Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Liza Cowan Audio Recordings, circa 1970s


Liza Cowan Audio Recordings, circa 1970s


Lesbian Separatism


The 1970’s saw the rise of Feminist Separatism, a movement which advocated for women to center other women in all aspects of their lives, and sometimes, live separately from men as a way to liberate themselves from the patriarchy. The movement gained popularity with lesbian feminists as it aligned with their beliefs that women should focus their efforts and beliefs towards their fellow women instead of men. They often advocated that the logical result of feminism was lesbianism. This is why the movement is also known as Lesbian Separatism.

Liza Cowan is a prominent member of the Lesbian Separatism movement. Over the years, she has amassed a collection of various radio shows that talk about the Feminist Separatism movement, from both a lesbian and heterosexual perspective. This collection features key activists such as Rita Mae Brown, Mary Daly, Margaret Sloan-Hunter and many more.


Liza Cowan




Rita Mae Brown
Mary Daly
Ti-Grace Atkinson
Margaret Sloan-Hunter
Anne Imelda Radice
Judith Katz
Betsy Toth
Alice Walker
Maxine Kumin
Grace Paley
Marcia Danub
Linda Daniels
Eleanor Cooper
Jean O'Leary
Casse Culver
Lee Brown
Colivia Carter
John Cox
Laura Gray
Lee Schwing
Colita Reed
Carol Brill
Sally Gearheart
Karen Kollias
Beverly Fisher
Dolores Bargowski


Recordings in this collection are not to be used for publication without the express written consent of Liza Cowan. Contact the Lesbian Herstory Archive for Liza Cowan’s contact information.


27 .wav files


27 1/4 Inch Audio Tapes






United States


Donated from Liza Cowan to the Lesbian Herstory Archives on June 21, 1997.

Collection Items

  • WomenWritersProdMother.wav

    The radio episode, which is part of the Feminist Radio Network, includes recordings from a conference panel which included the writers Maxine Kumin, Alice Walker, and Grace Paley. They discuss the challenges of being women writers, how their writing processes are affected by societal gender norms, and how important women’s stories are within the individualistic, middle-class American society where female bonding is not encouraged. This episode also includes excerpts from Living, by Grace Paley, and Everyday Use, by Alice Walker.
  • LC006.jpeg

    Discussion of domestic relations, and how a woman agrees to certain terms when she gets married. Women do not know what they are agreeing to. They know what it is, but they do not want the details. There is a discussion of how women are programmed to inherently undermine their own thoughts, and to label them as “feelings” as opposed to facts. Further discussion on how gender issues are defined.
  • SenecaFalls.wav

    The Seneca Falls radiodrama is a brief overview of what led to the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, 1848. The convention, now called the Seneca Falls Convention, was held in order to converse about the liberties that women do and do not have, be they civil, social, political, or religious. The recording introduces listeners to Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, two prominent members of the women’s rights movement at the time. A reading of the Declaration of Sentiments, which outlines the civil, social, political, and religious rights of women, as well as various quotes, are included in this recording.
  • LC011.jpeg

    This untitled interview features a guest who discusses her time in prison, the songs she wrote about another incarcerated woman, songs she wrote for political prisoners including Lolita Lebron and Susan Saxe, and conditions of the women’s prison which she was subjected to. She talks about how the state justified the horrible conditions at the prison, and the lack of access to any kind of rehabilitation programs, despite rehabilitation being the supposed purpose of prison.
  • LC039.jpeg

    Thoughts on athletics as they exist in America, and the pressure to develop oneself physically. In this radio show there is a reclamation of the “physical you.” There is also a discussion of how sports have become controlled by big business interests, they are now a plaything of the rich. This dehumanizes athletes, causing them to strive for only what can make them rich. Women's sports don't get much spectatorship and consequently don't get promotion or funding. The guests discuss how sports have also become a masculinity rite, and how winning is associated with proving one’s virility. On the other end, women athletes are pressured to prove their femininity in a masculine field. The emphasis on winning destroys athletes' bodies and spirits. Coaching forces athletes to be disciplined and to accept commands unquestioningly. The upward social mobility of sports is an illusion, and can only benefit a small portion of women and POC. The athletic system in this country is elitist, and little encouragement is given to amateurs and women. Black and women athletes have been challenging institutional sports in America.
  • LC005.JPG

    Women perform poems and songs, including “Ode to a Gym Teacher” by Meg Parker.
  • TiGraceAtkinson3.wav

