Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

About the LHA Herstories

The Lesbian Herstory Archives is dedicated to collecting and preserving history pertaining to the lesbian community. This website contains select digitized materials from the LHA collection and was developed by graduate students at Pratt Institute School of Information.

Located in Brooklyn, New York, the Lesbian Herstory Archives is not only one of the oldest archives dedicated to the history of lesbians but one of the largest, housing more than 10,000 volumes, 1,400 periodicals, 12,000 photographs, 500 pulp novels, and many collections of original manuscripts and personal archival material.

For more information please visit the LHA official website.

Voices of LHA 

Voices of LHA is an oral history recording that documents the history and legacy of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. In this recording, members of LHA recite the Lesbian Herstory Archives Statement of Purpose from 1974. This is followed by the reading of quotes (with multiple, unidentified readers) from appreciative visitors of LHA. 

Voices of LHA

Further Information: 

When was the LHA Audio/Visual Collections started?
In 2010, the Lesbian Herstory Archives began to digitize audio visual materials from the LHA collection by working with Professor Anthony Cocciolo and students at the Pratt Institute School of Information. This is an ongoing project and newly digitized content is shared after it has been processed.

What kind of materials have been digitized for this collection?

Digitized materials include VHS tapes, U-Matic tapes, ¼ inch open-reel tape, and compact audio cassettes.

How large is this collection?

The LHA holds over 3,000 oral history cassettes in the Archives' Spoken Word Collection and 950 videotapes in its collection. As of May 2021, over 385 hours or about 16 days worth of content has been digitized and made available to the public on the LHA Audio/Visual Collections website.

How often is new content added?

Newly processed files are posted as part of a class project. In general there are 1 to 2 updates per year consisting of approximately 20-30 newly digitized items.

When was the content originally recorded, and what is the oldest and newest content that has been processed so far?

The oldest item that has been digitized as part of this collection was originally recorded in 1971. The vast majority of publicly accessible content in this collection is from the 1970s to the 1980’s. One of the most recent additions to the collection is an audio recording of an interview of Martha Shelley conducted by Pratt students in November 2020. 

Has the audio content been edited in any way from its original form?

The audio recordings available to the public are .mp3 copies of the .wav preservation files. The audio content is unedited from its as-is form on the original recorded medium.

Were there any obstacles you had to overcome while digitizing this collection?

For digitizing ¼ inch open reel tape, the leaders on many of the tapes are made of fragile paper material, which would sometimes break off during playback. As a result, we often had to stop and repair the adhesive tape that connects the magnetic tapes to the leaders. 

For U-Matic tapes, securing reliable playback equipment can be a challenge since the format is endangered.

I have A/V content that the LHA may be interested in, how can I donate it?

For more information on how to donate materials please visit the LHA’s donate page, linked here

If you have any questions for us or feedback on our project, we welcome your comments. Please contact us at herstories@prattinfoschool.nyc.