Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Browse Items (23 total)

  • SPW511_Andy.JPG

    At the start of the interview, Andy talks about the first time someone asked her about sex. She talks about her experience going with hookers. She discusses butches and femmes and argues that femmes aren't "true" lesbians.
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    Side A: Pat and DJ continue the discussion of relationships during the 1950s from tape cassette SPW457. The two women discuss aspects of how to make relationships long-lasting and the importance or lack thereof of sexual intimacy in relationships. Both Pat and DJ discuss personal opinions related to intimacy in relationships, particularly in long-term relationships. The discussion then turns to types of attraction and intimacy.

    Side B: Pat and DJ continue to discuss relationships during the 1950s and talk about reasons for breaking up. The discussion revolves around the importance of taking care of a woman and being able to satisfy her needs. The two women discuss the negative stigma of cheating. The discussion turns to take pride in a partner and the importance of her appearance and physical presence. Pat and DJ also talk about the presence of violence during relationships in the 1950s, listing insecurity between partners as the main reason. The two women speak specifically of violence in bars as a result of talking to another woman’s lady or challenging femmes in relationships to talk to other women. They discuss how much of this behavior was learned from lesbian role models of the 1940s.
  • 472.jpg

    Side A: Dorothy discusses her personal life and how she came to discover that she was a lesbian. She talks about her marriage and separation. She discusses her relationships with women, all of which were long-term. Dorothy talks about her job in engineering as a tool designer and the fact that she performed a man's work for a man's salary. She discusses lesbian social life during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s and names several popular bars including Eddy's Tavern, Ralph Martin. She talks about her developing alcoholism and the prominence of this disease among lesbians in general, perhaps as a result of their uncertainty about life. Dorothy also talks about butch and femme roles in lesbianism, stating that she doesn't identify herself with either role despite the fact that the butches identified her as one of them.

    Side B: Dorothy continues the discussion of roles in lesbianism and the division between the two groups in bars. She says that her "crowd" did not distinguish between these two groups and she ultimately stopped going to bars, partly as a result of the need for role division. She discusses in some depth her problem with alcohol and talks about her membership in Alcoholics Anonymous. She talks about how she decided that she was a lesbian and gives further details about her first relationship. She also speculates on whether or not other people knew she was a lesbian, including her mother and acquaintances such as her landlord. She says that she has never had any problems with people discriminating against her. Dorothy also continues to talk about the social dynamics of bars in Buffalo.
  • SPW477_ENIT.jpg

    Enit discusses facing her sexuality at the age of 12 and coming out to her family despite her frustration at their lack of acceptance. She goes on to discuss her social life and dating in Buffalo, NY, noting how she used to meet women at bars but that her social activities have changed with age. She discusses her participation in the Erie Picnics held for gay men and women in Pennsylvania. She is 47 at the time of the interview.
  • spw1152_B.mp3

    Audio recording of a panel presentation at the Fourth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women. Includes Audre Lorde.
  • 473.jpg

    Dorothy talks generally of leisure activities, relationships, and sexual relations. She then talks at length about one long-term relationship with Harriette, mentioning their business, break up, life-long friendship, and Harriettes other relationships.

    She talks first of weekend activities or leisure activities such as house parties, picnics, and going to bars. She talks in general about sexual relations, mentioning "daisy chain" sex, and attitudes towards sex and equality in love-making. She talks in general about long-term relationships and breaking up. She then answers questions and talks at length about her long-term relationship with Harriette, their break up and lasting friendship. She mentions their first car and the business they owned together. She talks of monogamy. She talks of Harriette's later marriage and other relationships. Dorothy talks of her opinion of bi-sexuality and of Harriette's marriage and relationships.

  • 475.jpg

    Side A

    Dorothy discusses how women met one another, sexuality, and her various relationships. Particular focus is on her 10 year relationship with her girlfriend during the mid 1950s to mid 1960s.