    In part 3 of the recording of Ti-Grace Atkinson, she continues her discussion on the elements of logic. In Part 3, she further discusses different social movements and their analysis of their own oppression.
  • LC010.JPG

    In Part 2 of the recording of Ti-Grace Atkinson, she further discusses elements of logic. She connects these elements of logic to oppression and the Women’s Movement. She starts to connect the abstract elements of logic to social issues and includes a discussion of the class system based on the writings of Karl Marx.
  • IMG_3586.jpg

    In this interview, Marcia Danab, the host, talks to two members of Olivia Records: Ginny Berson, and Meg Christian. Berson and Christian talk about how they created their record label, as well as the challenges that they faced as a company made by women for women. They both talk about the struggles that they have faced in the music industry as women in regard to gaining ownership, being paid, being taken seriously as artists, and making music that is specific to the female experience and understanding. Olivia Records was founded in 1973 and played an important role within the gay rights and counterculture movements of the time. Notable artists they represented were Tret Fure, Kay Gardner, Leslie Ann Jones, BeBe K'Roche, Pat Parker, and Cris Williamson. Due to declining sales, Olivia Records became Olivia Cruises and Resorts, a lesbian vacation company, in 1990.
  • Halloween_10.74.wav

    In this program there is a discussion on the earliest myths on the creation of the universe, and goddess creation myths. There is a discussion of ancient matriarchal culture, and its survival as wicca/witchcraft. It pays homage to women who were hanged under accusations of witchcraft. The goddess is synonymous with gynocracy, and women participate in the divine.
  • LC053.jpeg

    This production from Radio Free Women is an interview with Judith Katz, playwright, and Betsy Toth, director, of the Franny Chicago Play. The play revolves around the suicide of Franny Chicago, a lesbian who lives with her partner and a roommate, who is also a lesbian. Katz and Toth speak about the struggle of accurately portraying lesbian life while not turning it into a spectacle. In addition, they talk about the importance of feminist representation in theater.
  • LC031_details(H).jpg

    Sloan is the President of the National Black Feminist Organization. She discussed NBFO’s mission to provide an organization for black feminists who felt the need to fight both sexism and racism at the same time. She discussed the formation of the organization and the eastern conference on black feminism.
  • LC007.jpeg

    Lee Brown is a black woman and an ex-offender, but says “none of the three overlap with eachother”. Brown's conversation with Colivia Carter is an dicourse touching on themes of intersectionality before the framework had its name. Brown reads poetry she calls “streetology” about her experiences with prostitution, incarceration, and black families.
  • LC038.jpeg

    A New You: The Laura Grey Way, hosted by John Cox and Laura Grey, is a weekly radio show that talks about beauty, skincare, and health. In this two-part recoding, the hosts are interviewing Betty Morales, the president of the Cancer Control Society. These episodes specifically focus on the idea of cancer as a nutritional deficiency condition, with Morales promoting the use of Laetrile, also know amygdalin, as a way to 'control' cancer in patients. However, the FDA has never given approval for laetrile to be used in the United States.
  • LC027.jpeg

    Columnist for the village voice, feminist, Jill Johnson discusses the role of the feminist lesbian within the larger movement of women’s liberation. Johnson discusses the variations in the NYC lesbian experience, and the relationship they have with straight women, and the overarching culture at large. She discusses the contributions that a lesbian feminist can make to empower other women.
  • LC036.jpeg

    The Furies was a group of twelve lesbian separatists in Washington, D.C. who saw heterosexual women as an obstacle in their feminism. Heterosexuality was as cyclical, and women in heterosexual relationships reinforced their oppression by absorbing the name and values of their male partners and moving them forward. The Furies published a newspaper, The Furies, that ran from 1972-1973.
  • LC044.jpeg

    In this episode of Radio Free Women, three members of the National Organization for Women (NOW), discuss the state of abortion after the passage of Roe v. Wade. Mary Bailey (coordinator of the NOW Abortion Coalition), Mary Helen Bloom (member of the national area chapter of NOW), and Mary Garrison (President of the Montgomery NOW chapter) discuss threats to the landmark ruling. They also discuss how women are excluded for the conversation around abortion, as well as where states have the right to regulate and balance issues of state interests with consideration of women's health.
  • ClassWomensMovement.wav

    This episode is a Production of Radio Free Women in Washington DC, affiliated with the Feminist Radio Network. The hosts cover issues of class wtihin the Women’s Movement, often from personal experience as lower or working class women. It includes discussions on the differences between the working class, poor working class, and lower class, the overlap between race and class, and the lack of culture within middle class spaces. Furthermore, they cover some common experiences of working and lower class women within the Women’s Movement, from discriminatory treatment from the middle class women in the movement and the lack of solidarity and support from middle class women to those with material needs.
  • LC048.jpeg

