experience and then reflects on parenting and partner relationships, both in general and within the LGBT community. Kaufman ends the interview with reflections on how the movement for LGBT rights has changed since she first became involved and the state of politics and government in Canada and the United States.

Video interview of Dr. Miriam Kaufman



Transcript of interview of Dr. Miriam Kaufman


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Marge Litchford interviewed by Rachel Farber
2014 April 1
1 oral histories

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Litchford was born in the 1960s in Arkansas, where her grandmother raised her. She has one brother. She studied religion at Ozark Christian College, was a sergeant in the army, studied criminal justice at Arizona State University, got an education/counseling degree at UMass, and earned her counseling degree in Kean, New Hampshire. Litchford has lived all over the country and currently resides in Northampton. She was the Area Coordinator of Green Street for about seven years, and currently holds the position of Assistant Dean of Students.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Litchford describes growing up with her brother and cousins in Fort Smith, AK. She describes how her grandmother, who raised her, had no money, but Litchford felt a lot of love in their home. Marge knew she was interested in women from an early age, but also knew that it would not be accepted, and developed the strategy of having boyfriends in high school and in the army so that she would not be suspected. A church funded Marge's first year at Ozark Christian College, which is where she had her first relationship with a woman. After she left school she joined the Army, worked in group homes, was a military police officer, and worked as a parole officer. Throughout her oral history, Marge discusses how she made family through her friends and her relationships. She also discusses how she was drawn to fields in which she could help people, specifically through counseling.

Video interview of Marge Litchford



Transcript of interview of Marge Litchford


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Catherine Madsen interviewed by Sarah Meister
2014 April 12
1 oral histories

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This interview is available for research. Portions have been removed from the final transcript and the unedited transcript is not available. The video is closed until 2064. No online access.

Biographical note:
Scope and content:
Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by the narrator until 2064; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Video interview of Catherine Madsen



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AV material is closed until 2052.

Transcript of interview of Catherine Madsen


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Portions of the transcript have been removed. Unedited transcript is not available.

Liz Margolies interviewed by Zoë Boyle
2014 March 20
1 oral histories

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Liz Margolies (b. 1953) was born in New York City and grew up in New Rochelle, NY. Her parents divorced when she was fourteen years old and her father remarried twice. She graduated with a B.A. in psychology from Clark University in 1975. While in college she found radical feminism and began to join consciousness-raising circles and helped to start the second rape crisis center in the country. She had many varied relationships but eventually came out as a lesbian during her first semester of social work school. In 1977 she received her Master's of Social Work from Rutgers. Margolies then began to work as a psychotherapist in New York City specializing in trauma, grief, sexuality, illness, and human/animal bonding. In 1992, Margolies gave birth to her first and only child. Beginning in the early 2000s, Margolies became involved in gay and lesbian cancer-related health activism and in 2006 founded the National LGBT Cancer Network. In 2012, Margolies' private life became public when her long term partner proposed at the White House. Long against marriage, Margolies agreed and the two were wed in a highly publicized ceremony. Margolies currently lives in New York City with her son and several pets, working from home for the LGBT Cancer Network as well as continuing her private practice.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Margolies explores deeply her relationship with her son, partner, and larger family as well as giving insight into her motives as an activist, feminist, and lesbian. Margolies discusses what radical feminism was like in the 1970s as well as how it influenced her life and career. She has much to say on parenting as a single lesbian as well as on different kinds of queer family structures in which she has taken part. As a psychotherapist, her work has taken her down many paths, from rape to 9/11, many of which she explores in the interview.

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Video interview of Liz Margolies



Transcript of interview of Liz Margolies


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Leslie McKenzie interviewed by Julia Greider



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This interview is available for research without restriction. Pseudonyms have been substituted for certain names in the transcript and portions of the transcript have been removed. Unedited video remains open; AV closed.

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Biographical note:

Leslie McKenzie (b. 1946) grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from Smith College in 1968 and moved to New York City, where she obtained an MBA and an MPA. She worked in research administration at Rockefeller University and healthcare administration at Cornell University Medical College, as well as teaching business courses and working in court administration for the New York state court system. She met her current wife in 1993. They married in 2003 in Toronto. McKenzie is now retired and lives with her wife in New York City.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, McKenzie discusses the difficulties of growing up with a mentally ill mother and an abusive grandfather and the ways in which this experience affected her later in life. She talks about enjoying her time at Smith, including Park House, her academic life, and her relationship with her boyfriend. She moves on to a description of her work life after college in New York City. The latter half of the interview focuses on McKenzie meeting her current wife and coming to fall in love with her, despite identifying as straight up to that point. McKenzie's narrative shows both the advantages and difficulties of coming to a non-straight identity later in life, as well as discovering feminism through this experience. It also demonstrates the alienation that McKenzie felt from the lesbian community. She brings up the theme of a desire for safety in her life, and the safety that she has found in her relationship with her wife. Finally, the interview concludes with a discussion of her fraught relationship with her father in the years before his death and the reasons why she's now happier than ever before. This story brings to light the experiences of a woman who only experienced opposite-sex attractions for much of her life and was never involved in activism of any kind.

Video interview of Leslie McKenzie



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Unedited video is available. AV is closed.

Transcript of interview of Leslie McKenzie


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Psudonyms have been used and parts of the transcript have been removed.

Savanna Ouellette interviewed by Phoenix Wyatt
2014 March 28
1 oral histories

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Savanna Ouellette, born Patricia Ouellette, was born on July 4, 1945 in St. Francis, Maine. Her first language is French, and she did not begin speaking English until she started school. At age ten she moved to Massachusetts and then settled in Connecticut with her parents and brother. She comes from a poor, working-class family who could not support her educational pursuits, so she put herself through college. Feminism is a big part of Ouellette's life. After college she became very active in the New Haven feminist movement, joining a band called the New Haven Women's Liberation Rock Band, an agitprop feminist rock band started by a lesbian couple. It was in this band that Ouellette met her first long-term partner. After living in New Haven, MA, Ouellette moved to the Boston area to pursue a law degree. While living in Cambridge, MA, Ouellette joined another feminist music group called The New Harmony Sisterhood Band. It was there that she met her current long-term partner and wife. Eventually Ouellette and her partner moved to western Massachusetts, settling in Shutesbury, where they adopted two girls, ages six and seven. She is currently retired and the bassist for the band One Journey.

Scope and content:

In this interview, Ouellette chronicles her life, starting with her childhood in Maine. She reflects on her social standing as part of a poor, working-class family and the effects of class on her and her life. She also discusses how her family dynamics, such as having alcoholic parents, affected her and her brother growing up. Ouellette also recounts her experiences putting herself through college, becoming a teacher, and joining the feminist movement in New Haven, Connecticut. She reconnects her experiences as a feminist musician with her relationship to class, speaking both to her own experiences and to broader feminist ideology. She tells of her journey from a rock musician to a country western musician, while also recounting her experiences within different bands. Ouellette also speaks about her romantic history and her subsequent marriage to her long-term partner. Finally, she tells of her experiences raising two adopted daughters, the struggles they had, and how she is now raising her grandson.

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Video interview of Savanna Ouellette



Transcript of interview of Savanna Ouellette


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Deliah Rosel interviewed by Hannah Myers
2014 April 21
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Deliah Rosel was born on April 14, 1950 in Queens, New York to a lower-middle-class family. She grew up with her two sisters and their parents in Queens. Her maternal grandparents and paternal family (including grandparents, uncles, and their families) were integral members of her close family growing up. She babysat and worked as a summer camp counselor and office clerk as a preteen and teenager.

Rosel identified as heterosexual and was in a ten-year relationship with a man until age 25, when she began to identify as a lesbian. She had her first long-term relationship with a woman soon after that and continued to maintain significant relationships exclusively with women from then on.

Rosel earned her bachelor's degree in biology from SUNY Stony Brook and her Master's in Public Health Medical Microbiology at UMass Amherst in 1976, which she followed with a two-year healing apprenticeship. She then worked to become certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork and started her private practice full-time in 1986.

Rosel is currently a massage therapist healer. At the moment she lives in Conway, MA and maintains a private healing practice in downtown Northampton. She has studied energy medicine and Qigong, an ancient Chinese form of movement and energy therapy, which became one of her primary foci in the mid-1990s. She had her Bat Mitzvah as an adult, and her studies inspired her to create her own version of Qigong intertwined with Judaism: L'Chaim Qigong. She wrote her dissertation on this Jewish perspective of Qigong healing and in 2008 received her doctorate in Ministry in Jewish Spiritual Direction. Rosel was raised culturally Jewish and identified as such until after she came out, when she embraced witchcraft and lesbianism and later became an observant Jewish lesbian witch. Her faith is an integral part of her life as a healer, and she frequently gives workshops and prayer services to strengthen the connection between Judaism and healing.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Rosel describes her time growing up in Queens, New York, and becoming aware of her lesbianism in the 1970s. She talks about her relationships with her two wives, how she reclaimed her Jewish heritage, and how she began her spiritual healing practice in the 1980s. At this point in her life she can reflect back on many interesting points over her lifetime, and she is enjoying getting older and gaining wisdom.

Video interview of Deliah Rosel



Transcript of interview of Deliah Rosel


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Jodie Shapiro interviewed by Jessica Beliles
2014 April 1
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

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Jodie Shapiro grew up in Brooklyn and the Bronx, New York. She attended State University College of Buffalo, where she opened a women's resource center and met her current partner. After graduating college, Shapiro moved to New Mexico and worked as an elementary educator while her partner pursued a career in pottery. The couple moved to Northampton in the early eighties and have been active members of the local community ever since. They had a daughter in April of 1994. Shapiro is currently the program director for the Carson Center for Human Services, working with people with traumatic brain injury. She is both a musician and an activist and hopes to become more involved with her activist work after her retirement.

Scope and content:

In this interview, Shapiro describes her childhood in a working class neighborhood and her early activist roots learned from her parents, while elaborating on their complicated relationship. She speaks about founding a women's resource center (which included a women's library) while she attended State University College of Buffalo. She also speaks extensively about how she met her partner and tells their entire love story. She also focuses on her travels cross-country and her subsequent discovery of various women's communities all across the U.S., as well as her involvement in a multitude of activist movements and groups in the Northampton area. In this interview, Shapiro explicitly outlines many of the struggles in her life as a lesbian.

Video interview of Jodie Shapiro



Transcript of interview of Jodie Shapiro


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Susan Stinson interviewed by Kate Scrimshaw-Hall
2014 March 14


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Scope and content:
Video interview of Susan Stinson



Transcript of interview of Susan Stinson


Box 3
Restrictions on access:

Closed pending narrator edits, sections closed until 2044. No online access.

Documenting Lesbian Lives, Fall 2014

0.75 linear feet(1 letter document box, 1 half letter document box; additional closed materials in a half letter document box)33.5 Gigabytes(69 digital video and text files)

Elizabeth Brook interviewed by Hana Sarfan
2014 November 14
1 oral histories(transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Lis Brook begins by describing her childhood, family, and early coming-out experience in New Jersey. The interview includes her activism in the antiwar movement, and more substantially, her work in the women's movement since the early 1970s. She describes harassment and corrective rape against lesbians in Northampton and the way that her community resisted these acts of violence. Brook's story details her efforts to create lesbian only space as well as the ways in which her attempts were challenged, and sometimes derailed. Lis describes her experience with butch/femme dynamics, the development of her women's only restaurant, and her future visions for new lesbian communities. The interview concludes with Brooks' reflections on her work as a therapist, her personal spirituality, and relationship with family during her adult life.

Biographical note:

Elizabeth Brook is a sixty-three year old lesbian from West Caldwell, New Jersey. She earned a Masters of Education in counseling psychology and has worked as a therapist focusing on women who struggle with trauma recovery and depression. Lis has been an active lesbian feminist advocate in the Pioneer Valley since she arrived in Northampton in 1973. She founded a women's restaurant, which served as an all-purpose women's center. Activist organizations she has participated in include a feminist theatre, a nonprofit that serves elderly lesbians, a feminist bookstore, and the Northampton pride march. Her primary feminist goal has been cultivating lesbian only spaces. She currently lives with her partner, Nancy, in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College.Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Transcript of interview of Elizabeth (Lis) Brook


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Dawn M. Faucher interviewed by Nikila Krishnaveni Lakshmanan
2014 November 7
1 oral histories(transcript)

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Biographical note:

Dawn Faucher (b. 1965) grew up in Hartford, Connecticut and graduated from Mt. Holyoke College with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish in May 1987. At age twenty-nine, Faucher became President of the Berkshire County Chapter of the Junior League, and the youngest President of a Chapter of the Junior League in the history of the Junior Leagues. After losing custody of her two children to her abusive husband, Faucher participated in a project called the Battered Mother's Testimony Project, in which she testified about her experience of domestic violence and her custody battle before the State House. Faucher subsequently became involved in an anti-violence organization called Safe Passage that had formed the Battered Mother's Testimony Project. She served as a board member of Safe Passage for about five and a half years. Faucher is currently happily married to her spouse Andrea Martelli, and has reunited with her children. She is a supporter of President Obama and Senator Warren, and one of her greatest political passions is the movement for gay marriage.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction. No online access.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Faucher has retained copyright during her lifetime to her work in this oral history interview.

Transcript of interview of Dawn M. Faucher


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Elizabeth Anne Foss interviewed by Francie Hiza
2014 November 9
1 oral histories(transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history Anne Foss describes her childhood in the 1950s and her connection with her parents. She describes noticeable differences between now and then, such as willingness to obey parents. She addresses her own struggles with being a parent contrasted with her fairly smooth transition into having same-sex relationships. She repeats frequently that she "just lives her life" and doesn't worry too much about labels, what other people are saying, or why she chose to be involved with women after her marriage broke up. Foss believes who you love or have relationships with is less important than being a good, kind person.

Biographical note:

Anne Foss (b.1945) grew up in Chappaqua, New York and was raised as an only child after her two older brothers moved out when she was seven. Her family was upper-middle class and was involved in the textile industry. She was very athletic growing up but there were no athletic opportunities at Connecticut College, where she completed her undergraduate degree. She went on to Harvard for a master's program and found jobs easy to come by. Foss married Peter Feig and had her two children with him: Jenny and Michael Foss-Feig. When she divorced him she became involved with a woman, this was the first serious same-sex relationship of her life. Foss met Bobbie Emery a year after separating from the first woman and has been with Emery ever since. They have been married since 2013 and together they run East-West Builders and maintain a farm at Hillstead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut.

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Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Foss has retained copyright during her lifetime to her work in this oral history interview.

Transcript of interview of Elizabeth Anne Foss


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Joyce Gold interviewed by Annie Berman
2014 October 31
1 oral histories(transcript)

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Biographical note:

Joyce Gold (b. 1944) grew up in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and moved Queens, New York for high school and college. She graduated from Queens College with a degree in English, and later earned an MA in Metropolitan Studies. Gold's employment history includes teaching English in high school, working as systems analyst for fourteen years, and a real estate broker for four years. Since 1976, she has run her own business, designing, leading, and arranging walking history tours of New York City neighborhoods. Since 1980 she has also been an adjunct assistant professor at NYU and the New School, teaching classes in Manhattan history. In the seventies, she was active in the women's and lesbian movements, serving as treasurer of New York's National Organization of Women (NOW). She met her current wife in 1993. They married in 2003 in Toronto. Gold lives with her wife in New York City.

