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Boden Sandstrom Papers, 1975-2015
25 boxes (27.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: 745

Abstract:
The collection documents the history of Woman Sound (later City Sound Productions), the first all-woman sound company founded by Sandstrom and her partner, Casse Culver, in 1975. It is comprised of correspondence, financial records, legal documents, tax records, and general office files. The collection also includes research materials for Sandstrom's dissertation.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.
  • Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.
  • Portions of collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  • Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works created by Boden Sandstrom in this collection. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Boden Sandstrom was born in 1945 and began her musical career in fifth grade with the trumpet. In junior high, she switched to the French horn, the instrument she stayed with through college and graduate school. At St. Lawrence University, Sandstrom played in the University Brass Ensemble while earning her Bachelor's degree as an English major with a music minor. She then went on to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, earning her Master of Library Science degree, while also playing in the university band. By this time, the late 1960s, the Vietnam War was raging, and Sandstrom's political activism accelerated. When she moved to Boston, with her then-husband and fellow activist Rogelio Reyes, she took a job at the Northeastern University Library and served as the volunteer office manager for the Greater Boston Peace Action Coalition in 1970. It was also during this time that Sandstrom was drawn into the nascent women's liberation movement. As a co-founder of Female Liberation in Boston (1968), she was part of the creation of its journal, The Second Wave, in 1971, appearing in print as Barbara Reyes.

By 1974, the remaining members of Female Liberation voted to disband. Around the same time, Sandstrom moved to Washington, D.C. Attending her first women's concert, she met Casse Culver, a singer/songwriter and sound engineer, who was already very involved in the burgeoning women's music scene. They became life partners and, later, business partners, when they founded Woman Sound in 1975, a sound engineering company based in Washington, D.C. Eventually, Sandstrom became sole proprietor, renaming the company City Sound Productions. Over the years, she did the sound production for many of the major political events staged on the Mall, including gay and lesbian rights rallies, the March for Women's Lives in 2004, and every National Organization for Women event held in Washington from 1975 to 1993. She also worked with a variety of artists, including Cab Calloway, the Clash, Joan Jett, Mercedes Sosa, Sweet Honey and the Rock, Pete Seeger, and many others. Sandstrom was also deeply involved with the women's music scene, doing the sound for DC-area events, as well as the internationally-acclaimed Michigan Womyn's Music Festival for over a decade (1976-1987). Deep engagement with this community led to her 2002 dissertation, "Performance, Ritual and Negotiation of Identity in the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival" (doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland). That same year, Sandstrom served as co-producer on Dee Mosbacher's award-winning documentary, Radical Harmonies: Woodstock Meets Women's Liberation in a Film about a Movement that Exploded the Gender Barriers in Music. She had previously earned a Master of Science degree in audio technology (American University, 1984) and a women's studies certificate from the University of Maryland in 1996. In 2003, Sandstrom received the Philip Brett Award from the American Musicological Society in recognition of her archival work in the field of musicology.

After almost two decades at the University of Maryland, Sandstrom retired from teaching and administrative work in 2013. Her teaching career began when she started her graduate work in 1994. At the time of her retirement, she was a lecturer in ethnomusicology in the Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, where she also managed the division's world ensembles and served as Director Of Technologies for the entire University of Maryland School of Music. Sandstrom's "World Popular Musics and Identities" course was part of University of Maryland's core curriculum for more than a decade, enrolling 300 undergraduates each year. She also taught undergraduate honors and graduate courses on music and gender and music and politics. At the University of Maryland and within the professional organization, Society for Ethnomusicology, she was a relentless activist for better gender representation and the rights of the LGBTQ community. As a pioneering female sound engineer, Sandstrom pushed the boundaries, improving opportunites for the women who would follow her. According to a press release regarding her retirement, "After the very first NOW rally in 1975 that she [Sandstrom] engineered, Gloria Steinem wrote, 'Allowing women to hear each other is the basis of this revolution, and you are doing that, spiritually as well as technically'" (found in Acc.#15S-28, box 1).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection documents the history of Woman Sound (later City Sound Productions), the first all-woman sound company founded by Sandstrom and her partner, Casse Culver, in 1975. It is comprised of correspondence, financial records, legal documents, tax records, and general office files. The collection also includes research materials for Sandstrom's dissertation.

NOTE: The container list for this collection is available in the Sophia Smith Collection. Please contact us to request a copy.


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

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.
  • Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.
  • Portions of collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  • Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works created by Boden Sandstrom in this collection. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

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

Boden Sandstrom Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Boden Sandstrom beginning in 2015.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.


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
Separated Material

Records related to Sandstrom's career at the University of Maryland are housed at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at the University of Maryland.



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
  • City Sound Productions
  • Culver, Casse
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Lesbian activists -- United States -- Biography -- Sources
  • Lesbian artists -- United States -- Biography -- Sources
  • Lesbian musicians -- History -- United States
  • Lesbians -- Education (Higher) -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
  • Michigan Womyn's Music Festival
  • Mosbacher, Dee
  • Radical harmonies
  • Sound engineers -- Women
  • Woman Sound
  • Women's music
  • Women's music -- Performances
  • Women's music -- History -- Sources


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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