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Dee Mosbacher papers and Woman Vision records, 1972-2015 (Bulk: 1980-2011)
63.52 linear feet 104 boxes
Collection number: SSC.MS.00740

Diane (Dee) Mosbacher is an activist, filmmaker, and practicing psychiatrist. Her production company Woman Vision has produced films with themes touching on homophobia in various contexts, women's history, and the lived experiences of gay and lesbian people. This collection documents Mosbacher's personal life and professional life both through and outisde of Woman Vision. It includes writings by and about Mosbacher, paper records from Woman Vision's pojects, and a large amount of audiovisual materials from those productions.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

Original AV and born-digital materials may not be used; research use copies must be made.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Dee Mosbacher and Woman Vision have assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators.

Sophia Smith Collection

Biographical Note

Diane (Dee) Mosbacher, MD, PhD, was born in Houston, Texas on January 13, 1949 to Jane Pennybacker (1926-1970) and businessman Robert Adam Mosbacher, Sr. (1927-2010). She has three siblings, Robert Mosbacher, Jr. (1951-), Kathryn Mosbacher (1953), and Lisa Mosbacher Mears (1956-).

Dee Mosbacher's wife is Nanette Gartrell, M.D., formerly a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Francisco, and, since 2009, a Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. Gartrell is the principal investigator of the U. S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), the largest, longest-running prospective investigation of lesbian mothers and their children in the United States. The two have been together since 1975 and married in 2004 (annulled by the State of California) and 2005. Dr. Dee Mosbacher and Dr. Nanette Gartrell live and work in San Francisco.

Dee Mosbacher received her primary and secondary education at Kinkaid School from which she graduated in 1967. She graduated from Pitzer College with a B.A. in psychology in 1972. She received a doctorate in social psychology from Union Graduate School in 1979 and a medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1983. She was a medical intern at Cambridge Hospital through Harvard Medical School from 1983-1984 and was a psychiatry resident in the same hospital from 1984-1987.

Dee Mosbacher became a women's health activist in college and began directing documentary films as a student at Baylor College and as a resident at Harvard Medical School. Her films focused on discrimination against lesbian and gay physicians and patients, and she wrote many articles about gay and lesbian patients for the academic and medical community.

Dee Mosbacher's father, Robert A. Mosbacher, Sr., was a Texas oil and gas producer, who served as a chief fundraiser for five Republican presidential campaigns. Robert, Sr. served as Commerce Secretary under President George H. W. Bush but left his post in 1992 to raise funds for Bush's reelection campaign. The Republican Party intensified their anti-gay, anti-abortion rhetoric during this time period, which was a point of contention for Robert, Sr. and his daughter Dee, who spoke out against the Republican Party's use of homophobia as a fundraising tool in the 1992 election.

In 1992, Dee Mosbacher founded the non-profit production company Woman Vision to counteract the media campaign on LGBT issues conducted by the Republican Party, which was the focus of the 1992 Republican National Convention. As a psychiatrist, Mosbacher understood the psychological and psychosocial suffering caused by homophobia and created Woman Vision to promote equal treatment of all people through the production and use of educational media. Woman Vision promotes positive role models and supportive images of societally marginalized people. It uses diversity trainings, lectures, and other educational outreach programs to encourage people to abandon their homophobia and to improve the lives of LGBT individuals. Dr. Mosbacher has directed and produced nine documentaries, which have received a total of forty-six awards nationally and internationally, including a 1994 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Film for Straight From the Heart. This film was screened at a bipartisan event for Congress in 1995.

Dee Mosbacher has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the 1992 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Award for "courage and honesty in challenging the Republican Party's tactics;" the 1993 NOW Women of Power Award; the 1997 Lambda Liberty Award; the 2002 Pitzer College award "for unwavering support of our goal of educating students to social responsibility and for being a model in her own life of that goal;" the 2009 Barbara Gittings Award; the 2014 John E. Fryer Award from the American Psychiatric Association for "contributing to the mental health of sexual minorities;" and, as a co-recipient with Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the 2014 Legal Aid Society Mathew O. Tobriner Public Service Award.

In 1991, Dee Mosbacher was the first Pitzer College graduate to deliver a commencement address at her alma mater. In 2010, she established the Mosbacher/Gartrell Center for Media Experimentation and Activism at Pitzer College.