Restrictions on access:
Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Transcript of interview of Joyce Gold


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Barbara Herbert interviewed by Carmen Pullella
2014 October 25
1 oral histories(transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history Barbara Herbert describes the many experiences in her life and the way in which they shaped her into who she is today. As a prominent figure in the medical field, Barbara is very involved in the medical community in and around Boston. Her interest in public health and medicine emerged from the rage she felt in regard to the way in which women were being treated at the time. Barbara was a fervent activist and was involved in many of the big movements in LGBT history, although she makes it clear that she was not a "professional lesbian", and that her activism was very much rooted in a personal and simplistic way of living. She talks about the efforts she and her friends and partners made towards liberation, and towards changing the world in which they lived. Now an expert in emergency medicine and a well-known activist, mother, and intellectual, Barbara lives in Cambridge, MA with her partner Jean.

Biographical note:

Barbara Herbert was born in Baltimore, MD in 1948. Throughout her life, she lived in South Carolina, New York City, and Boston, where she now lives with her partner Jean McGuire, who she met in 1990 and married in 2004. Before meeting Jean, Barbara was in a one-year heterosexual marriage with Robert Herbert in 1968. She had many girlfriends after that, and a great love, Margot, who passed away in 1974. Besides Jean, Barbara's family includes her three children Elena Polikoff (31), Daniel McGuire (34) and Megan McGuire (36). Barbara attended Wellesley College on a fellowship, and then Stonybrook University of New York for graduate school, from where she received her MD. She now specializes in Addiction and Emergency Medicine, and is the Medical Director at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, MA. She is affiliated with the American Public Health Association and the Massachusetts Medical Society, and is involved with many political and professional organizations. Her medical expertise has influenced her activist and political work in the field of human rights, global health and AIDS. Barbara is also an avid activist in the field of anti-poverty, gay liberation, anti-violence, anti-racist and disability rights.

Restrictions on access:
Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Herbert has retained copyright during her lifetime to her work in this oral history interview.

Transcript of interview of Barbara Herbert


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Clare Higgins interviewed by Tegan Waring
2014 November 16
1 oral histories(transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history Clare Higgins describes her childhood in a large family of six in Brooklyn, New York and associated experiences of being a youth in the turbulent and charged political and social justice era of the 1960's. The interview specifically focuses on her tenure as mayor of the City of Northampton and her experience in other local government positions. Higgins's illustrates her passion and related political activism to housing, early childhood education, and associated problems with the working class. Higgin's story details the changing culture and demographics of Northampton, life as a lesbian in political and public spheres, and the plights of women politicians today.

Biographical note:

Clare Higgins was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1955 to a college professor and a stay at home mother whom later became a librarian. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, New York with her six siblings but has lived in Northampton, Massachusetts since 1977. Higgins formally attended Brooklyn College and Greenfield Community College then officially received her degree from the University of Massachusetts program, University Without Walls, in 2003.

Higgins has been an avid civil servant since locating to Northampton, MA. She has been on numerous committees, boards, and commissions; chairing and presiding over many. These include, but are not excluded to, Massachusetts Association for Education and Care, Northampton Housing Authority, Northampton Community Partnerships for Children Advisory Council, and Governor's Advisory Commission on Local Government. However, she is most known for her tenure as Mayor of Northampton (six terms: January 2000-September 2011). Currently, Higgins is the executive director at Community Action of the Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin Regions.

Restrictions on access:

Closed until 2029 January 1

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Higgins until January 1, 2029; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Transcript of interview of Clare Higgins


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Amy MacKenzie interviewed by Emily Coffin
2014 October 26
1 oral histories(transcript)

Scope and content:
Biographical note:

Amy MacKenzie was born just outside Exeter, NH in 1956 but has spent most of the past 35 years in the Pioneer Valley. During the late 70's she was "living the hippy-ish flannel lifestyle of the baby dyke" and stayed here until she started a family. She has a daughter, Liza, who was among the first of the lesbian baby boom of the 1980's. Her family was featured on TV and in the book Love Makes a Family. She currently works as a school bus driver but was previously a vocational coordinator for people with developmental disabilities and was the first woman garbage collector in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Transcript of interview of Amy MacKenzie


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Anne L. Moore interviewed by Stefana Breiwieser
2014 November 6
1 oral histories(transcript)

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In this oral history, Anne Moore examines her life through the lens of her sexuality. Beginning with her childhood, she describes her time on her family's farm and her first experiences confronting sexuality and gender. She then discusses her time in college, her introduction to librarianship, and her involvement within intersecting lesbian and sports communities. Moore goes on to discuss her move to the United States, where she advanced her career, participated in feminist and LGBT activism, and encountered the difficulties of being out in the Midwest. The latter half of the interview focuses on her activism as the chair of the American Library Association's GLBT Round Table, her work documenting the lives of early female faculty members at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the importance of preserving of gay and lesbian history. She also discusses her experiences surrounding the 2013 Supreme Court repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, her thoughts on married life, and how they affect her immigrant status.

Biographical note:

Anne Moore (b. 1956) grew up in rural London, Ontario and lived in Southern Ontario for much of her young adult life. She earned her Masters in History from the University of Guelph and her Masters in Library Science from the University of Western Ontario (now Western University). In the mid-1990s, she immigrated to the United States, living in Nebraska and Oklahoma before finally settling down in Western Massachusetts, where she is working towards U.S. citizenship. Today she works as an archivist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a chair at the GLBT Roundtable of the American Library Association. She is also involved with a number of local community organizations, including the Valley Women's History Collaborative, the Rural Women's Studies Association, the Agricultural History Society, and the UMass Labor Management Workplace Education Program. She currently lives in South Hadley, MA with her spouse, Vivian Ostrowski, and their two dogs.

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Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Transcript of interview of Anne L. Moore


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Mary Clare Powell interviewed by Kaitlin Clark Hackbarth
2014 November 14
1 oral histories(transcript)

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In this oral history, seventy-two-year-old poet Mary Clare Powell reflects on her self-proclaimed identity as an atypical woman. Powell describes her upbringing, focusing in particular on the role of community in her hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland, and the role of the community's liberal Protestant church during her youth. She discusses how women throughout her life have helped her in realizing her full potential. Powell talks about coming to terms with her lesbian identity, and how various relationships helped her in doing so. She talks about the traveling she has done throughout her life. She considers the conscious practice of family building, what shaped the way she built her family, and the lessons she has learned in the process of building a non-traditional family. She also discusses her current relationship with religion, as well as her identity as a Christian person practicing Buddhism. The oral history ends with a reading of her poem "Old Love" from her first published book of poetry Things Owls Ate (2001 Amherst Writers and Artists Press). Powell's reflections on her story detail a richly complex and multi-faceted life.

Biographical note:

Mary Clare Powell (b. 1942) is a lesbian-identified retired adjunct professor at Lesley University and a poet currently residing in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Powell was born in Washington, D.C. on March 28, 1942. She was raised in a cooperative community located in Greenbelt, Maryland. She is the only female child in her family, and the eldest of three children. The liberal Protestant church in the Greenbelt community was of great importance to Powell during her formative years. Religion continued to play an important role in Powell's life throughout her adolescences and adulthood. Powell's desire to be an educator from a young age drove her to earn her B.S. in Education and English from Towson State College (now Towson University), her M.L.A. in the History of Ideas from Johns Hopkins University, and her Ed.D in Creativity and Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Powell has taught English, poetry, and photography inside and outside of the formal classroom setting. Powell is particularly interested in poetry and photography, and these interests (combined with her role as an educator) have allowed her to travel extensively. Powell participated in various activist movements, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the feminist and gay and lesbian movements. She has lived in western Massachusetts since 1984. Around this time, Powell met her spouse, Violet Walker, and Walker's two daughters. Since then, Powell's family has grown to include two grandchildren, a godson, and her brother's children and grandchildren. She currently writes poetry and gives regular readings of her poetry with musical accompaniment from her partner. She meets with fellow writers and helps them during the editing and publishing processes. She also practices Buddhism, and leads group meditation practices and Centering Prayer Buddhist sangha weekly.

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Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Transcript of interview of Mary Clare Powell


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Lesley Schneider interviewed by Isabella Levy
2014 October 30
1 oral histories(transcript)

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Closed until 2025 January 1

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To the extent that she owns copyright, Schneider has retained copyright during her lifetime to her work in this oral history interview.

Transcript of interview of Lesley Schneider


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Jane Stangl interviewed by Martha Middleton Biddle
2014 November 15
1 oral histories(transcript)

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Closed until "official resignation from Smith College is rendered" or 50 years after the oral history's submission. No online access.

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To the extent that she owns copyright, Stangl has retained copyright during her lifetime to her work in this oral history interview.

Transcript of interview of Jane Stangl


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LW (pseudonym) interviewed by Samantha Weiss
2014 October 21
1 oral histories(transcript)

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Closed until 2034 January 1; narrator is to be identified by pseudonym, L.W. No online access.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, LW has retained copyright during her lifetime to her work in this oral history interview.

Transcript of interview of LW


Box 3
Marianne Winters interviewed by Megan Bowles
2014 November 19
1 oral histories(transcript)

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In this oral history Marianne Winters describes her childhood growing up in a working-class, conservative Catholic family in the Syracuse region of New York. Her story details her leadership and activism in college, her own experience with traumatic violence, and her coming out process in young adulthood. The interview focuses on her work against sexual assault during the early stages of the anti-violence movement at a rape crisis center in Worcester, MA. One of her major contributions to the movement was fighting for survivor confidentiality in legal cases. The interview also involves her experience with the sex wars, AIDS, and the conservative political climate in the 1980s.Winters discusses the marriage equality movement and family life raising two children with her partner. Her oral history involves her work at Safe Passage in Northampton, thoughts on current activism around sexual assault and domestic violence, and next steps for the anti-violence movement.

Biographical note:

Marianne Winters (b. 1960) grew up in the Syracuse region, graduated from the College of Saint Rose in 1982, and went on to earn an M.S. in Education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Winters has been a leader in the anti-violence movement for the past three decades. Over the course of her career, she has worked for social change and an end to sexualized and domestic violence in many capacities. She has held leadership positions at the Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Jane Doe Inc., the Everywoman's Center at UMass Amherst, and Praxis for Change. She also serves as a member of the Governor's Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. She has been a leader in expanding outreach to underserved communities, including lesbian victims of violence. Throughout her career, she has expanded discourse and action around violence and abuse within LGBTQ communities. Currently, she serves as Executive Director at Safe Passage, a domestic violence agency in Northampton.

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Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Transcript of interview of Marianne Winters


Box 2
Documenting Lesbian Lives, 2016

2,150.4 Gigabytes(86 digital video and text files)

Brenda J. Ahl interviewed by Sydney Ramirez
2016 March 12
1 oral histories

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Brenda Ahl (b. 1964) grew up in upstate New York and southern California. Ahl was on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1984-1988 in Savannah, GA and served in the Army Reserve as a U.S. Military police officer thereafter, totaling 22 years of service. Ahl is a Gulf War veteran and has been engaged as a federal law enforcement officer in a variety of capacities, including as an instructor at Military Intel Interrogation School and as a Spanish language instructor. She was in a heterosexual marriage for 5 years and became comfortable identifying as gay after her divorce. She was in a relationship for 8 years before her partner Dawn passed away. Ahl has two children and currently lives with her wife of 11 years.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Brenda Ahl describes her childhood and adolescence in Southern California. The interview covers her career and experience as a woman in male-dominated fields, coming to terms with and reconciling her gay identity and Christian faith, and her experience as a single gay mother in the 1990s and the challenges of step-parenthood. Ahl reflects on lesbian and gay life in the military in the early 80s, gay and lesbian nightlife in Savannah, GA and northern California, and the role of sexuality in law enforcement. The interview also addresses issues of race and LGBT rights in the current social context.

Transcript of interview of Brenda J. Ahl


Box 1
Beth Caurant interviewed by Becca Damante
2016 April 1
1 oral histories

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Beth Caurant (b. 1952) founded one of the first all-women's rock and lesbian bands, Lilith, in 1972. Caurant grew up in Lenox, MA with her mother and her older sister, and moved to Granby when her mother got remarried. After high school, Caurant studied at Holyoke Community College and the University of Massachusetts, where she pursued an English major and Women's Studies minor. She left the University in 1977 in order to pursue her music career with Lilith, which lasted from 1972 to 1978 and resulted in one album called Boston Ride as well as many successful performances in Massachusetts and Georgia. In 1994, she moved to Northampton with her partner of 23 years. Today, she is retired and plays music locally.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Beth Caurant describes her childhood in a working-class family in Western Massachusetts, and her early relationships with girls and women in the 1960s and 1970s. Her interview focuses on the successes and struggles she faced as the founder and guitarist in the band Lilith. Throughout the interview, Caurant reflects on the lesbian community in Northampton, her identification as a natural feminist, and her thoughts on current LGBT and feminist politics such as transgender issues, same-sex marriage, and women in the music industry.

Transcript of interview of Beth Cuarant


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Dorthee interviewed by Rebecca York
2016 March 27
1 oral histories

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Dorthee (Dor) was born in 1929 in Richmond Hill, NY. She attended Simmons College for a short time, and later received her BA from American International College in Springfield, MA, as well as a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Rhode Island. Her career was in family short-term therapy. Dor also describes herself as a homemaker, having spent her early years focused on homemaking with her husband and four children, and later building her current home in Wendell from scratch with the help of other lesbians in the community. She was variously involved in community groups in Wendell, MA. She identifies as a WASP, middle class, female, lesbian, and Quaker.

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In this oral history Dor focuses on her early childhood, growing up in the wake of World War II, her 22 year marriage, and her children, as well as her choice to continue her education and her introduction to lesbian separatism. She talks about the lesbian community in Northampton during the years, as it was integral to her journey of coming out, finding partners, and moving to Wendell. She focuses on her time in Wendell, specifically the building of her home which, as she describes it, is a completely "dyke built house."

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Transcript of interview of Dorthee


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Ann Ferguson interviewed by Pearl Silverman
2016 March 26
1 oral histories(26 March 2016)

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Transcript of interview of Ann Ferguson


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Alexandra C. Fisher interviewed by Sarah Demarest
2016 April 1
1 oral histories

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Alexandra "Alex" C. Fisher (b. 1961) has been living in the Pioneer Valley since 2009. Fisher grew up in New York City, raised by a single mother who began college when Fisher was ten. Fisher has two brothers. She has lived in several places besides New York, including New Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Chiapas, Mexico, and currently, South Hadley, MA. Fisher has a B.A. in Film from Hunter College (1993), as well as a certification from the Swedish Institute of Massage Therapy (1993), and has worked a variety of jobs, including babysitting, proofreading, paste-up artist work, and massage therapy. She has been involved in activism since the 70s, including anti-Vietnam/anti-war, the McCarthy campaign, bi activism, and the Obama, Kerry and Sanders campaign. Fisher also co-founded a bisexual social group BiRequest, Veg Out, and mentored a girl through the Families with AIDS program.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Fisher begins by talking about her childhood in New York City in the 1960s and '70s. She talks about her relationship with her family, and what coming out was like for her. In Part II of the interview, Fisher and I start off by discussing her decision to move to the Valley and the differences between there and New York City. She goes on to talk about her first girlfriend, her relationship with butch/femme identity and gender presentation, and veganism. Fisher also talks about her work as a massage therapist for survivors of trauma. In Part III, Fisher talks about college, different jobs, her involvement in the Bernie Sanders campaign, the time she spent traveling and living abroad, and her memories of the AIDS crisis. Fisher wraps up the interview with a discussion on how she feels about the queer community today, and what the biggest changes have been for her.

