Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Ruth Scovill Lesbian Music Interviews, 1970-1974


Ruth Scovill Lesbian Music Interviews, 1970-1974


Interviews with lesbian musicians


In the professional sphere, Ruth Scovill has worn many hats, including Senior Advisor of Library Services at the Library of Congress, President at Cinesite, and Head of Technology at DreamWorks Animation. In the creative sphere, she has also worn many hats, including director, host, and author. She holds a particular interest in and focus on feminine and sapphic culture, particularly its positioning in and relation to music culture. She is a notable figure of the Women’s Music movement and contributed a chapter of the same name to the book “Women’s Culture: The Women's Renaissance of the Seventies” by Gayle Kimball. The Women’s Music movement sought to highlight music about women, by women, and for women, challenging popular notions about and conventional approaches to music. In her piece for “Women’s Culture: The Women's Renaissance of the Seventies”, she reflects, “Women’s Music reflects a consciousness of women-identification. In contrast to popular music’s prevalent degradation of women, Women’s Music holds the feminist and humanist ideals of self-affirmation and mutual support” (17).

Sources: “Women’s Culture: The Women's Renaissance of the Seventies” by Gayle Kimball & Ruth Scovill LinkedIn page, https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruthscovill


Ruth Scovill




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WAV files converted from 1/4" open reel audio


12 tapes comprising 8:58:02 of audio


WAV files converted from 1/4" open reel audio





Collection Items

  • RuthScovillMargieAdam1.jpeg

    Margie Adam is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Recorded April 1, 1976. Margie speaks about growing up with music in the home, and the role of music in civil disobedience. She mentions being deeply affected by tragedies of the day, including the Kent State Massacre, and how it informed her relationship with music, and later moving to California. Part 1 of 4.
  • RuthScovillMargieAdam2.jpeg

    Margie Adam is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Margie talks about the Women’s Movement, and the National Womens’ Music Festival in Champaign-Urbana. She discusses definitions for women’s music, feminist music, and her song writing. Part 2 of 4.
  • RuthScovillMargieAdam3.jpeg

    Margie Adam is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Margie continues the interview, discussing her song-writing style, and musician performance technique. She is passionate about music for social change, and talks about difficulties making a living as a performer, specifically focusing on the financial responsibilities as a musician with women audiences. Part 3 of 4.
  • RuthScovillMargieAdam4.jpeg

    Margie Adam is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Margie talks about the value of women musicians as speaking out for women’s communities. She discusses the roles of feminism and autonomy in women’s music. Margie talks about what it is like to be a traveling musician, and bands on tour, acknowledging that most women musicians at the time are soloist, white, middle-class women. She talks about trying to be accessible to audiences through music. Part 4 of 4.
  • MargieAdamInterviewRedubbed.jpeg

    Margie Adam is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Margie performs music, woven between interviews, in this redubbed interview. She discusses women’s music as not being mainstream music, as well as the politics of women’s music, and need for women’s production companies. She mentions the importance of networking with women-owned companies and businesses. Redubbed.
  • Ruth Scovill_Susan Abod.jpeg

    Susan Abod is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. The tape starts in the middle of a conversation. Susan talks about women’s rock music as the antithesis to “cockrock,” or rock music for and by men. She discusses her journey of auditioning and joining bands, and being influences by socialism, feminism, and how she joined a political band of women. (Some audio distortion). She talks about rewriting song lyrics, the concepts of straight-baiting, utopian politics, and differences between women’s music and feminist lyrics in music. Around 49:30 the narrator changes, and the topic changes to the Woman’s Coffee Coven, which later became a production company. This may be the predecessor of Olivia Records.
  • RuthScovillSallyPiano1.jpeg

    Sally Piano is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Sally discusses her early life, including her ethnicity, and racial identity. She mentions how learning the piano and music led her to the women’s movement, and feminist music. Part 1 of 3.
  • RuthScovillSallyPiano2.jpeg

    Sally Piano is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Sally talks about her relationship with her audience as a performer. She addresses difficulties with men in the women’s music scene, as well as appropriation and criticism. Part 2 of 3.
  • RuthScovillSallyPiano3.jpeg

    Sally Piano is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Sally talks about her distrust of the government, including phone-tapping, spying, and the CIA. She addresses mainstream musicians of ripping off minority culture, including lesbians by men in power. She shares views on women’s music as alienating male audiences, intended to create space for women-only, as well as differences between straight and gay audiences. She discusses issues of maintaining an ethnic name as a performer, and how she came about using a stage name. Sally touches on themes of separatism in the women’s and lesbian movements. Part 3 of 3.
  • HollyNearInterview1.jpeg

    Holly Near is interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Holly talks about her early life, and influences that led her to the women's movement. She talks about anti-imperialism, the role of women’s music, and her criticism within the women’s movement, along with influences in art and politics.
  • RuthScovillOlivia1.jpeg

    Jennifer Woodul and Ginny Berson, founders of Olivia Records, are interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Jennifer Woodul and Ginny Berson talk about their band and production studio, Olivia. The recording starts mid-sentence. They discuss recording music and starting a music studio. They talk about how they met at The Furies Newspaper, and the need they seen for women-owned businesses, and issues with capitalism. Part 1 of 2.
  • RuthScovillOlivia2.jpeg

    Jennifer Woodul and Ginny Berson, founders of Olivia Records, are interviewed by Ruth Scovill. Jennifer and Ginny continue to talk about women’s autonomy in the lyricism of women’s music. They talk about their views on music production and concerts as places of political organization. They attempt to self-define what “women’s music” means to them, while acknowledging the classism in the music industry. Part 2 of 2.

Collection Tree