Scope and Contents

The Dee Mosbacher papers and Woman Vision records document Dee Mosbacher's personal and professional life, both within and beyond her film production company, Woman Vision.

The first series of Mosbacher's personal and professional papers includes a small amount of material from her days as a graduate and medical student, and a small amount of digitized photographs and other personal historical materials, but mostly documents her life and work in the 1980s and 1990s. It includes articles about her, as well as materials she authored, speeches she gave, and two films she produced that were directed by Joan E. Biren (JEB).

The bulk of the collection is in the second series, which documents the work of the non-profit film production company Dee Mosbacher founded in 1992, Woman Vision. This series includes paper files about the funding, production, publicity, and response to the films, as well as a significant amount of audiovisual materials such as raw footage of interviews and other materials used in the films, early edits of the films, and final cuts.

The films that Woman Vision has produced cover a range of topics, but notable themes include issues around homophobia in various social, racial, and religious contexts; homophobia in medicine and sports; women's history; and the lived experiences of gay and lesbian people, particularly those of color.

The collection is organized in two series based on type of content. Series 1. Dee Mosbacher personal and professional papers includes personal materials and professional materials produced outside of Woman Vision, while Series 2. Woman Vision documents the company's productions.

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

Original AV and born-digital materials may not be used; research use copies must be made.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owns copyright, Dee Mosbacher and Woman Vision have assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators.

Preferred Citation

Dee Mosbacher and Woman Vision papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

The collection was donated by Dee Mosbacher in two transfers, one in 2014 and one in 2015.


Additional donations of materials are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Amanda Ferrara, 2017.

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

Materials are in English.

Contents List
Series 1. Dee Mosbacher personal and professional papers
2.24 Linear Feet(6 boxes)

The Dee Mosbacher personal and professional papers series contains biographical information about Dee Mosbacher, as well as documentation of her personal life and professional work outside of Woman Vision.

The earliest materials in this series date from her time as a graduate student in the 1970s, and include an "Original Lammas" T-shirt, a play written under the name "Li Garland," 1977 letters of recommendation following a 1-month clerkship through Harvard Medical School, and a copy of her doctoral dissertation.

Later materials in the series documenting Dee Mosbacher's career include a 2014 copy of her curriculum vitae and copies of her speeches, presentations, and writings, including a recording of her 1991 commencement speech at Pitzer. The series contains two folders of documents related to the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study.

Of particular note in this series are copies of audiovisual presentations aimed at medical students that were directed by Joan E. Biren (JEB) and produced by Dee Mosbacher prior to the founding of Woman Vision: Closets are Health Hazards: Gay and Lesbian Physicians Come Out (1985) and Lesbian Physicians on Practice, Patients and Power (1991).

The series also includes numerous writings about Dee Mosbacher, information about awards she received, the text of a "Toast to Dee" at her sixtieth birthday written by her wife Nanette Gartrell, as well as a small number of photographic prints from the early 2000s and digital copies of personal photographs and files from throughout her life.

Series 2. Woman Vision records
61.28 Linear Feet(97 boxes)

Scope and content:

The Woman Vision series contains manuscript and audiovisual material related to Mosbacher's production company, Woman Vision. This series includes records related to the following Woman Vision productions:

  • Straight from the Heart (1994) an Academy Award-nominated film about parents of lesbian and gay children
  • Out for a Change: Addressing Homophobia in Women's Sports (1994)
  • All God's Children (1996), which presents an analysis of sexual orientation within a context of traditional African American values
  • De Colores (2001), a bilingual documentary about Latino families unlearning homophobia
  • Radical Harmonies (2002), about the women's music movement
  • No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon (2003)
  • Training Rules (2008) about women's collegiate athletics
  • The Last Challenge (2012-2014), a web campaign against homophobia in men's sports
Although the specific records vary by project, generally they include information both about the film's creation, as well as its publicity, reception and awards. The series often includes production files, funding information, research files, correspondence, interview transcripts, photographs, and raw footage, working edits, and final prints of the films.


The materials in the Woman Vision records series are organized in chronological order by project release date.

Search Terms
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