Transcript of interview of Alexandra C. Fisher


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Sharon A. Gensler interviewed by Milada Cook
2016 April 1
1 oral histories

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Sharon Gensler was born in Syracuse, NY in 1945, but grew up in Brewerton on a family farm. She attended SUNY Oswego and then University of Illinois at Carbondale. After getting pulled into political activism, Sharon worked as a college administrator and residence co-ordinator at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she met her first long-term partner. She then traveled around the country and took part in the first Michigan Womyn's Music Festival before settling in Northampton and then Wendell, MA. She is one of the remaining original members of the Wendell community that was built in the early 80s. She lives happily with her partner Pru and their animals on WildBrowse farm and homestead.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Sharon talks about her growing up in Brewerton, NY, as well as her college years, activism, and her participation in the lesbian communities of Ann Arbor, MI and Western Massachusetts. She makes a point to begin the documentation of the history of the Wendell, MA community. She begins with her early life, talking about growing up on a family farm, then recounts her time in college and grad school, and her entry into activism. Including stories from her time at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and the New England Music Retreat, Sharon documents her story of how she came to Wendell as well as the community that grew there.

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Transcript of interview of Sharon A. Gensler


Box 1
Paula Gottleib interviewed by Vanessa Cordero
2016 March 29
1 oral histories

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Paula Gottlieb (b. 1947) is a lesbian artist in Cummington, Massachusetts. She teaches art at Greenfield Community College, and conducts private art lessons out of her studio. She received her MFA in 1971 at Indiana University, and moved to Western Massachusetts in 1979. Much of her art focuses on visual interpretations of nature in context with societal obstacles. Gottleib's work has been featured in hundreds of collections around the world, as well as numerous local galleries.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Paula Gottlieb describes her childhood in a New Jersey farming community, her relationship with Judaism and Buddhism, and her immersion into the Northampton and Cummington lesbian communities. Gottlieb provides insight into the expansion of lesbian culture and community in the Pioneer Valley during the eighties. She highlights the community's drastic change over time, particularly with the loss of lesbian spaces. Gottlieb describes the themes of her artwork—past and present—drawing connections between her work, activism and identity. The visual recording includes several of Gottlieb's paintings and photographs. Gottlieb also discusses her activism, particularly her involvement in the Women's Pentagon Action and the Seneca Women's Peace Encampment.

Transcript of interview of Paula Gottleib


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Jane O'Rourke interviewed by Sara Ramasastry
2016 March 16
1 oral histories

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Jane O'Rourke (b. 1956) was born in Hawaii, and spent her first seven years there before moving to California and later New Jersey. She graduated from high school in South Carolina and went on to college at Adams State College where she earned her B.A. in 1978. O'Rourke also has a M.S. in Student Personnel from Miami University in Ohio (1983) and a M.S.W. from Smith College (1991). Her employment history includes Program Advisor at Western New England College (1983-85), Clinical Social Worker at Maine Medical Center (1991-94), Director of Case Management at the AIDS Project in Portland, ME (194-96), and Clinical Social Worker in Oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute (1997-2003). She currently works as a clinical social worker in her private practice and lives in Lexington with her wife and daughter.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Jane O'Rourke describes her childhood and her experiences being raised by her mother in a New Jersey rectory. She discusses the impact of her mother's early death on her life and the ways that she has since created community for herself among her friends. The interview focuses on her work and her experiences as a bisexual woman and mother. O'Rourke discusses how she came to know her partner and develop their relationship, and she discusses her experiences raising their daughter together. O'Rourke also discusses her work in the AIDS crisis and her work as a clinical social worker. She reflects on the complexities of a bisexual identity in her personal life and in her work.

Transcript of interview of Jane O'Rourke


Box 2
Camille Paglia interviewed by Sunny Lawrence
2016 April 10
1 oral histories

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Transcript of interview of Camille Paglia



Beth Robinson interviewed by Eva Theriault
2016 April 2
1 oral histories

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Transcript of interview of Beth Robinson



Wisty Rorabacher interviewed by Sadie Gold-Shapiro
2016 April 2
1 oral histories

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Dianna (Wisty) Rorabacher (b. 1945) was born in Bryn Mawr, PA and spent her formative years in the greater Philadelphia area, in Ann Arbor, MI, and in Sherman Oaks, CA. Rorabacher moved back to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan, later beginning her graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. She married but later divorced when she met her current partner. Rorabacher and her partner have been together since 1975. For many years, Rorabacher worked as an early education and special education teacher and worked to develop progressive programming on the high school level. In 1989, Rorabacher and her partner moved together to Northwest Arkansas (near Fayetteville) where they went "back to the land" and lived sustainably. In 2007, the couple relocated to Greenfield, MA where they reside today. Rorabacher is a marathon runner, an active community garden, and a "serious grandmother".

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Wisty Rorabacher talks about growing up in Pennsylvania and Michigan and her love of physical activity which led to her eventual degree in Physical Education from the University of Michigan. Rorabacher speaks about her experiences with activism on campus during the 1960s and her own eventual feminist awakening and work with Planned Parenthood. In the interview, Rorabacher focuses on her experiences being a mother and raising three children in a blended family with her partner of forty one years. Rorabacher also comments on the gay and lesbian community in Minneapolis in the eighties and her experiences of living in rural Arkansas. Finally, Rorabacher reflects on her time in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Transcript of interview of Wisty Rorabacher


Box 2
Rita Schiano interviewed by Olivia Rossetti
2016 March 16
1 oral histories

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Rita Schiano (b. 1955) grew up in Syracuse, New York. She studied philosophy as an undergraduate at Wells College, and again as a graduate student at Miami University. She works as a professional motivational speaker, a resilience strategist, and adjunct professor at Bay Path University. She is the founder of Live A Flourishing Life, a company which creates programs to teach stress management, leadership skills within businesses, and resilience building. Previously, Schiano worked as a freelance writer, the chef/owner of a local restaurant, a professional vocalist, and vice president of book operations at a publishing company in New York City. She has published a self-help book, Live A Flourishing Life, as well as two novels, Sweet Bitter Love and Painting the Invisible Man.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Rita Schiano describes her childhood in a close-knit Italian American community in Syracuse, New York, and her difficult experience in secondary school. The interview follows her life through her engagement to a man late in high school and an introduction to the women's liberation movement in her first year of her undergraduate studies, leading Schiano to come out as gay. During the same time, she helped found consciousness raising groups around women's rights and a gay student organization on the Wells College campus. Schiano also describes, in depth, writing her second novel, Painting the Invisible Man, about her father's murder, and the emotional healing process she underwent as a result. Finally, the interview details Schiano's reflections on community, through her grassroots work with the "Tuesday Morning" Project, as well as her experiences in owning a local restaurant.

Transcript of interview of Rita Schiano


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Constance M. [Barrett] Sohodski interviewed by Katherine Denney
2016 April 2
1 oral histories

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Connie Barrett (b. 1945) grew up in Glen Rock, N.J. with three younger siblings. She worked as a nurse's aid before attending Delaware University, leaving school to marry and live in Bangor, Maine and Newark, Delaware. She was married to her husband for 5 years, with whom she had a daughter and a son. She resumed her education at Empire State College, graduating with a B.A. in Creative Writing. Soon after moving to New York City, she met her partner Joyce and they have remained partners for over thirty years. In 1997, she opened a metaphysical store that would grow to thrive in Greenwich Village, and participated in Marxist, feminist, and lesbian feminist writing and organizing. She has also taught a variety of metaphysical subjects, written texts on metaphysical science, and currently self-publishes both fiction on non-fiction works.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Connie Barrett discusses growing up in a working-class, Irish family in New Jersey and her life in New York from the 1970s to 2012. Barrett focuses on her class-consciousness, issues of class in political organizing, and her spirituality throughout the interview. Of her political activism, she discusses her involvement with WIN magazine, Lesbian Feminist Liberation, the Committee of Lesbian and Gay Male Socialists, and OLOC [Old Lesbians Organizing for Change] as well as critiques various organizations and modes of thinking at the time. She also spends time discussing her marriage to a man, her coming-out process, her metaphysical store in New York, and her partner of over thirty years. The final part of the interview focuses on Barrett's writing, her involvement with OLOC, and her hopes for changing ideas of gender, with reference to her attendance at Quaker meetings.

Transcript of interview of Connie Barrett


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J.M. Sorrell interviewed by Tamara Nehls
2016 March 24
1 oral histories

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JM Sorrell (b. 1960) was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and has spent her childhood living with her adoptive parents and brother in Michigan, New Jersey, upstate New York, Jacksonville, Florida, and Northern Kentucky. Sorrell received a BA in English from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, before moving to Northampton in 1982, where she managed the women's bookstore Womonfyre. She identifies as a gender non-conforming lesbian and has been a lesbian feminist activist during her entire adult life. During the early 1990s, Sorrell spent four years in San Francisco working for the San Francisco Ballet, the Women's Philharmonic, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Planned Parenthood.

Throughout much of her adult life, Sorrell has worked in the non-profit arts, politics, public health and human services, but considers her most profound work to be that as a Justice of the Peace. To date, she has officiated for over 700 same- and opposite sex couples from all over the world, the country and local. In her work as an ombudsman director at Highland Valley, Sorrell advocates for LGBT older adults and conducts cultural competence training regarding race, sexual orientation and gender identity for health care professionals.

Sorrell was raised Catholic and now identifies as Buddhist.

Scope and content:

In this oral history JM Sorrell talk about her experiences growing up as a tomboy, moving often, dealing with her mother's alcoholism and going to Catholic school. Sorrell describes how she came out as a lesbian and first discovered feminism at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and her experience of the lesbian feminist community in Northampton. She talks about her experience living and working in San Francisco and the ways its many forms of diversity influenced her view of the community when she came back to Northampton. One focus of the interview lies on Sorrell's work as an activist and a Justice of the Peace since the Supreme Judicial Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Massachusetts 2003 and her role in fighting against its repeal. Sorrell explains the role of marriage equality as a tool for social change and LGBT issues that still need to be addressed. She details the evolution of the Northampton Pride march and the arguments concerning bisexual inclusion in 1989 and reflects on how the march has changed since then. The interview closes with a discussion of the issues facing the older LGBT community and Sorrell's work to create welcoming and normative environments in hospitals and rest homes.

Transcript of interview of J.M. Sorrell


Box 2
Michele Spring-Moore interviewed by Chloe Lin
2016 March 26
1 oral histories

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Michele Spring-Moore (b. 1963) grew up in Rochester, NY. She earned a B.A. in journalism from St. John Fisher College in 1985 and an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993. She has worked as an editor for The Empty Closet newspaper and currently works as a grants assistant for a foundation in Northampton, MA. She has been involved in a wide-ranging array of activist work over the years, including co-founding two social support groups for bisexual women.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, narrator Michele Spring-Moore discusses growing up as an introverted child in Rochester, NY and her process of coming to terms with her bisexual identity as a young adult while navigating her opinions of queer figures in media and her neighborhood. She also describes communities forming around showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the local lesbian resource center in Rochester. Much of the interview focuses on the activist work Spring-Moore was involved with as an editor for an LGBTQ newspaper in Rochester, The Empty Closet, as well as her work in co-founding two social support groups for bisexual women, in Rochester and Boulder, CO. She details the struggles faced by the bisexual community in the LGBTQ community at large, as well as her own struggle to accept her attraction to people of all genders. The interview ends with a reflection on the activist work Spring-Moore does today in the Northampton community and at her job at a progressive philanthropic foundation.

Transcript of interview of Michele Spring-Moore


Box 2
Pamela "Stewie" Stewart interviewed by Alison DeBoise
2016 March 16
1 oral histories

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Transcript of interview of Pamela "Stewie" Stewart



Nancy Yanoshak interviewed by Sarah Hill
2016 March 20
1 oral histories

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Transcript of interview of Nancy Yanoshak



Perri Neri Zimmerman interviewed by Tori Schaer
2016 March 19
1 oral histories

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Perri Neri Zimmerman (b. 1959) is a painter who grew up on the east coast of Florida and earned her MFA from Pratt Institute in 2007. Zimmerman had her first solo show, Heaven and Hell, in Ybor City in 1992; today, she is a member of Ceres Gallery, a not-for-profit women's art collective in Manhattan, which she is interested in expanding to include young up-and-coming women artists and art students. Zimmerman counts among her artistic influences William Blake, Louise Bourgeois, Georgia O'Keefe, Kiki Smith, and her own experiences navigating the woman-roles of wife, mother, daughter, and granddaughter. She has been married to and living with her wife for twelve years. They have two children.

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In this oral history Perri Neri Zimmerman describes her Catholic upbringing with her brothers and single mother, her close relationship to the gay male community forged through disco dancing, and her experiences with marriage and domestic partnership. The interview focuses on the role of painting as an expressive outlet, a healing project, and a social tool throughout her life, the connections she made working in the cosmetology circuit, and on her experiences as a lesbian mom. Zimmerman's story illustrates an east Floridian snapshot of the disco era, the AIDS crisis, single motherhood, lesbian dating and courtship strategies in the late '90s, and the impact of marriage (in)equality on daily lesbian life.

Transcript of interview of Perri Neri Zimmerman


Box 2
Accession 2017-S-0028. Documenting Lesbian Lives
2017 March-May
1.25 linear feet(3 document boxes, 18 oral histories)2,662.4 Gigabytes(86 digital video and text files)

Interviews between students and narrators for Kelly Anderson's Documenting Lesbian Lives class, Spring 2017 class.

Bomze, Bracha N.Hott, Alexis, Bracha Nechama Bomze interviewed by Alexis Hott
2017 March 14


Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Biographical note:

Bracha Nechama Bomze (b. 1956) grew up in New York City, earned her undergraduate degree at New York University, and completed her master's degree at Empire State College. Bomze began her work in public education at the Harvey Milk School in 1985. After her first student died from HIV infection, she pursued a career in health education, serving as health coordinator in New York City Public Schools for 23 years. In 2005, she left the school system to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a published poet. She is the author of Love Justice, and current member of PEN America, an international organization dedicated to protecting the free expression of poets, writers, and journalists around the world.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Bracha Nechama Bomze describes her childhood in a Jewish upper-middle class family in New York City and her experiences as an activist, particularly as the health coordinator for NYPS during the AIDS epidemic. The interview focuses on her work at the Harvey Milk School in the late 1980s, her work within the public school system, and her activism within the anti-war movement, AIDS crisis, and PEN America. Bomze's story continually returns to themes of community and resistance as she describes adventures with her wife of 33 years, her work with LGBT youth, Yiddish LGBT subcultures, and her dedication to centering joy in her fight toward justice.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by the narrator, Bracha Nechama Bomze.

Search Terms
Bomze, Bracha N.

Video interview of Bracha Nechama Bomze



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Transcript of interview of Bracha Nechama Bomze


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Burns, Marty (Mary)Thornton, Natalie, Mary (Marty) Burns interviewed by Natalie Thornton
2017 March 30


Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by Smith College.