    This recording consists of a collection of songs associated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an international union founded in 1905 in Chicago, IL. IWW members, commonly referred to as Wobblies, were prominent participants in the radical labor movement in the early 20th Century in the US. They also had ties to the socialist and anarchist movements of the time. While this recording does not include any information on the singers, writers, or dates recorded, most of these songs are written by Joe Hill and likely are sung by Joe Glazer and Bill Friedland. Joe Hill was a famous labor activist and folk singer in the early 1900s, and Joe Glazer and Bill Friedland kept Joe Hill’s music alive throughout the 20th century. Songs 1-13 are likely sung by Joe Glazer and Bill Friedland, song 14 by Holly Near, and song 15 by Charlie Poole. Songs 1-13 were likely recording in the 1950s.
  • LC041.jpeg

    This recording is a compilation of songs, music, excerpts, quotes, and recordings by, about, and for women in show business. Featured in part two are songs by Judy Garland; music from various Broadway shows and movie musicals; excerpts from Bette Davis' autobiography;quotes from Dorothy Dandrige; a recording of "Mary C. Brown and the Hollywood Sign" by Dory Previn; a reading of the poem "I Have Come to Claim Marilyn Monroe's Body" by Judy Grahn; and a recording of "There's No Business Like Show Business".
  • LC041.jpeg

    This recording is a compilation of quotes, songs, poems, and performances by, about, and for women in show business. Featured in part one are quotes about working in music from Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin; music by Melanie Safka; a poem to Aretha Franklin by Nikki Giovanni; a letter to Janis Joplin; a performance of Mercedez Benz by Janis Joplin. There are unnamed performances throughout the recording.
  • LC055.jpeg

    Anne Imelda Radice, an art museum director and arts administrator, discusses the life and art of Romaine Brooks. Romaine Brooks was a lesbian portrait artist born in Rome, Italy in the late 19th century. She was known as the "thief of souls" for her ability to capture emotion in her art. The host and Radice have a conversation on how lesbianism was perceived during Brooks' time period, as well as her relationship with her lifelong partner, Natalie Barney.
  • LC040.jpeg

    This episode is titled Women in Welfare and features discussions from Carol Brill, the director of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and welfare advocates Kayla Taylor, and Susan Moore. This episode covers the topics of the welfare system structure, stereotypes and myths about welfare recipients, double standards working mothers face based on class, and the classism within the social work profession. Furthermore, it includes clips from governmental proceedings related to welfare and proposed cuts to welfare benefits. It ends with a discussion on how the issues within the welfare system relate to the Women’s Liberation Movement and demands economic change from politicians who fund big business and the military while disregarding the poor through welfare cuts.
  • LC045.jpeg

    In this recording, Sally Gearhart discusses how the Church enforces ideas of masculinity and feminity. The host argues that feminism is incompatible with Christianity and lesbianism allows a woman to love herself and let go of the self-hatred that society and the Church impose.
  • LC052.jpeg

    Four women from working-class backgrounds critique leadership and individualism in second-wave feminism. Karen Kollias, Rita Mae Brown, Dolores Bargowski, and Beverly Fisher discuss the exclusion they experience by middle-class feminists who do not hold the same values of strength and leadership, which are viewed as masculine and therefore threatening. Feelings of guilt and the role of the mother in lower-class homes are also discussed.
  • LC003.JPG

    Part 1 of the recording of Ti-Grace Atkinson, a writer and philosopher who was part of the Women’s Movement in the 1970s, discusses elements of logic and different academic theories around logical thinking. She connects these elements of logic to oppression and the Women’s Movement. Part 1 mainly covers abstract theories of logical thinking.
  • LC004.jpeg

    Marcia Danub and Linda Daniels speak with Eleanor Cooper, spokeswoman for Lesbian Feminist Liberation, and Jean O'Leary, Legislative Coordinator, Board for the (then) National Gay Taskforce. LGBTQ+ and women’s rights activists were looking to repeal laws criminalizing homosexuality. Sodomy bills in the 1970s were explicitly written to target gay people, causing fear in the LGBTQ+ in their professional and personal lives. Intro 554 was one of many forms of the NYC Gay Rights Bill, which was passed in 1986, banning discrimination because of sexual orientation. Cooper and O'Leary provide information about the way these laws affect the lives of lesbians and how to participate in the repeal of sodomy laws and support the passing of Intro 554.

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