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Old Lesbians Organizing for Change records, 1987-2018
23 boxes (26.5 linear feet) 13 Gigabytes
Collection number: SSC.MS.00671

Abstract:
Old Lesbians Organizing for Change is a national (United States) organization of lesbian activists age 60 and over. The collection includes extensive documentation of all OLOC gatherings since 1987, including photographs of activites, and videotapes of panel discussions and keynote speeches. Administrative files, newsletters and other publications, and educational and public relations materials are also included, as is a history of the organization.

Terms of Access and Use:

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, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC) has assigned the copyright in their 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 OLOC, 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.

Sophia Smith Collection

Biographical / Historical

In 2018, more than 30 years after its founding, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC), a national (U.S.) organization for lesbians 60 and over defines its mission as "addressing what it means to be Old and to be Lesbian; finding ways to gather groups of Old Lesbians together for ongoing support; working against all oppressions that affect Old Lesbians; [and] standing in solidarity with allies for racial, economic and social justice."

The book Look Me in the Eye: Old Women, Aging and Ageism by Barbara Macdonald and Cynthia Rich (1983), which exposed harsh realities of ageism on old women, was the inspiration for the founding of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change. In April 1987, the First West Coast Conference by and for old lesbians in Southern California was held at the California State University Dominguez Campus in Carson, California. It was so successful that in August 1989, old lesbians in Northern California sponsored The Second West Coast Conference. Out of the larger group of old lesbians attending these two events came a smaller group of sixteen that wished to concentrate their efforts on challenging ageism. This group founded The Old Lesbian Organizing Committee, which was later renamed Old Lesbians Organizing for Change.

Participation was strictly limited to lesbians sixty years of age and older, although OLOC has always welcomed the support of younger lesbians, encouraging them to work against ageism while respecting the need for separate space for Old Lesbians. To minimize travel expenses for committee members, most meetings during the first two years were held in California. A concerted effort was then made to expand the geographic representation by moving the meetings around the country.

OLOC quickly established a newsletter to reach Old Lesbians around the country and began enrolling subscribers. Committee members focused early efforts on development of educational materials on ageism, using the familiar and effective format of consciousness raising sessions. These materials were pooled and published in The Facilitator's Handbook: Confronting Ageism: Consciousness Raising for Lesbians 60 and Over (early 1990s).

Much of OLOC's early work was done within both the women's and LGBT communities, since ageism was as entrenched in those communities as it was in society at large. Often at its own expense, OLOC provided speakers and presentations to dozens of workshops and conferences, challenging the status quo and demanding to be a part of the process. OLOC felt strongly that younger people couldn't effectively speak for Old Lesbians and insisted that Old Lesbians be allowed to represent themselves. OLOC was a strong and highly visible part of the National Lesbian Conference in Atlanta in 1991 as well as the March on Washington in 1993. By 1992, OLOC sought and gained non-profit status, incorporating in the state of Texas, and in 1994 also achieved tax-exempt status.

In 1996, OLOC held its first National Gathering, bringing together Old Lesbians from coast to coast, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Hundreds of Old Lesbians gathered in San Francisco, California in 1999. In 2002, OLOC held its third Gathering, again in Minnesota. Old Lesbians at the Gatherings expressed a strong desire for more frequent opportunities to get together, so the schedule was switched from once every three years to every other year. Since 2002, the group has met every two years on even-numbered years.

In addition to publishing a quarterly newsletter, The OLOC Reporter, and holding biennial Gatherings, OLOC confronts ageism wherever it is found. OLOC has also been associated with the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project, which gathers the unique stories of lesbians who are seventy years of age and older. OLOC operates both as a national organization and through local chapters that have formed across the country.

[source: OLOC Website]

Scope and Contents

The Old Lesbians Organizing for Change records contain extensive documentation of all OLOC gatherings since 1987, including photographs of events and videotapes of panel discussions and keynote speeches. Administrative files, newsletters and other publications, and educational and public relations materials are also included, as is a history of the organization.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
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, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC) has assigned the copyright in their 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 OLOC, 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.

Preferred Citation

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

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change started donating its records to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2011 and has made regular transfers of additional records since then. As of 2018, the collection includes seven distinct accessions (11S-05, 11S-50, 12S-73, 15S-55, 15S-99, 16S-09, and 2018-S-0008).

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

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


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
Other Finding Aids

This collection has been received in seven separate accessions between 2011 and 2018. Currently, only the most recent of these accessions has an online contents list in the form of this finding aid. The other accessions have container lists that are available upon request by contacting specialcollections@smith.edu


Contents List
2018-S-0008. Old Lesbians Organizing for Change conference and meeting minutes
2007-2018
.5 linear feet(1 document box)13 Gigabytes
Box 1
Scope and content:

This series consists of OLOC records transferred by Susan Wiseheart, OLOC administrator, in 2018. It includes organizational records, mostly steering committee and board of directors meeting minutes from 2016-2017. Digital content included in this accession is described by Wiseheart as "all the files I have since beginning to work for OLOC as a contract worker in 2007."

Processing information:

The digital files received on a flash drive have been copied to networked storage by Special Collections staff for preservation and access.

Search Terms
Electronic records

2007-2018
1 items(1 flash drive)13 Gigabytes(1 flash drive transferred to networked storage)
Box 1
Scope and content:

Susan Wiseheart's files dating from when she began as a contract worker for OLOC in 2007 until 2018. The contents includes Steering Committee and Board of Directors records (minutes, reports, handouts, resolutions); OLOC chapter records; articles and images for for various forms of media (OLOC Reporter, E-News, website); speeches, presentations, photos and planning documents related to OLOC gatherings and other events (see complete file list for more detail).

Physical characteristics:

The digital files received on a flash drive have been copied to networked storage by Special Collections staff for preservation and access."

Reports and handouts
2016-2017

Box 1
Meeting minutes, National Steering Committee and Board of Directors
March 2016

Box 1
Steering Committee minutes
October 2016

Box 1
Steering Committee phone conference notes
2016

Box 1
Steering Committee and Board of Directors meeting minutes
April 2017

Box 1
Steering Committee meeting minutes
August 2017

Box 1
Steering Committee and Board of Directors meeting minutes
September-October 2017

Box 1
Steering Committee, phone conference notes
2017

Box 1

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
  • Ageism -- United States
  • Lesbian communities--United States--History--Sources
  • Lesbians -- United States -- History
  • Lesbians activists -- United States -- Sources
  • Old Lesbians Organizing for Change
  • Older lesbians -- United States
  • Older people -- United States
  • Older women -- United States -- Sources
  • Wiseheart, Susan
  • Wiseheart, Susan
  • Wiseheart, Susan

Genre terms
  • Audiotapes
  • Computer media
  • DVD video discs
  • Electronic mail
  • Electronic records
  • Financial records
  • Fund raising
  • Grant proposals
  • Manuals
  • Newsletters
  • Notes
  • Publications
  • Videotapes
  • correspondence
  • memorabilia
  • photographs


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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