Biographical note:

Mary (Marty) Burns (b. 1955) grew up in a working-class family in upstate New York and then moved to southern New Jersey. She graduated from University of Massachusetts Boston with a nursing degree in 1987 and has worked as a nurse in Boston, Long Island, and Northampton since. Amid her shifting identities as a butch dyke and a radical lesbian feminist, Burns was involved in a variety of organizations and activist causes. As a founding member of the organizations Sisterspace and WORD (Women Opposed to Registration in the Draft), Burns' work included organizing women's concerts, anti-draft activism, and volunteering at the Cambridge Women's Center. Burns lives in Florence, Massachusetts with her spouse, stepson and his girlfriend.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Marty Burns describes her experiences with changing class, gender, sexual and political identities, her activist work and work as a nurse, and her family and romantic relationships. She discusses her childhood in a working-class family and her journey toward coming out to them and the wider world, as well as coming into lesbian feminism. The interview focuses on how she came be a lesbian feminist and the organizations through which she did that, her activist work in lesbian feminist groups, and her experiences as a nurse during the AIDS epidemic. Burns' spouse is present during the interview and occasionally interjects.

Search Terms
Burns, Marty (Mary)




Transcript of interview of Mary (Marty) Burns


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Camper, JenniferPennington, Hanna, Jennifer Camper interviewed by Hanna Pennington
2017 March 19


Biographical note:

Jennifer Camper (b. 1957) is a queer Lebanese American cartoonist and graphic designer. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she studied philosophy and art. She moved to New York City in 1986 and has lived in Brooklyn, New York since 1999. She has been publishing her work in gay publications across North America since the early 1980s. Her work examines themes of race, gender, sexuality, class, and politics. Her comic strip Camper ran in Gay Community News from 1989-1994. She is the author of Rude Girls and Dangerous Women (Laugh Lines Press, 1994), and subGURLZ (Cleis Press, 1999), and the editor of the queer comics anthologies Juicy Mother 1: Celebration (Soft Skull Press, 2005) and Juicy Mother 2: How They Met (Manic D Press, 2007). She is a cartoon editor and teacher. She is the founder and organizer of the biennial Queers and Comics conference.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Jennifer Camper describes growing up in a liberal mixed family in Madison, Wisconsin and becoming politically active and discovering underground comics in high school. The interview focuses on her work as a cartoonist, specifically on the queer cartoonist community, publishing cartoons in gay newspapers and magazines, and founding and organizing the Queers and Comics Conference. Camper reflects on the importance and the decline of gay publications and gay bookstores, and the influence of the internet on queer cartooning. She speaks about moving to New York City in 1986, and her experiences with lesbian bars and the AIDS crisis. She describes finding Arab community for the first time in New York, and founding Assal, a group for gay Arab and Iranian women. She describes the experience of being Arab in New York City after 9/11. She reflects on representation, humor, and sexuality in her work, and discusses how she uses humor to fight injustice. Camper's story documents the important work and history of queer cartooning, and emphasizes the rich diversity and multiplicity of gay life in New York City.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by Smith College.

Search Terms
Camper, Jennifer

Video interview of Jennifer Camper



Transcript of interview of Jennifer Camper


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Schneider, HannahCenedella, Joan, Joan Cendella interviewed by Hannah Schneider
2017 March 24


Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is owned by Joan Cenedella for her lifetime and by Hannah Schneider until 2018.

Biographical note:

Joan Cenedella (b. 1936) is a writer and educator living in Northampton, Massachusetts. Joan spent the early years of her life in Wilton, Connecticut, and after her parents' divorce moved to Manhattan, New York. She lived in New York and went to college for her three degrees there at City College and Bank Street College. She went on to be an educator and administrator at the Bank Street School until she moved to Northampton to be with her partner. They now live together in the Lathrop Retirement Community of Northampton, where she enjoys various hobbies and activities that center around learning, writing, editing, and her dog, Lucy.

Scope and content:

In this Oral History, Joan Cenedella discusses her childhood in Wilton, the divorce of her parents, and how her education in her childhood shaped her future, as she later became an educator and administrator herself. Joan identifies as a liberal, progressive, and a democrat, and discusses issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Joan was not involved in many activist projects during her lifetime, and this interview circles around many times to the differences Joan sees between lesbian generations, in activism, and in her community over time. Joan talks about her work as an educator as well as her lifelong love of learning and writing, which has continued throughout her retirement, as well as her involvement in the Northampton community.

Search Terms
Cenedella, Joan




Restrictions on access:

Closed until January 1, 2018

Transcript of interview of Joan Cendella


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Restrictions on access:

Closed until January 1, 2018

Cornell, PortiaDufresne, Allegra, Portia Cornell interviewed by Allegra Dufresne
2017 August 1


Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Biographical note:

Portia Cornell (b. 1937) grew up on a small farm in New York with four siblings. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and graduated from Bank Street College of Education. Cornell taught at Riverside School and the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City before moving to Hartford, Connecticut in the 1970s and later South Hadley, MA in the 1990s. Cornell has published several collections of poetry. She and her wife currently winter in Gainesville, Florida and spends summers in South Hadley, MA.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Portia Cornell describes her childhood in an upper-class family living on a farm just outside of New York City and her later experiences in lesbian feminist groups in New England of the 1970s and onwards. Cornell covers topics such as being a lesbian teacher in schools, the Hartford, Connecticut bar scene, sexual assault, "coming out" as bipolar to her family, moving to Hartford, Connecticut, the Pioneer Valley, and eventually Gainesville, Florida. She spends a little time talking about her experiences as a lesbian and a bipolar woman in all of these communities, including the retirement community she currently resides in with her wife, Lynne Kimmel. She also discusses her experiences being raised Quaker and the lasting effect that has had on her worldviews and activism.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by Smith College.

Search Terms
Cornell, Portia

Video interview of Portia Cornell



Transcript of interview of Portia Cornell


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Evans, KimWalat, Madison, Kim Evans interviewed by Madison Walat
2017 March 18


Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Biographical note:

Kim Evans (b. 1959) grew up in West Boylston and Holden, MA, at the age of nine Kim moved to West Dennis on Cape Cod. She graduated from Springfield College in 1981 and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree and Massachusetts Teacher Certification in Physical Education and Health K-12. Kim has taught Physical Education in a few schools, and went on to teach Health Education at Longmeadow Elementary School (1993-98). She eventually began her position as a Health Educator at Monson High School, where she currently works. Kim has received several awards for her work as an educator and an activist, dedicated to opening the hearts and minds of those around her. Additionally, Kim has coached Varsity Cross Country and Track and Field as well as taken on the position of Athletic Director of Monson Public Schools. Kim founded the only club at Monson High School for LGBTQ students, and has worked with PFLAG and the Anti-Defamation League.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Kim Evans describes growing up in Cape Cod, being a tomboy and loving sports and athletics. She recounts her college years, heterosexual marriage, divorce, and work as an activist. She describes her life as a mother, a health educator, and cancer survivor. Kim details being a lesbian health educator in a rural area, as well as her marriage to her partner of six years. Within this oral history, Kim confronts the challenges of coming out as a lesbian to her husband and her children.

Search Terms
Evans, Kim

Video interview of Kim Evans



Transcript of interview of Kim Evans


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Fjell, JudyCummings, Eliza, Judy Fjell interviewed by Eliza Cummings
2017 March 11


Restrictions on access:

See staff for more information.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by Smith College.

Biographical note:

Judy Fjell (b. 1950) grew up in Big Timber, a small town in rural Montana. Her mother was an elementary school teacher and her father was a rancher. Judy attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota from 1967-1971 where she graduated with a degree in Art and Asian Studies. She is a musician, singer songwriter, and activist who has performed around the world for the last four decades. She spent her twenties, thirties, and forties living in Oregon and Northern California where she performed regularly within the women's music circuit. She started her own label in 1980 called Honey Pie Music and later founded two annually held, women's music empowerment camps. Throughout her musical career she has played on diverse stages including: San Francisco peace marches, NOW conferences, Montana Cowboy Poetry Gatherings, GLBT Pride in Boise, New York City coffeehouses, the Michigan Womyns Music Festival, the Northwest Regional Folklife festival in Seattle, and concerts in Japan working against domestic violence. She currently lives in Helena, MT with her partner of seven-years. She continues to teach and play music promoting humanism, environmentalism, social justice, and spirituality through her work.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Judy Fjell describes her childhood growing up in a small, rural town in Montana as well as her experience living on the West Coast performing as a musician on the women's music circuit. The interview focuses on her experiences as a musician and artist as well as her relationships throughout her life. Judy expresses her thoughts on biphobia and lesbophobia, differences between gay men and lesbians, tension within lesbian communities, the erosion of women's and lesbian spaces, and the current political. Judy's reflections contribute to the field of lesbian history by adding to our knowledge of rural lesbian experiences as well as the growth and then decline of women's music and women's culture.

Search Terms
Fjell, Judy

Video interview of Judy Fjell



Transcript of interview of Judy Fjell


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Heidkamp, RosemaryMandel, Evelyn, Rosemary (Rosie) Heidkamp interviewed by Evelyn Mandel
2017 April 9


Restrictions on access:

This interview may not be placed on the internet. Researchers may use this interview in the archives only. No recording of this interview is available; researchers may consult a transcript only.

In order to be allowed access to this oral history transcript, researchers must sign an Access Agreement stipulating that the researcher will not publish identifying information about the individuals in the material.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by Heidkamp until her death; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Rosemary "Rosie" Heidkamp (b. 1958) was born in Evanston, IL and lived in Levittown, NJ, outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Melrose, MA throughout her childhood. Her early experience of rural life in South Africa gave Heidkamp a taste for what she would end up loving and searching for for years. After a few semesters at UMass Amherst, Heidkamp joined Ant Rockies, a commune in Leverett, MA, where she lived from 1979 until 1985, when she and a group of friends decided to buy their own piece of land. During the same time, Heidkamp participated in war tax resistance and sit-ins to stop the construction of nuclear plants. In 1986, Heidkamp moved to Wendell and, over the course of several years, built her own house and created a community that lived by its "Back to the Land" values. Since arriving in Wendell, Heidkamp has also become very involved with the Wendell library, and what began as just filling in a few hours a week turned into applying for and receiving a million dollar grant to implement a new library building in 2006. Since taking over the library, Heidkamp has poured herself into making it a vibrant center of Wendell's little community.

Search Terms
Heidkamp, Rosemary

Video interview of Rosemary (Rosie) Heidkamp



Transcript of interview of Rosemary (Rosie) Heidkamp


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McMahon, JaneHartup, Catherine, Jane McMahon interviewed by Catherine Hartup
2017 March 13


Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by Smith College.

Biographical note:

Jane McMahon (b. 1966) has spent her life in Wisconsin; she grew up in the town of Fond du Lac before moving to the state's capitol, Madison, to earn her Bachelor of Science in English and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She went on to receive a Masters in Education from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI, and is currently in the process of earning her Doctorate in Administrative Leadership from Walden University, an online institution. McMahon has taught English in the Baraboo School District since 1989. She has also held the Director of Curriculum and Instruction title as well as being the District Instructional Coach. McMahon was honored as Wisconsin's Middle School Teacher of the year in 2014, earning her a fellowship and a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama. While she continues to work in Baraboo, McMahon recently moved to Poynette, where she now lives with her wife and their three dogs.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Jane McMahon describes her childhood as the youngest of five in a lower middle-class Irish Catholic family. She then describes her college years where she had her first girlfriend and was introduced to gay bars, feminist theory, liberal politics, and activism. The interview explores different women throughout McMahon's life that have had significant influence on the way she experiences the world, from being able to openly and confidently identify as a lesbian to expanding her greater political consciousness. As an educator, McMahon discusses her slow but sure professional coming out, how she strived for her classroom to always be a safe space for students, and the importance of representation in literature and media in correlation with more widespread LGBT acceptance. She also complicates the legalization of same-sex marriage, laments the lack of active support from people without direct connections to the LGBT community, and stresses a love for her own circle of close lesbian friends.

Search Terms
McMahon, Jane

Video interview of Jane McMahon



Transcript of interview of Jane McMahon


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Rivera, Lisbeth MelendezCalabrese, Jennifer, Lisbeth Rivera interviewed by Jennifer Calabrese
2017 April 7


Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is maintained by Lisbeth Rivera.

Biographical note:

Lisbeth Melendez Rivera (b. 1966) grew up in Caguas, Puerto Rico and graduated from Emmanuel College in Boston, with degrees in Biochemistry and Sociology. Melendez-Rivera's employment history includes working as a phlebotomist lab technician at Brigham Women's and Children's Hospital, serving on the Board of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health, and her current position as the Director of Latino and Catholic Initiatives for the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign, among her involvement in many other organizations. She envisioned and directed the short documentary, Before God: We Are All Family, which promotes acceptance of LGBT identities in Latinx communities. For her work, Rivera has been recognized with The Legacy Award, presented by the Women of the Latino GLBT History Project in partnership with the DC Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Today, Rivera resides in Washington, DC with her partner of twenty years.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera describes growing up in an upper-middle class Catholic family in Puerto Rico and her experience coming to the mainland US by herself to attend an all women's Catholic college in Boston in the 1980s, during the height of the AIDS crisis. The interview focuses on her experience as a lesbian of color working at a hospital during the AIDS epidemic and LGBT life and women's/feminist spaces in Boston during this time period. Rivera also details the influence that Leslie Feinberg, author of Stone Butch Blues, had on her, how she came to present as butch, her relationship with her femme wife, LGBT representation in the media today, and comments on the current relationship between Puerto Rico and the mainland US. Finally, Rivera reflects on her life and activism and offers advice for young and new activists today.

Search Terms
Rivera, Lisbeth Melendez

Video interview of Lisbeth Rivera



Transcript of interview of Lisbeth Rivera


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San Antonio, KathyMoxhay, Olwyn, Kathy San Antonio interviewed by Olwyn Moxhay
2017 April 10


Restrictions on access:

See staff for more information.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by Kathy San Antonio until 2030; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Kathy San Antonio (b. 1957) was born in Methuen, MA, and grew up in an Italian-American working class family in Lawrence, MA. Throughout her childhood, San Antonio attended Catholic schools, including an all-girls high school. She attended University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1974 to 1978. San Antonio lived in the Pioneer Valley from 1977 to 1983, the Bay Area, California, from 1983 to 1993, Boston from 1993 to 1997, and moved back to the Valley in 1997, where she currently lives. She has worked in a factory office, as a nurse's aide, a medical assistant, a surgery scheduler, a medical secretary, and an administrative assistant. Her current job is an events and scheduling systems coordinator at Smith College, which she has been doing since 2000. She identifies as a lesbian femme, and supports progressive/radical liberal politics.

Scope and content:

Kathy San Antonio begins the oral history by describing her childhood in the working-class town of Lawrence, MA, including her relationship with her family and her experience in Catholic school. She then discusses her time at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, living in the Valley after college, and coming out to her family. San Antonio describes living the Bay Area, California, then moving to Boston and Ashfield, MA, and eventually settling down in Holyoke, MA, where she currently lives with her spouse. In the interview, San Antonio discusses her observations about race and class in the lesbian communities in which she has lived. She mentions the loss of lesbian spaces, and the differences between the lesbian community in the past and today. She also talks about her femme identity and the ways that butch–femme was marginalized in an era when androgyny was the norm within the lesbian community. San Antonio's story also includes her experiences practicing Wicca, and her professional life.

Search Terms
San Antonio, Kathy

Video interview of Kathy San Antonio



Transcript of interview of Kathy San Antonio


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Woods, Julie C.Moore, Kassandra, Julie C. Woods interviewed by Kassandra Moore
2017 May 5


Restrictions on access:

Researchers must sign an Access Agreement in order to be allowed access to the interview.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this oral history is retained by Julie C. Woods.

