Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: Related Audio Recordings, 1977-1990


Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: Related Audio Recordings, 1977-1990


Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold by Madeline Davis and Elizabeth Kennedy is an intimate history of a lesbian community in Buffalo, New York. Ranging from the mid-1930s through the early 1960s, this ethnography of lesbian society is narrated with the backdrop of an average American city. The project is the result of 13 years of research, including an extensive oral history project. The "Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: Related Audio Recordings" collection contains supplementary audio materials related to the research and production of Boots of Leather.

These recordings range from conference proceedings to panel discussions to phone messages from book publishers. In each case, these related materials form an important element of the research, enriching and contextualizing the interviews conducted as part of the Buffalo Women’s Oral History Project. They discuss topics such as the publishing process and initial responses to the draft manuscript, the work of lesbian archives in researching and documenting the emergence of lesbian communities and lesbian consciousness across America, and how the research conducted into a small lesbian community in Buffalo, NY fits into a wider social narrative of establishing gay and lesbian identity and the development of gay and lesbian liberation movements.

These recordings were donated to the archives by Madeline Davis and Elizabeth Kennedy, and were subsequently digitized by students from the Pratt Institute, Projects in Digital Archives class, LIS-665.

Collection Items

  • SPW541_OralHistPic.jpg

    Side A:

    Panel discussion on the history of the archives, including a brief introduction on how they gather information through different interview procedures within the Lesbian community in order to build the oral history project.

    Side B:

    Panel discussion continues with topic brought up in side A.
  • SPW540_LesbianHistProjPic.jpg

    Side A:

    Discussion on the social issues in the Lesbian communinity bar and nightlife scene in Buffalo, NY during the 1950s.

    Side B:

    Continuation of side A. Only 2 minutes of side B used in original recording.
  • SPW535_SusanPic.jpg

    Susan continues her discussion of lesbian social and political groups, both at the university and within Buffalo. This interview also covers Susan's experience with Buffalo nightlife (specifically gay and lesbian bars), coming out to her parents, and how being gay affected her career.
  • SPW546Pic.jpg

    SIDE A Discussing Windsor’s memories of her relationship with Ruth also called “Skip” beginning in 1933, when they began to identify as lesbians. Past discrimination in town of Reedsville, Pennsylvania, childhood and background, and time attending Allegheny College and working in a factory. Skip came to Buffalo to study biochemistry, and enters the gay community in 1937; however Skip remained in the closet until 1975. Discussing lesbians in the medical profession in New York, and past relationships of Skip. These women attended bars such as Ralph Martin’s and Carousel in late 1930s and early 1940s.

    SIDE B Windsor discusses suicides in the lesbian community. Skip was able to accept herself as lesbian, and Windsor explains why.
  • SPW523_Cecilia.wav.mp3

    Phone message left by Cecilia from Routledge publishers. In the message she gives feedback on a chapter of the Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community manuscript and discusses the next steps in the publishing process.
  • SPW539_BostonPic.jpg

    Side A:

    Opens with an unnamed woman singing with guitar playing in a live venue. Continues to go through the concert with intermittent breaks to speak about songs.

    Side B:

  • SPW538_MAD_Boston_B.wav.mp3

    Proceedings from the MAD Conference in Boston
  • SPW508_Liz Kennedy.JPG

    This tape is part of a roundtable discussion between different researchers working on aspects of lesbian social history. Liz Kennedy discusses the early stages of work on the Buffalo lesbian community and how the project was changing from strictly an oral history and becoming a book. She also talks about how the interview format and questions have changed as a result of the earlier attempts and how they were surprised by some of what they were beginning to learn.

Collection Tree