Biographical note:

Julie Woods (b. 1960) grew up in Carson, California. She graduated from Chadwick School in 1977 and Harvard University in 1981. Woods' employment history includes a variety of technical writing positions and more recently she works as the Urban Bliss Shaman providing business solutions to leaders all over the world. She is the founder of the Fans with Cans movement, a hunger prevention network that has fed over 100,000 families in 4 states. She is also a long time musician and public speaker.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Julie Woods describes her experiences being alive as a black, gay, autistic woman. The interview covers a multitude of topics - her childhood in Carson, CA, spent attending a mostly-white private school, and her adulthood on the East Coast, her experiences with her family as a child and in adulthood, as a student at Harvard counseling and experiencing illness, as someone in gay bar/club culture during the AIDS crisis, and as a black lesbian moving through various degrees of intolerance as she moves through the world. Woods' interview offers insight into the complex life of a person whose type of story is not as commonly heard in the mainstream cultural narrative.

Search Terms
Woods, Julie C.

Video interview of Julie C. Woods



Transcript of interview of Julie C. Woods


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2018-S-0035. Documenting Lesbian Lives
2018 March-April
.5 linear feet(1 regular document box)1,638.4 Gigabytes(95 digital video, audio and text files)

Processing information:

The digital files received on 18 portable hard drives and one flash drive have been copied to networked storage by Special Collections staff for preservation and access.

Physical characteristics:

This accession contains materials received in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Blackhurst, KleaHollar, Sara, Klea Blackhurst interviewed by Sara Hollar
2018 March 14
1 oral histories(video and transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history Klea Blackhurst describes her childhood in a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, Utah, her involvement with musical theater as child and teenager, and her experience at University of Utah. The interview focuses on her life in New York City from 1985 to the present, including her romantic relationships, coming out publicly and privately, the AIDS crisis, lesbian spaces, her musical theatre career, and her relationship with her family. Blackhurst recounts her experience with shows such Gypsy, Hello, Dolly!, and Oil City Symphony, including touring across the country and abroad, as well as her solo written and performed show, Anything the Traffic Will Allow. Additionally, Blackhurst details her current involvement with the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band and her musical theatre history and performance class "Old School."

Biographical note:

Klea Blackhurst (b. 1963) grew up in Salt Lake City, graduated from University of Utah with a BFA in 1985. She then moved to New York City to pursue a musical theatre career. Blackhurst is most well-known for her roles in Oil City Symphony, Gypsy, and Hello, Dolly!, as well as her Ethel Merman tribute show, Anything the Traffic Will Allow: the Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman, which debuted in 2001 and is still being performed. Blackhurst and her partner, fellow actress Andrea, currently live in New York City with their dog Sprout.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College.Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Search Terms
Blackhurst, Klea

Video interview of Klea Blackhurst
2018 March 14


Transcript of interview with Klea Blackhurst
2018 March 14

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Curtis, DianePetersen, Julia, Diane Curtis interviewed by Julia Petersen
2018 March 12
1 oral histories(video and transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Diane Curtis describes her childhood in a working-class divorced family and how she got into activist work while attending college in New York. She talks about her work with ACT UP, WHAM!, the Pink Panthers, and the atmosphere and communities of gay activists in New York City at the time (80s-90s.) Her professional legal work around private and family law shifted to advising college students when she moved to Western Massachusetts in 1996. She speaks about parenting in the Valley, about loving teaching, and the lessons she has learned from her activist work. This oral history also revolves around analyzing traumatic events, activism, the trouble and joy of organizing, being a parent, being a butch lesbian, being gender-nonconforming, loving music, and the importance of intergenerational conversation.

Biographical note:

Diane Curtis, (b. 1963) grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. She has worked as a bookkeeper in Berkeley, a professor of Legal Studies, and a research assistant for the Homeless AIDS Project. She got a Bachelor's in Comparative Literature from NYU in 1988, and a JD from NYU in 1994. She lived in New York City from 1985 to 1996 and was involved with ACT UP/NY, WHAM!, and the Pink Panthers. Diane moved to Western Massachusetts in 1996. She lives there still, with her wife, Ellen Leuchs, and their children, Jamie and Romy. She currently works at UMass Amherst, as a Senior Lecturer of Political Science.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Diane Curtis has retained copyright for her lifetime. After which copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Search Terms
Curtis, Diane

Video interview of Diane Curtis



Transcript of interview of Diane Curtis


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Dull, CarolynMcClary, Kyra, Carolyn Dull interviewed by Kyra McClary
2018 March 14
1 oral histories(video and transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Carolyn Dull describes her childhood in Virginia with a bipolar and extremely religious father, strong mother, and three brothers. She details her experiences as a child raised in an extremely religious household and how that has made her wary of and uninterested in religion; her experiences as a musician, growing up with rock n' roll, and as a founding member of the country rock band Whiskey Creek; she also describes her work history as a food service worker who moved up to work as an accountant, business manager, and chief financial officer at various community service boards and other organizations; her fragmented school history, in which she left college after a year and then slowly got her associate's and bachelor's degrees; and how she became mayor of Staunton, Virginia. Dull discusses her early marriage as a result of an unplanned pregnancy, and subsequently meeting her future wife. Halfway through the interview, her wife, Salome Baugher, enters the interview to share her side of the story, and to talk about her experience with religion, specifically the Mennonite faith, and how their relationship, though legal, is not public knowledge because of Salome's family.

Biographical note:

Carolyn Dull (b. 1951) was born in Leesburg, Virginia, and moved to Staunton, Virginia at six months old, where she has lived ever since. She has been interested and involved with music, specifically rock n' roll, for as long as she can remember, and played in multiple bands before founding the country rock band Whiskey Creek in the early 1980s. She grew up with a religious father who was an Independent Baptist preacher, whom she did not get along with. She spent a year at William and Mary before becoming pregnant with her first and only daughter in 1972, and marrying her boyfriend at the time. She worked in food service until getting her AAS in Accounting from Blue Ridge Community College in 1982 and her BS in Management and Organizational Development from Eastern Mennonite University in 1997. She then worked as an accountant, a business manager, and a CFO at various organizations before retiring in 2015. She ran for a city council position in 2006, and then was elected as Vice Mayor of Staunton, Virginia in 2012, and then was elected to Mayor in 2014. She recently was reelected as Mayor for another four years.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use with following restrictions on access:

An Access Agreement must be signed by researchers agreeing not to publish any personally identifying information.

Interview may not be placed online. Please contact us for more information about how to access this resource.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Carolyn Dull has retained copyright to her work in this oral history interview during her lifetime.

Search Terms
Dull, Carolyn

Frank, JudithWare, Karolina, Judith Frank interviewed by Karolina Ware
2018 April 8
1 oral histories(audio and transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Judith Frank describes her childhood and family dynamics, and their transition to Israel in 1976. She talks about her college experiences in Israel, especially in comparison to the typical U.S. college experience, and what it was like to come back to the U.S. for graduate school. In doing so, she also touches upon how her gender and sexuality have been shaped by these life experiences of family and place. The interview focuses on her work as an author that explores issues including sexuality, butchness, politics, and religion, and how these novels were shaped by her own personal experiences. Frank also delves into her passion for teaching, and the important role she believes that education has in the world. In telling her story, she details her experiences of both mental and physical health, and how those have shaped her familial relationships and her relationship to her own body and self. Frank also discusses what it means to be a queer parent, as well as how aging and being an older parent have influenced that.

Biographical note:

Judith Frank (b. 1958) is currently a professor of English and Creative Writing at Amherst College, and writer who tends to explore the interactions between privileged and marginalized identities in her work. She is the author of Crybaby Butch and All I Love and Know, and has been nominated for and won several awards for these literary works that explores topics related to differences in classes, generations, gender presentation, sexualities, political beliefs, and religion. She grew up in the Chicago area before moving to Israel when she was 17, where she went to college before returning to the U.S. to pursue graduate degrees. She now lives in Amherst, MA with her partner and two children.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research on-site at Smith College Special Collections; it may not be placed online. Please contact us for more information about how to access this resource.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, Judith Frank and Karolina Ware have retained copyright to their work in this oral history interview for their lifetimes; after which copyright transfers to Smith College.

Physical characteristics:

The narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Search Terms
Frank, Judith

Audio interview of Judith Frank



Transcript of interview of Judith Frank


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Geary, RobertaPassy, Emma, Roberta "Bobbie" Geary interviewed by Emma "M." Passy
2018 April 11
1 oral histories(video and transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history Bobbie Geary shares her story of growing up in Long Island with a religious, working-class family. As the oldest child out of eight, Geary describes how her role of being the eldest daughter affected her gender expression and relationship with the important adults in her life as she grew up. Through the support of the strong women in her life, Geary speaks of how she got involved with her passion in writing and familiarity with lesbians and feminism. After moving to Manhattan, Geary recalls her experiences with therapy and coming to terms with her lesbian identity. This interview explicitly shows the various ways one can use their interests to become political, for Geary recounts her personal role in starting a lesbian press. Geary also recounts the bar scene of the fifties to seventies, which provides insight as to how different lesbian identities (such as the radicalesbians and sex radicals) evolved throughout LGBTQ+ history. In other words, Geary's interview illustrates the ways therapy, lesbian-only spaces, and family dynamics has shaped the way she views and values her lesbianism.

Biographical note:

Roberta "Bobbie" Geary (b. 1940) grew up in an Irish-Catholic household in Long Island, New York, and is the oldest of her seven siblings. Geary has had a passion for reading and writing since she was young, which was fueled by her grandmother's and great-aunts' support. Geary graduated from Hunter College of CUNY with a BA in psychology, and was introduced to publishing in New York City in the 1970s. While Geary has lived in several states as a freelance writer and editor, she currently resides in Easthampton with her partner of thirty years, Sandy. While Geary emphasizes the fact that she does not call herself political, Geary and her partner are founders of the lesbian press, The Graeae Press, and identify as "proud lesbians."

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Search Terms
Geary, Roberta

Video interview of Roberta Geary



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Roberta Geary has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Roberta Geary, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Transcript of interview of Roberta Geary


Box 1
Griffin, PatEyman, Caroline, Pat Griffin interviewed by Caroline Eyman
2018 March 22
1 oral histories(video and transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Pat Griffin describes how her 7th grade gym teacher, an Olympic swimmer, transformed her life into that of an athlete. Her passion and devotion to sports are what allowed her to pursue three sports at the University of Maryland: swimming, basketball, and field hockey. In the interview, she describes her years in college as some of her best years because she was the star on all three teams. Simultaneously though, she developed feelings for one of her basketball teammates. The interview focuses on this relationship and the various ones in-between before she met her wife, Kathy. Aside from the relationships with important figures in her life, the interview discusses her professional career at the University of Massachusetts as a professor in Social Justice Education and her personal life in the Pioneer Valley. The end of the interview focuses on her life in the present and the work she does with building common ground between the LGBTQ population and faith-based colleges and universities.

Biographical note:

Pat Griffin was born on January 2, 1946 in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland with her mother, father, and younger brother. She attended college in her home state at the University of Maryland. She received her B.S. in Physical Education from Maryland. In addition to her academics at the University of Maryland, she was a three-sport athlete on the swim, basketball, and field hockey teams.

In 1970, Pat Griffin left Maryland to attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she received her Master's degree in Sport Studies and her Ph.D. in Social Justice Education. After earning her degrees, she continued her career at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was an assistant/associate professor in Teacher Education in Physical Education, an associate professor in Social Justice Education, and also the Women's Swim Coach. She earned the honor of Professor Emerita when she retired from teaching in 2004. In addition to teaching, she is the author of various works, including her book Strong Women Deep Closets that analyzes the discrimination against lesbians in sports. She remains in the Pioneer Valley after her retirement at her home in Belchertown, Massachusetts with her wife Kathy. She continues advocating for LGBTQ athletes as an independent consultant in athletics and physical education.

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Search Terms
Griffin, Pat

Video interview of Pat Griffin



Hohenemser, LisaLindblom, Eloise, Lisa Hohenemser interviewed by Eloise Lindblom
2018 March 17
1 oral histories(video and transcript)

Scope and content:

In this oral history Lisa Hohenemser discusses the trajectory of her life from her childhood to her goals for the future. She talks about realizing she was a lesbian in college, and the struggles of often being unable to be identified as a lesbian. She characterizes herself in several ways as "walking in two worlds", meaning that in many aspects she finds herself part of one group and part of another. Some examples include her status as a child of German immigrant parents and her sexuality and visibility. An important element of this oral history is Lisa's relationship with her children and partner, and her experiences as a lesbian mother. She also discusses her work with AIDS education in the late 1980s and 1990s, when the crisis was at its peak. She ends with her goals for the future as her children are growing up and becoming independent, giving her the time to go back to work, in whatever form that may take.

Biographical note:

Lisa Hohenemser (b. 1964) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but was raised in Littleton, Massachusetts, interspersed with two years in the Netherlands, 1973-74, and 1978-79. She received her bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College, and later received a Master's in Public Health from the University of Michigan in 1992. She worked in many areas related to public health, such as with youth affected by AIDS, and was at Johns Hopkins University until she decided to take a departure from her work to stay at home with her young children. She has a partner named Mindy, whom she met in 1989, and they have two children together, Isabel, age 18, and Dylan, 15. She has long been involved in community organization and political activism relating to issues such as women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and environmental protection.

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Search Terms
Hohenemser, Lisa

Video interview of Lisa Hohenemser



Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research without restriction.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College.Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Transcript of interview of Lisa Hohenemser


Box 1
Hope, TrynaBellanca, Emily, Tryna Hope interviewed by Emily Bellanca
2018 March 29
1 oral histories(video and transcript)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research on-site at Smith College Special Collections; it may not be placed online. Please contact us for more information about how to access this resource.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright,Tryna Hope has retained copyright to her work in this oral history interview until January 1, 2020; after that time, copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Tryna Hope (b. 1943) grew up in Gary, Indiana and Birmingham, Alabama in an Orthodox Jewish household, obtained her Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from University without Walls, and earned her Master's in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. Until beginning her career in social work, her employment history began in her 30s with erasing stray pencil marks from tests and included record producer for Linda Shear's A Lesbian Portrait (Lesbian Music For Lesbians Only), tax consultant, paralegal, group home Advisor, and assistant manager from a woman's group home. She has also written for small women's print publications. She was involved in the Jane Collective in the early 1970s and co-founded the Northampton chapter of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change in the mid-2010s. In 1974 and 1975, she fought for custody of her daughter in the Hampshire County court, and she was one of the few out lesbian/gay people in the country to eventually obtain child custody.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Tryna Hope describes her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama as a middle-class, Jewish youth. She briefly talks about her experience with childhood sexual abuse and examines the effects of this abuse throughout her life. The interview focuses on her involvement with activist communities in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois during the late-1960s and early 19070s, her experiences as a lesbian separatist and lesbian mother, and her career as a social worker. At the end of the interview, she also talks about her experiences as an elder and about the shifts she has noted in the lesbian community, primarily regarding the decreased use of the word "lesbian." Hope's story reflects her own journey towards forgiveness/reconciliation with herself and her chosen communities, expands the definition of "coming out" to encompass different aspects of self, and traces her pathway to social work. It also provides insight into tension between separatist and non-separatist lesbians during the 1970s, benefits and limitations of therapy, and some of the intergenerational tensions within the LGBT community (e.g. elder erasure and the loss of "lesbian").

Physical characteristics:

The narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Search Terms
Hope, Tryna

Video interview with Tryna Hope



Transcript of interview with Tryna Hope


Box 1
James, MaryPark, Jenny, Mary James (pseudonym) interviewed by Jenny Park
2018 March 23
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is closed at at the request of the narrator until January 1, 2037. The nNarrator is using a pseudonym.

Biographical note:
Scope and content:
Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, the narrator has retained copyright to her work in this oral history interview for her lifetime; after which copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Search Terms
James, Mary

Transcript of interview with Mary James


Box 3
Knickerbocker, RebaKeast, Jessica, Reba Knickerbocker interviewed by Jessica Keast
2018 March 31
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

Biographical note:

Reba Knickerbocker was born in Connecticut in 1966, and, following her parents' divorce, moved with her mother to Oakland, California when she was six. Reba attended Mills College, where she joined the rowing team, and she graduated in 1997 as a nontraditional student. She went on to get her Master's in Exercise and Sports Studies from Smith College in 2003 and has worked various jobs coaching crew since then, the most significant of which was her time as head women's coach at Willamette University. Reba got married in Massachusetts after it was legalized. She lived with her wife in the Pioneer Valley before moving back to California, and lived in Sacramento and the Bay Area before resettling in Salem, Oregon. Following the cut of Willamette's women's crew team and her divorce in 2016, Reba moved back to Northampton and is currently the executive director at Northampton Community Rowing.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Reba Knickerbocker discusses growing up with a lesbian mom and her nontraditional "coming out" in a diverse part of the Bay Area. She describes her relationship with her mother's long-term partner, both her and her mother's lesbian communities, and identifying as butch. Reba also talks about her experiences coaching crew, the lack of racial and economic diversity in rowing, and her attempts to make the teams she's worked with more accessible. She ends the interview by detailing her relationship with her ex-wife, talking about their marriage, moves, and eventual divorce.

Search Terms
Knickerbocker, Reba

Video interview with Reba Knickerbocker



Transcript of interview with Reba Knickerbocker


Box 1
Lammers, CJWeiss, Natalie, CJ Lammers interviewed by Natalie Weiss
2018 April 2
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

Biographical note:

CJ Lammers (b. 1959) works at The Conway School, helping graduate students create sustainable environmental solutions through a project in the community. She has a BA in Forestry from Southern Illinois University (1981) and a Master's in Urban and Regional Planning with a specialization in Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia (1995). She and her wife Sarah got married four times from 1996 to 2008, when they were de facto plaintiffs in the Prop 8 Supreme Court case. CJ is also the delegate to the State Democratic Convention. She and Sarah live in Chesterfield with their two dogs.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, CJ Lammers (b. 1959) describes her childhood living in a strict, mostly male household in Peoria, IL and Aurora, IL as the fifth of six kids. She talks about her college years working in the dish room as the only woman, working on her degree in Forestry. After college, CJ moved to DC where she stayed for over a decade. Working in the environmental field, from Arborist Inspector to environmental planning, CJ was laid off twice in four years from federal budget cuts. This interview covers her coming out as butch in the early 2000s, and what that identity has meant to her, and what it was like being both closeted and out in the work place. CJ married her wife Sarah four time, the first time in 1996 in a commitment ceremony, and most recently in California, resulting in CJ and Sarah becoming de facto plaintiffs in the Prop 8 Supreme Court case that federally legalized same-sex marriage. The interview ends with her discussion of the local politics in Chesterfield, MA and her dedication to conservation.

Search Terms
Lammers, CJ

Video interview with CJ Lammers



Transcript of interview with CJ Lammers


Box 1
Meblin, AmyDonckers, Gretta, Amy Meblin interviewed by Gretta Donckers
2018 April 1
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

Biographical note:

Amy Meblin (b. 1949) grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula, in Menlo Park and Portola Valley, California. She attended Stanford University, the University of Oregon, and the University of California, Santa Cruz, before moving east and completing an independent graduate study in media and writing at Lesley College Graduate School in Cambridge. Meblin's employment history includes a variety of positions in media and communications and environmental education and fundraising, including working as program manager at the Fernald State School for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. She was also part of the production team of Somerville Community Access Television (SCAT), which released Two in Twenty, a lesbian soap opera. Meblin now resides in Greenfield, Massachusetts where she works at the Franklin Community Co-op and lives happily with her spouse, Alix Carafiol, and their daughter, Syl.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Amy Meblin describes growing up in a left-wing family on the San Francisco Peninsula. She knew from the age of 11 that she was attracted to women but remained closeted until 1972 when she attended Linda Shear's concert at the University of Illinois and encountered lesbian feminist culture. The interview covers her early family life in California and her social and professional life in Massachusetts. Meblin describes Boston's bar scene in the 1970s and also emphasizes the "out" culture in her workplaces, notably at the Fernald School and at her current place of employment, the Franklin Community Co-op. Meblin reflects on the conditions of her life that have allowed for what she experienced as a relative amount of freedom and mobility, both in terms of her material life and her identity, noting a sense of comfort moving between different social worlds. The interview also covers Meblin's current family life, including her marriage to her partner of 33 years, following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2008, and her experiences parenting a child that she senses to be queer as well.

Search Terms
Meblin, Amy

Video interview with Amy Meblin



Transcript of interview with Amy Meblin


Box 1
Mitchell, ValoryHaug, Claire, Valory Mitchell interviewed by Claire Haug
2018 March 10
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

Biographical note:

Valory Mitchell (b. 1946) grew up in southern California, and attended the University of California Berkeley where she received her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1983. Mitchell has worked as a professor at the California School of Psychology, where she served as the coordinator of the Gender Studies emphasis area, director of the Institute for the Psychology of Women, and helped to design a Social Justice track. She has also worked as a psychologist for over 25 years. She is the editor of the collections Lesbian Family Life, Like the Fingers of a Hand and The Long View: Women Doing Therapy in the Last Third of Life, and is the author of numerous publications in journals such as Women in Therapy, Journal of Homosexuality, and the Journal of Lesbian Studies. She has lived in the Bay Area in California since the 1960's.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Valory Mitchell describes her childhood growing up as the daughter of television writers, her experiences going to the University of California Berkeley in the 1960's and 70's, and her experience of living in the Bay Area for her entire life. The interview focuses on her academic work in the field of psychology, which centers around the psychology of women, LGBT individuals, and aging. The interview also focuses on her relationships with important people in her life including her mother, daughter, and partners, and the impact they have had on her and her lesbian identity. Her story touches on the evolution of the Bay Area LGBT scene from its early days in the 1960's through today.

Search Terms
Mitchell, Valory

Video interview with Valory Mitchell



Transcript of interview with Valory Mitchell


Box 1
Montoya, PatriciaHerrera Vargas, Sinai, Patricia Montoya interviewed by Sinai Herrera Vargas
(bulk 2018 April 2 and April 9)
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research on-site at Smith College Special Collections; it may not be placed online. Please contact us for more information about how to access this resource.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, Patricia Montoya and Sinai Herrera Vargas have retained copyright to their work in this oral history interview for their lifetimes; after which copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Patricia Montoya (b. 1965) grew up in Medellin, Colombia. She was born in a coffee town outside of Medellin, Colombia. The second to youngest of seven children, she was raised by her grandmother, surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins. After immigrating to the U.S. in the 80's she became involved in various community projects. Her passion for film began during her involvement in a local news station, DCTV. Currently residing in Northampton, she is a video and film studies visiting professor at Hampshire College, as well as a research associate at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego. She focuses her film projects on queer and U.S./Mexico border identity as well as the immigrant experience, intimacy, and memory through the relationship to urban settings.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Patricia Montoya describes her childhood in Medellin, Colombia and her experience in immigrating to the United States at the age of 16. She describes her experience sustaining herself through work and school as an independent student pursuing a non-conventional education. This interview focuses on her identity as a youth and her experience in proximity to lesbian spaces throughout the 80's and 90's and contrasting to the present. It also highlights the importance of Latino identity in her politics and the influence of such in her current work as a professor. Her life experience as an independent student with a nonconventional education has contributed to her identity and work in her teachings at Hampshire College. Her story contributes to an untold story of queerness in Latin America.

Physical characteristics:

The narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Search Terms
Montoya, Patricia

Audio interview with Patricia Montoya



Transcript of interview with Patricia Montoya


Box 1
Mullin, SandraMetzger, Nichola, Sandra Mullin interviewed by Nichola Metzger
2018 April 14
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research on-site at Smith College Special Collections; it may not be placed online. Please contact us for more information about how to access this resource.

Biographical note:

Sandra Mullin (b. 1961) is a family friend that the interviewer grew up with but has since grown apart from during her adolescence. Sandy (the name the interviewer grew up calling her) was the longterm partner of the interviewer's mother's college best friend. Sandy currently lives in Brooklyn. Sandy was born in London, England but grew up in Jamaica and moved to the United States at 17 with her family. After her adolescence was spent in Jamaica Sandy spent the rest of her life calling New York City, specifically Long Island and then Brooklyn, home. Sandy is the senior vice president of policy, advocacy and communication at Vital Strategies a company that serves as a global leader in mediating health crisis' such as working on solving the Ebola crisis of 2014 and the health repercussions of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Sandy has co-authored several articles on media campaigns to improve policy and behavior regarding public health. Sandy graduated from Hofstra with her bachelor's and then completed a masters in social work from Hunter School of Social Work.

Physical characteristics:

The narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Sandra Mullin describes growing up as an immigrant within a working class family in England, then Jamaica and finally the U.S. She discusses Jamaican culture regarding the privileges of skin color, as she herself identifies as mixed race. Her experiences being mixed race in a larger context are also discussed at length. Additionally, the homophobia experienced through the lens of her childhood in Jamaica is discussed. She reflects on her interaction with Jamaica now as a grown adult who is an out lesbian. The interview also focuses on her time as a public health advocate, leading up to her current occupation at Vital Strategies. Mullin discusses her hopes for the next generation of public health activists. Additionally the interview covers her relationship to spirituality, especially growing up Catholic and moving towards a more critical and all encompassing view of spirituality. Mullin addresses the joy she has experienced being able to do the work that she does, especially in Jamaica, a place she still considers a home.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they owns copyright, Sandra Mullin has retained copyright to her work in this oral history interview until Jan. 1, 2030; and Nichola Metzgerhas retained copyright to her work in this oral history interview until Jan. 1, 2020. After Jan 1, 2030 copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Search Terms
Mullin, Sandra

Video interview with Sandra Mullin



Transcript of interview with Sandra Mullin


Box 1
Saeli, ZeldaRodrigues, Marcela, Zelda Saeli interviewed by Marcela Rodrigues
2018 March 3
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is available for research on-site at Smith College Special Collections; it may not be

placed online. Please contact us for more information about how to access this resource.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything

further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

Biographical note:

Zelda Saeli (b. 1951) grew up on a family farm in New York state, graduated from Eisenhower College in 1973, and moved to San Francisco, California in late 1976. Saeli is second-generation Italian-American and the middle child of three siblings. Currently, she works for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where she conducts outreach to low-income women, as well as other minorities, to encourage them to consider a career in the well-paying construction trade unions of northern CA. She lives in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco with her partner Maggie. They have one son, Eli Harrison-Saeli.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Zelda Saeli describes her childhood growing up on a family farm in New York state. She grew up in a Catholic family, and her experiences growing up reflect the farm life: she reports the freedom she had to play as a tomboy. In college, she participated in anti-war protests and came out as a lesbian. The interview is an autobiography of her life and focuses on her relationship with the gay and lesbian movement, the women's movement, her move to San Francisco, the social activism in the City, and how she navigates her relationships in this context. Zelda's story details the ways she used the challenges from her childhood and family experiences to make meaningful contributions to marginalized communities, especially through her work with low-income women. Her interview illustrates the most significant historical events of the gay and lesbian movement through the 1970s and 1980s and beyond, including the assassination of Harvey Milk, the Briggs Initiative, the bar scene in San Francisco, the legal struggle for domestic partnership and same-sex second parent adoption, and the federal recognition of gay marriage.

Physical characteristics:

The narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Search Terms
Saeli, Zelda

Video interview with Zelda Saeli



Transcript of interview with Zelda Saeli


Box 1
Valois, MichelleHuggett, Rachel, Michelle Valois interviewed by Rachel Huggett
2018 March 23
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Michelle Valois has retained copyright to her work in this oral history interview for her lifetime; after which copyright will transfer to Smith College.

Biographical note:

Michelle Valois (b. 1962) grew up in Leominster MA, graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst after transferring from Northeastern University and Hampshire College, and earned an MFA also from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Valois's main employment is as a community college professor at Mount Wachusett Community College and as an adjunct professor at Holyoke Community College and Greenfield Community College. She helped MWCC win a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and developed with two other faculty members The Humanities Project, whose mission is to improve the humanities at the college and to bring cultural and educational programming to the greater Gardner area. She is a freelance writer and poet and is the author of the chapbook My Found Vocabulary which is about her experience of having cancer. Her work has been published in the Massachusetts Review, Brevity, Tri-Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education as well as other journals. She has served on the board for the non-profit publishing company Perugia Press which publishes women poets and is also on the board of Northampton Baseball and Softball League as well as coaching her sons' teams for five years.

Scope and content:

In this oral history Michelle Valois describes her upbringing in a working-class, blue-collar family in central Massachusetts and her experiences during the ten years she spent in Stockholm, Sweden; for a semester abroad when she was in college and then after graduating from college from 1984-1994. The interview focuses on her time growing up as a lesbian in a place where she did not have any support or role models, and then going to college and discovering a new part of herself. She speaks of an aunt who never married and was very important to her whilst growing up by helping her realize the potential life she could live where her livelihood was not ruled by men or a husband. She describes her time in Sweden as being helpful for her to develop her political views, and she now sees a social democracy with regulated capitalism and a big safety net for individuals as the ideal political system. She considers herself culturally Swedish and speaks fondly of her time spent there. Her story of growing up with no lesbian representation culminates in her role as an advisor for the GSA at the college at which she works, and she tells anecdotes of queer students coming to her for support.

Search Terms
Valois, Michelle

Video interview with Michelle Valois (first part only)



Physical characteristics:

The video cuts off abruptly at@ 1:10:35 (p24 of 41 in transcript!) but there is a complete audio file (total time 2:03:46).

Audio interview with Michelle Valois (complete)



Transcript of interview with Michelle Valois


Box 1
Warren, KarenWood, Annie, Karen Warren interviewed by Annie Wood
2018 March 29
1 oral histories(transcript and video)

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith

College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright to this interview has been transferred to Smith College. Researchers do not need anything

further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical note:

Karen Warren (b. 1955) grew up in Milford, Michigan, graduated from Central Michigan University in 1977 with a degree in Biology and Education, earned a Master's degree in Experiential Education from Mankato State University in 1983, and completed her PhD in Experiential Education and Social Justice at the Union Institute & University in 1999. She's worked as a camp counselor, outdoor trip leader, and alternative education teacher, and has been an Outdoor Programs instructor at Hampshire College since 1983. She is the editor of The Theory of Experiential Education and Women's Voices in Experiential Education. She lives in Pelham, MA, with her wife Sue, and has two daughters, Amelia and Xin Xin.

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Karen Warren describes her childhood in a rural, working-class family in Milfrod, Michigan; her career as an outdoor leader, social justice educator, and writer; her memories of living in Western Massachusetts over the past few decades, and her life with her wife and daughters. In particular, this interview focuses on her experiences coming out as a lesbian in the rural Midwest before moving to Western Massachusetts and becoming involved in the lesbian community there (especially in relation to the outdoors), and her subsequent experiences adopting and raising two children with her wife, Sue. We also talk extensively about her work teaching at Hampshire College, her experiences with her students, and her social justice advocacy there. Her stories are a part of both Midwestern and Massachusetts lesbian history from the 1980s to the present, and illustrate the overlap between lesbian and outdoor communities.

Search Terms
Warren, Karen

Video interview of Karen Warren



Transcript of interview of Karen Warren


Box 1
2019-S-0016. Anderson, Kelly, Documenting Lesbian Lives
2019 March-April
0.625 linear feet(1 Letter document box, 1 half letter document box)1800 Gigabytes(70 digital files)

Physical characteristics:

This accession contains materials received in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Processing information:

The digital files were received on portable hard drives and have been copied to networked storage by Special Collections staff for preservation and access.

Search Terms
Anderson, Kelly

2019-S-0016. Smith, AoifeAalfs, Janet, Janet Aalfs interviewed by Aoife Smith
2019 March 29
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Aalfs reflects up her experiences in the world as a lesbian and artist. Aalfs discusses the importance of community and community building and how those things have been important in her life as well as the lives of others. In addition to this Aalfs shares insights on how Northampton and the women's movement have changed from the 1970s and 1980s to today.

Biographical note:

Janet Aalfs was born in 1956 in upstate New York, though she moved multiple times throughout her childhood. Aalfs has been living in the Pioneer valley since she moved her for college in the 1970s. Janet Aalfs first attended Hampshire College but then transfered to the University of Massachussetts to pursue a degree in Women's Studies. After her undergraduate career Aalfs received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence.

Janet Aalfs is a founding member of Valley Women's Martial Arts. She founded and directs Lotus Peace Arts and works in integrative education. Aalfs served as Northampton's poet laureate from 2003-2005 and has multiple poetry collections including Bird of a Thousand Eyes and Reach. Additionally, Aalfs is a devoted community member who has participated in copious programs that have been beneficial in locations all over the world.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, Janet Aalfs and Aoife Smith have retained copyright to this oral history interview.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Janet Aalfs



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Janet Aalfs
2019 March 29

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Baker, FrancesSwaim-Fox, Callan, Frances Baker interviewed by Callan Swaim-Fox
2019 March 15
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Baker reflects on her childhood in Painesville, Ohio, her nursing and psychotherapy career in Cleveland, Ohio, and the relationships in her life. Baker shares her experience working with the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, her experiences in the Fundamentalist and Episcopal Church as well as her work with the Bon Religion. She focuses on her romantic relationships with men as well as her long-term partnerships with women and her marriage to her wife.

Biographical note:

Frances Baker (b. 1940) was born into a working-class family in Painesville, Ohio, where she was raised and attended high school. She received a nursing degree from Huron Road Hospital School of Nursing in East Cleveland, Ohio and taught at Mount Sinai School of Nursing before pursuing a degree in psychology. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1970 with a doctorate in Psychology and has been a practicing clinical psychologist in Cleveland, Ohio for the past fifty years. Furthermore, she was ordained into a healing ministry in the Healing Light Center Church in the 1980s. Her practice combines Gestalt psychotherapy with healing work and traditional talk therapy. She served both in faculty and leadership positions in the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland since the 1970s. Baker and her friends have led the Bon Foundation, to help preserve the culture and traditions of Bon, the ancient indigenous religion of Tibet, since the 1990s. She also serves on the Vestry, or governing board, of the Episcopal church she attends with her wife and grandchildren. Baker was married to a man in the 60s and after divorcing him, started a long-term partnership with a woman. She met her wife over twenty-eight years ago and the two have been together ever since. Frances and her wife live in University Heights, Ohio, where she continues her psychotherapy practice part-time.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, Frances Baker and Callan Swaim-Fox have assigned the copyright of this interview to Smith College. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Frances Baker



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Frances Baker
2019 March 15

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Balay, AnneWingrove, Katie, Anne Balay interviewed by Katie Wingrove
2019 March 29
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Balay reflects on the family she grew up in and formative events of her childhood. She talks about her relationships and her two children in depth. Balay also discusses her experiences in a white collar job versus blue collar jobs, and deconstructs myths around queer life in blue collar workplaces. Balay discusses activism, feminism, and what it was like to come out in her thirties.

Biographical note:

Anne Balay (b. 1964) is a native of Connecticut. She grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. Anne attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate and her PhD, with both degrees in English. After working as a car mechanic at Foreign Car Hospital for almost a decade, Anne went back to the world of academia, teaching at the University of Illinois Chicago campus, at Indiana University Northwest, and Haverford. Anne has also worked as a truck driver. Balay has two books out currently, Steel Closets which she published in 2014, and Semi Queer which was published in 2018.

Balay has two kids, whom she loves dearly, and a sister she is very close to. Balay feels deeply connected to the queer community in the blue collar workforce. She is currently looking forward to figuring out what job she will hold next.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have assigned the copyright of this interview to Smith College. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Anne Balay



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Anne Balay
2019 March 29

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Buzzarte, MoniqueLudemann, Hannah, Monique Buzzarte interviewed by Hannah Lubemann
2019 March 15
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Buzzarte talks about her childhood, recounting the difficulties of living in various homes. She touches on the traumatic issues of sexual abuse and feelings of suicide. Buzzarte also talks about the her time as a music advocate for the Vienna Philharmonic as well as her connections to composer Pauline Oliveros. She discusses how she does not like being labelled and does not consider herself a part of any particular LGBT community.

Biographical note:

Monique Buzzarte was born in San Pedro, California in 1960. She is a trombonist, composer, author, and music teacher. She has lived all over California and attended college in Seattle, Washington. She has a fraternal twin sister, Danielle. Buzzarte was primarily raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather was a socialist newspaper publisher, and her grandmother was a librarian. She helped organize a worldwide campaign as part of the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) to admit women as members of the Vienna Philharmonic in 1997. She also co-edited the book Anthology of Essays on Deep Listening.

Buzzarte currently resides in New York City, where she teachers music to elementary schoolers at Riverdale Country School's lower campus.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Monique Buzzarte



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Monique Buzzarte
2019 March 15

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Chassman, JanetSwihart, Sarah, Janet Chassman interviewed by Sarah Swihart
2019 March 14
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Chassman shares stories of her experiences as a lesbian in Western New York. She reflects on her time in Buffalo, NY and describes the lesbian community there, specifically the fading lesbian bar scene and women's dances. She shares anecdotes and thoughts about coming out, her work with domestic violence victims, her work as an MC and comedian, her wife and marriage, and her plans for the future.

Biographical note:

Janet Chassman (b. 1955) was born in Brooklyn, NY. She attended University of Buffalo (New York) and worked for the New York State Department of Mental Health from 1988 through 2012.

Chassman came out as a lesbian in 1979, while working at a local shelter for battered women. She continued to work with victims of domestic violence until 1988, when she got a job with the State of New York and moved to Albany. She lived in Albany until 2012, when she decided to take early retirement and move back to Buffalo. In Buffalo, she worked at a local co-op for a while. She also met her wife, Dana, there, and they married in 2016 at Buffalo City Hall (with a reception in Canada, where her wife is from). Additionally, she worked as an MC and a comedian in both Buffalo and Albany, especially in the seventies and eighties.

Chassman now lives with her wife in Fort Erie, On., where she volunteers with Read to Succeed and spends time with friend groups in both Fort Erie and Buffalo.

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Janet Chassman



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Janet Chassman
2019 March 14

Box 1
2019-S-0016. C., AnneSpies, Ruby, Ann C. interviewed by Ruby Spies
2019 March 25-27
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Ann C. reflects on her childhood, career, moves around the country, community involvement, and artistic self. Ann C. goes into depth on the importance of art in her life and the progression of lesbian politics and her place within them. Ann C.'s philosophical outlook provides insight into not only important events in lesbian history, but their emotional undercurrents as well.

Biographical note:

Ann C. (b. 1953) is a native of California and a long-time resident of Northampton, Massachussetts. She is the oldest of four children and grew up between Northern California, Colorado, and Canada. She attended Cabrillo College and San Francisco State University as an undergraduate, then later completed a second bachelor's degree and a year of graduate studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. She has worked as a counselor in a women's shelter and a psychiatric half-way house and later as an accountant, budget analyst, and research administrator for various nonprofits (such as Legal Aid Society and Head Start) and institutions of higher education (University of California Santa Cruz and University of Massachussetts Amherst). She retired in July of 2018.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online and that her last name not be made public.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Ann C.



Restrictions on access:

The narrator has requested her last name not be made public. A redacted version of the interview is available.

2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Ann C.
2019 March 25-27

Box 1
Restrictions on access:

The narrator has requested that her last name not be made public. A redacted version of the transcript is available.

2019-S-0016. Drexler, CarolShapiro-Tamir, Tamara, Carol Drexler interviewed by Tamara Shapiro-Tamir
2019 April 10
1 oral histories(Transcript and audio)

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Drexler describes growing up in New York City during WWII, her personal process of coming out, including her first crush on another girl and the painful experience of being outed by her brother, and her experience of and opinions on the gay rights movement, including her debate with "the farmers of Hampshire College" over lesbian dress codes. Drexler also shares other anecdotes of her life, including her friendships with Jane Yolen and Joanna Macy, and words of wisdom on friendships between lesbians, kindness between people, and more.

Biographical note:

Carol Drexler (b. 1931) was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Manhattan. She attended Syracuse University and New York University as an undergraduate and received her Masters in Psychology, English and Philosophy from New York University. She worked as a children's book editor in New York City before getting her Masters, and since then has lived and worked as a counselor in Amherst, Massachussetts. She was the first out lesbian counselor in the Pioneer Valley.

In addition to her work as a counselor, Drexler was a central part of organizing the lesbian feminist movement in the Pioneer Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. She collaborated on the creation of lesbian plays at UMass Amherst and helped to organize the first Gay Pride Parade in Northampton, Massachussetts.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Audio interview of Carol Drexler



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Carol Drexler
2019 April 10

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Grauert, Ruth "Reg"Engleman, SofiaHess, Molly, Ruth "Reg" Grauert interviewed by Sofia Engelman with Molly Hess
2019 March 15
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Grauert reflects on her experience and understanding of significant American events, including the Great Depression, the presidential election of 1932, World War II, and the Lincoln, Kennedy, and Trump Administrations. She also discusses her involvement in the rise of modern dance and her experience touring with the Nikolais company for decades, as well as the summer camp, Bearnstow, which she founded with her partner Francis. Grauert reflects on issues of race, class, gender, disability, and sexuality in relation to these subjects.

Biographical note:

Ruth "Reg" Grauert was born on March 24, 1919 in Jersey City. She received a BA from Ursinus College in 1939 and an MA from Columbia University in 1941. Reg studied dance with the likes of Martha Graham, Hanya Holma, and Charles Weidman during and after graduate school. After graduate school, she taught junior high and high school in Connecticut and New York City. In New York City, after World War II, she began assisting and working as a lighting designer and stage manager for the well-known modern dance choreographer Alwin Nikolais. Reg also taught dance to children at the esteemed Henry St. Playhouse for decades while living in New York.

In 1945, Reg and her partner Francis Reid, who were together until Francis' death, decided they wanted to open a summer camp in rural Maine. They ultimately purchased an abandoned property on Parker Pond in Mt. Vernon, Maine, a town popular for summer camps. They repaired the property themselves and prepared to make a camp that was "ethical. It was to be interracial, interreligious, and co-ed, and offer the arts and non-competitive sports." Reg continues to serve as the director of Bearnstow today which is open each summer holding a day camp and summer dance workshops for adults. During the year she claims to be a "shut-in" in Jersey City.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Ruth "Reg" Grauert



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Ruth "Reg" Grauert
2019 March 15

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Halberstam, JackKarp, Sky, Jack Halberstam interviewed by Sky Karp
2019 March 20
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Halberstam reflects on his childhood in Nottingham, coming into the queer community in the Bay Area and Minneapolis, and his experience as a professor.

Halberstam shares his insightful views on aging as a queer person, building relationships with younger generations and his experience of embodiment over his lifetime. Halberstam's interview is a fantastic window into the experiences and histories of transmasculine and butch individuals coming into their identities in the eighties and nineties.

Biographical note:

Jack Halberstam (b. 1961) is a native of Nottingham, in the UK. He received his BA from UC Berkeley in 1985 and his PhD from University of Minnesota in 1991, both in English. He was an Associate Professor in Literature at the University of California at San Diego and a Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California, before his appointment as professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in 2017. Halberstam is the author of six books: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (1995), Female Masculinity (1998), In a Queer Time and Place (2005), The Queer Art of Failure, Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (2011), and Trans* (2018).

Halberstam has been involved in the queer community in the Bay Area, Minneapolis and New York City. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Macarena Gomez-Barris and her two children.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Jack Halberstam



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Jack Halberstam
2019 March 20

Box 1
2019-S-0016. McDaniel, CarolineTherpenier, Franchesca, Caroline McDaniel interviewed by Franchesca Therpenier
2019 March 12
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, McDaniel reflects on her childhood, what it was like growing up in Floria, and the pain of loss within the family. She discusses in great detail what Smith College was like in the mid-1980s and the lesbian culture that existed when she was a student. McDaniel tells stories of being a woman chef in a culture of toxic masculinity in professional kitchens. Having spent much of her life in New York, she describes the AIDS epidemic in the '80s and '90s, the aftermath of 9/11, and the gentrification of the city. She speaks about the pitfalls of "tolerance" and "acceptance," emphasizing the need for society to be open towards individuals and their identities.

Biographical note:

Caroline McDaniel (b. 1963) was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Her father, John McDaniel, was a pilot, which allowed her to travel a lot in her early life. Her older brother, Doug McDaniel, passed away from Leukemia when she was a child, creating distance between her and her father. Caroline has a very close relationship with her mother, Athena, and her grandmother, Thelxiope.

Caroline McDaniel came to Northampton, Massachussetts, in 1981 to attend Smith College, graduating in '85 with a degree in Sociology. Afterwards, she attended cooking school in Paris and had tense interactions with her male peers. She opened up a patisserie in Northampton in 1987, which closed over a year later due to a stagnant economy. She lived in New York City during most of the 1990s and had a long-term relationship and domestic partnership with Margaret Noble. Caroline moved back to Northampton in 2012 to open ConVino Wine Bar and has been living here ever since.

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Caroline McDaniel



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Caroline McDaniel
2019 March 12

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Parmakian, PamLaursen, Olivia, Pam Parmakian interviewed by Olivia Laursen
2019 March 23
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Parmakian reflects on her life history. This includes her childhood, coming out, the social life in Provincetown, changes to community in Provincetown as a resuly of gentrification, trauma, complicated family relationships, love and marriage, and queer family-making. Through her humor, vulnerability, and candid storytelling, Parmakian provides insight into lesbian life in a gay mecca and a window into the complex emotional lives of gay women.

Biographical note:

Pam Parmakian (b. 1959) is originally from Wethersfield, CT. She was one of four children, and grew up working in her family's successful catering business. She came out around age 18 and first visited Provincetown, MA at age 20 - then stayed there year-round for the next 27 years. She was an active part of the vibrant social community and party scene there, including during the HIV/AIDS crisis. She worked to develop a lesbian community in Provincetown by organizing benefit events, parties, and Women's Week, as well as by managing a large women's guesthouse (Gabriel's) and, later, a popular women's nightclub (the Vixen). As gentrification accelerated in Provincetown, Parmakian began working in affordable housing and the local government as a Selectperson. Through her work in affordable housing, she met her wife Elizabeth Bridgewater in 2006, and they were married in 2009. Together, they eventually left the Cape to live full-time in western Massachussetts. Though the couple do not have children of their own, their relationship with Parmakian's grand-niece is very special and important. She currently works in Amherst, MA for the Amherst House Authority and lives with her wife and their dog in Greenfield, MA.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Pam Parmakian



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Pam Parmakian
2019 March 23

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Sneed, BeaujanRamos, Lauren, Beaujan Sneed interviewed by Lauren Ramos
2019 March 11
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Sneed explains her coming out process and her experience with on-and offline support groups that helped her through it. She then explains the difficulties she faced when attempting to divorce her husband and obtain custody of her two young children after coming out as a lesbian, noting the help she received from the National Center for Lesbian Rights throughout her custody battle. Sneed describes her work with Gyrlgroove, a women's production company, and continued involvement with organizations such as the Lesbian Social Group of Knoxville, which she now leads. She discusses several of the relationships she has been in and explains how she came to identifiy with different labels for her sexual orientation (including "lesbian," "bisexual," "demisexual," "hot mess," and "woman who loves women").

Sneed touches on connections and tensions between the transgender and lesbian communities in Knoxville as well as the differences she has noticed between the older and younger generations in the community. Sneed talks about her experience with her pansexual daughter and with LGBTQ youth that she has taken under her wing, demonstrating the importance of connection and friendship for LGBTQ people and emphasizing the need to avoid isolation.

Throughout this oral history, Sneed touches on LGBTQ identity and community formation, connection and tensions in lesbian spaces, online activism, relationships, LGBTQ family, and intergenerational connection between LGBTQ people. This oral history is an excellent example of the work of LGBTQ activists in the South, particularly regarding ongoing changes in activist work that have come with the rise of the digital age.

Biographical note:

Beaujan Sneed (b. 1968) grew up in Cleveland, Tennessee. After high school, she married a man and travelled with the military before settling down in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1999. There, she found community with the Lesbian Social Group of Knoxville before coming out and later divorcing her husband. After a two-year custody battle, with assistance from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, she gained joint custody of her two children and set a precedent for custody agreements of other lesbian mothers in Knoxville. Sneed became deeply engaged with activism in her area, including working for Gyrlgroove and leading the Lesbian Social Group of Knoxville, Southern Rainbows TN, and Women Keeping It Real TN.She also collaborates with other organizations in her community, such as the Voices for Trans Youth Campaign, Knoxville Pride, and CONTACT Care Line, among many others. Sneed currently lives in Knoxville, TN, where she continues to advocate for change.

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have assigned the copyright of this interview to Smith College. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Beaujan Sneed



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Beaujan Sneed
2019 March 11

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Stuart, AnitaNadig, Zoe, Anita Stuart interviewed by Zoe Nadig
2019 March 16
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Stuart reflects on her life, touching on principle themes of music, love and family, as well as life in Berkshire Country, MA, where she has lived on and off for sixty years. She talks about the ease of coming out in middle age and her relationship with her wife.

Biographical note:

Anita Stuart (b. 1950) was born in Brooklyn, NY, but considers her true home Berkshire Country in Western Massachussetts where she has lived on and off since she was a child. She attended UMass Amherst for one year before transferring to Boston University to get her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Performance, focusing on the organ. She later got her Teachers Certification from Westfield State University and from 1991 to 2008 taught music at the Lenox Public Schools. Since 1992 she has served as choir director and organist at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lenox. She has two daughters with her ex-husband and currently lives with her wife, Gail Street, in Lenox, Massachussetts.

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have assigned the copyright of this interview to Smith College. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Anita Stuart



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Anita Stuart
2019 March 16

Box 1
2019-S-0016. Trussell, LenoraCornick, Julia, Lenora Trussell interviewed by Julia Cornick
2019 March 23
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Trussell reflects on her childhood and specifically on her relationships with her siblings. She wrestles with themes of truth and memory, as many of her family members (both in her family of origin as a child and her partner later in life) lied to her. She recounts her experience as a young lesbian in Alabama and D.C. during the 1960s-1980s, such as being in a gay bar during a raid and her experience with using a gay sperm donor to conceive her son during the early days of the AIDS crisis. Trussell discusses the abuse she has experienced throughout her life, and how she has come to view abuse and healing, both in her own life and in the world as a whole.

There is no audiovisual component offor this interview, only a transcript.

Biographical note:

Lenora Trussell (b. 1948) began her life in Kane, Pennsylvania, but moved around numerous times as a child, and counts 17 different places that she lived with her family before she went away to college at the age of 16. She attended Florence State University (now known as the University of North Alabama) and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology.

After graduating college, Trussell held many different jobs, mostly in the healthcare field, and got her nusring degree from Georgia State University. Her jobs have included processing pap smears in a hospital, working at a suicide prevention hotline, giving massages, owning a gay bed and breakfast, and being a hospice nurse (which she described as her "favorite"). She gave birth to her son when she was in her mid-thirties through a sperm donor, and they currently live in Greenfield, MA.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Lenora Trussell
2019 March 23

Box 2
2019-S-0016. Weil, LiseCarberry, Amanda, Lise Weil interviewed by Amanda Carberry
2019 March 20
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Lise Weil reflects on her early fascination with learning and knowledge (and the women who provided that knowledge), her entrance into the lesbian feminist scene, her relationship to labels of identity, her connection to music as an accompaniment to her life and lesbian identity, her relationships, her perception of conflict within the lesbian community, and the evolution of her understanding of love and desire. Weil shares nostalgic observations about the loss of lesbian spaces and considers topics such as the relationship of lesbians to outsider-hood and alienation, marriage and existing outside of a traditional family structure, visions for the future, and the nature of political activity. Weil's interview provides an invigorating and thought-provoking window into the lesbian feminist movement of the 1970s and 1980s and offers highly-attuned perceptions regarding the groundbreaking place the movement occupied in history.

Biographical note:

Lise Weil is a Chicago-born writer, editor and translator who has called Montreal her home since 1990. She attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and received both her MA and Phd from Brown University in 1977 and 1987, respectively. She joined the faculty of Goddard College in Vermont in 1993 and remains a faculty member in the Goddard Graduate Institute, where she prides herself in being a "recovering academic" engaged in forging alternative, politicized learning spaces. She was the founder and editor of the U.S. feminist review Trivia: A Journal of Ideas and of its online offshoot, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, an award-winning radical feminist literary and political magazine. She is currently the founder and editor of Dark Matter: Women Witnessing, and Earth-centered publication dedicated to reflection on the relationship of the human to the non-human world in an age of ecological collapse.

Lise Weil's engagement with the lesbian feminist movement began with her coming out in 1976. Her time at the Women's Writer's Center in New York from 1978 to 1980 was integral to cultivating her writing and her engagement with major feminist thinkers of the time. During the 1980s, she lived in Western Massachussetts, residing for a time in the house of radical feminist philosopher Mary Daly. There, she participated in a radical women's study group, from which the foundational ideas for Trivia and its publication emerged, and enjoyed a deep connection to nature. She moved to Montreal in 1990, a time when it was home to a vibrant lesbian culture. It is a city she still loves for its multiculturalism, multilingualism, and laissez-faire nature.

Lise Weil's memoir, In Search of Pure Lust, appeared in June 2018 with She Writes Press in the U.S. and Inanna Press in Canada. The book served as the basis of a talk given at Smith College on March 20, 2019, directly following this interview. Lise continues to live in Montreal, and enjoys hosting and facilitating women's writing retreats on a regular basis. She is a Sagittarius with an Aquarius moon.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Lise Weil



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Lise Weil
2019 March 20

Box 2
2019-S-0016. Westphal, KarlaRosenberg, Clara, Karla Westphal interviewed by Clara Rosenberg
2019 March 10
1 linear feet(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this oral history, Westphal discusses growing up in a religious household and eventually losing her faith. She talks about discovering her bisexuality during college and her subsequent involvement in various LGBT groups, as well as current involvement with the Golden State Squares, a gay square dancing group. She reflects on a couple of past romantic relationships, and discusses the path she took that led her to be a mathematics professor. She also describes the process of suing the community college she works at over prayer at public events.

Biographical note:

Karla Westphal (b. 1971) grew up in Michigan and Long Island, New York. She received a Bachelor's degree from Yale in theater and philosophy, and a Master's degree from Loyola University Chicago in mathematics. She came out as bisexual in her first year of college, and has varying degrees of involvement with the LGBT community since then. She currently works as a mathematics professor at a community college, and lives in Orange County, California.

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Karla Westphal



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Karla Westphal
2019 March 10

Box 2
2019-S-0016. Zaremba, StaceyFraivillig, Julia, Stacey Zaremba interviewed by Julia Fraivillig
2019 March 13
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Zaremba looks back on her family life, her professional studies, and her current impact on students who are LGBT and students who are pursuing women's issues. Zaremba reflects on family relationships and how coming into her identity as a woman who loves women has been shaped by them.

Biographical note:

Stacey Zaremba (b. 1960) was born in Brooklyn, New York. She attended school there, eventually earning her PhD in Psychology from Fordham University. She later moved to Pennsylvania when she joined the faculty of Moravian College in 1989.

There, Zaremba is very involved with women's issues. She is the director of the Women's Studies department, having established when she first arrived. Zaremba's experimental psychology has focused on the psychology of gender, and she introduces those ideas into research of feminist pedagogy.

Zaremba has been involved in many organizations over her career including the YWCA in Bethlehem and multiple chapters of the American Association of University Women.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have assigned the copyright of this interview to Smith College. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Stacey Zaremba



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Stacey Zaremba
2019 March 13

Box 2
2019-S-0016. Zeamer, KathleenLowery, Ruby, Kathleen Zeamer interviewed by Ruby Lowery
2019 March 31
1 oral histories(Transcript and video)

Scope and content:

In this interview, Zeamer describes her experience growing up in a working-class family in Columbia, PA. She describes her passion for tennis growing up and how through sports she was able to find community - both in high school and college. Zeamer discusses her participation in the lesbian-feminist movement while living in Southeastern Virginia: revolving around music festivals, workshops, readings, and Take Back the Night marches. She also dicusses her traveling book business, New Country Books. She reflects on the differences in her communities living in the South versus Western Massachussetts, and how that affected the ways women organized and created networks. Through this oral history. Zeamer examines the unique experiences that come with aging and being lesbian, while considering the ways lesbian spaces have disappeared or changed over time.

Biographical note:

Kathleen Zeamer (b. 1955) was born and raised in Columbia, PA to a working-class family. She attended East Stroundsburg State College and received her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies in 1976. After graduating, she moved to Maryland where she began her career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that spanned for over thirty years at several stations.

While living in Southeastern Virginia between 1980 to 1992, Zeamer was actively involved in the lesbian-feminist movement. During this time, she opened a traveling lesbian book business called New Country Books. She also participated extensively in the production of women's music festivals, workshops, readings, and Take Back the Night Marches.

Zeamer and her partner Sue Moorman live in Hatfield, MA. She has been a full-time realtor since retiring from federal service in 2008.

Restrictions on access:

This interview is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception: the narrator has requested that this interview not be made available online.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that they own copyright, the narrator and interviewer have licensed this interview to be freely used, so long as the user attributes original authorship to them. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with use.

2019-S-0016. Video interview of Kathleen Zeamer



2019-S-0016. Transcript of interview of Kathleen Zeamer
2019 March 31

Box 2

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Ackelsberg, Martha
  • Ahl, Brenda
  • Artists
  • Barale, Michele
  • Barale, Michelle
  • Beyer, Dana
  • Bisexuality-United States-History--20th century
  • Boggis, Terry
  • Brook, Lis
  • Browne, Karen
  • Caurant, Beth
  • Chapman, Mare
  • Choi, Gina-Kamas
  • Coleman, Penny
  • Collier, Chris
  • Cooke, Carla
  • Cote, Carol
  • Davenport, Kate
  • DiNardo, Geri
  • Dobkin, Alix
  • Dorthee
  • Earley, Deborah
  • Educators
  • Elkin, Marty
  • Elliston, Lelia
  • Entwisle, BJ
  • Essery, Wendy
  • Evans, Judith
  • Everhart, Jan
  • Fagan, Sharon
  • Faison, Deborah
  • Faucher, Dawn
  • Ferguson, Ann
  • Fisher, Alexandra
  • Flachs, Julie
  • Foss, Elizabeth Anne
  • Fusco, Lisa
  • Gabriner, Vicki
  • Gensler, Sharon
  • Gillespie, Peggy
  • Gold, Joyce
  • Gottlieb, Paula
  • Grassroots organizers
  • Greene, Emily
  • Hackler, Ann
  • Hairston, Andrea
  • Harris, Janet
  • Harris, Lori
  • Heller, Deborah
  • Herbert, Barbara
  • Higgins, Clare
  • Holland, Patricia G.
  • Hopkins, Lee Ann
  • Howland, Pam
  • Innes, E. Carolyn
  • Irvine, Janice
  • Jenkins, Connie
  • Jerome, Judith
  • Kaufman, Miriam
  • Kavanaugh, Karla
  • LW
  • Laird, Joan
  • Lanzillotto, Annie
  • Lathrop, Janet
  • Lesbian activists
  • Lesbian artists -- United States -- Biography -- Sources
  • Lesbian feminism--United States--History--Sources
  • Lesbian mothers -- United States
  • Lesbianism -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
  • Lesbians -- United States -- Biography -- Sources
  • Litchford, Marge
  • Lukens, Rebecca
  • MacKenzie, Amy
  • Madsen, Catherine
  • Margolies, Liz
  • McClintock, Mary
  • McHaelen, Robin
  • McKenzie, Leslie
  • Millington, June
  • Moore, Anne
  • Morningstar, Betty
  • Musicians
  • Myles, Eileen
  • Nelson, Kristi
  • O'Donovan, Alice
  • O'Rourke, Jane
  • Oglesby, Carole
  • Oglesby, Carole A.
  • Orrell, L. (pseud.)
  • Ouellette, Savanna
  • Paglia, Camille
  • Pato, Roberta
  • Penotte, Cody
  • Perez, David
  • Perez, Davis
  • Pittman, Catherine
  • Pittnam, Catherine
  • Plaskow, Judith
  • Political activist
  • Powell, Mary Clare
  • Power, Bet
  • Professors
  • Quinones, Carmen
  • Radicals
  • Rees, Kelly
  • Richardson, Holly
  • Robinson, Beth
  • Rorabacher, Wisty
  • Rosel, Deliah
  • Ruffino, Renee
  • Schiano, Rita
  • Schneider, Lesley
  • Shapiro, Jodie
  • Shaw, Peggy
  • Shaw, Rebecca
  • Shumsky, Ellen
  • Sohodsky, Constance (Barrett)
  • Sorrell, J.M.
  • Spitzer, Rabbi Toba
  • Spitzer, Rabbi Tobah
  • Spring-Moore, Michele
  • Stangl, Jane
  • Stewart, Pamela
  • Stinson, Susan
  • Sullivan, Laura
  • Toole, Jay
  • Walters, Jennifer
  • Winters, Marianne
  • Wolfe, Kate
  • Writers
  • Yanoshak, Nancy
  • Young, Nanci
  • Zimmerman, Perri Nerri

Genre terms
  • Computer media
  • DVD video discs
  • Electronic records
  • Oral histories
  • Transcripts
  • Videotapes


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