    Side B

    Dorothy discusses how she feels about children and the fact that she never any. She gives her opinion on two women raising a child, and talks about her friends who are now married to men who raised children. In addition, she continues her thoughts on sexuality and butch-femme roles.

  • 454.jpg

    Side A: Pat discusses her definition of lesbianism and her attitude towards “radical lesbians.” She also discusses her background, including her relationship with her family and her experience at an all-girls Catholic school. She talks about how and when she realized she was a lesbian and describes her early relationships with women. She discusses leaving home and experiencing gay bars for the first time in the 1950s. Finally, she discusses butch and femme roles and how they have changed.


    Side B: Pat discusses why she does not have many gay friends and why she does not identify with the lesbian community. She talks about her relationships and her feelings about sex.
  • SPW532.jpg

    Stella describes growing up in a broken home, and having to take on a lot of responsibilities. Explains her curiosity in women as she got older. Later, she discusses how her bisexuality made her feel different than everyone.
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    Modern Language Association Conference in Chicago, December 1977. Lesbian Feminist Poetry Reading featuring six poets. Side A includes Joan Larkin, Barbara Smith and Diedre McCalla. Side B includes Melanie Kaye, Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde; Audre Lorde appears at 28:07 on SPW1151_B (Side B).
  • 52522_ca_object_representations_media_105_original.jpg

    Oral History interview of Mabel Hampton. Conversations between Joan and Mabel about a book Mabel enjoyed, working at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, a documentary film in the making, and Mabel's early life and sexuality.
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    Side A: Judy discusses some of the bars she used to frequent, and her changing views of sex.

    Side B: Judy discusses her past relationships and the ways in which she feels the treatment of women at jobs has changed.
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    Linda discusses work and how her coworkers knew that she is a lesbian, which did not bother them. She recalls beginning to wear men's clothes to work in the 1970s when women began to wear pants. Linda discusses her relationship, and how her life centers around her lover. She believes that the younger generation is less monogamous than hers. Linda also discusses butch and femme dynamics in relationships.

    The sound quality is poor in the beginning. The tape cuts off abruptly at the end.
  • SPW518_Lou + Jane.JPG

    The interviewee discusses the time she considered getting a sex change. She talks about religion. At the end she talks about getting respect. There is significant distortion at the end of the tape.

    Lou and Jane discuss their sexual relationship and further aspects of female sexuality.
  • 87466_ca_object_representations_media_106_original.jpg

    Oral history interview of Mabel Hampton. Mabel discusses her relationships during her twenties, including how and why she chose her sexual partners and her relationships with married women. She relates a story about being caught with her partner's husband and hiding under the bed.
  • 455.jpg

    Side A: Pat talks about her childhood in North Port, N.Y., her relationship with her parents and siblings. She goes into detail about her estranged relationship with her older sister. She describes when she first knew that she was a lesbian and tells the history of her relationships with women. She starts with her first affair at age 13, with a nun from her Catholic school - Sister Eugenie - to a relationship she had with Maryann (Marty). She describes her time at nursing school in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and the gay bars she frequented until she moved to Florida with her then girlfriend. She says she moved to Buffalo, N.Y., in the late 1950s, and describes the Buffalo bar scene, mentioning Dingles, Mardi Gras, the Chesterfield, the Carousel and the Carol Hotel. Pat mentions that the Carousel was very elite, something she did not like. This leads her into a discussion on “role play” and how important it was to distinguish oneself as either a butch or a femme. She classified herself as butch, but stated that she was very uncomfortable with the label and now prefers to be less overt.

    Side B: In this interview Pat talks about how she does not like or feel comfortable in the gay community. She has never identified with it, or been made to feel welcome. This is one of the reasons that she does not maintain friendships with other lesbians, unless she is having a sexual relationship with them. She mentions being victimized and physically assaulted because she was a butch lesbian. Interviewer Madeline enters the discussion, speaking about her own sexual experiences with women. Madeline classifies Pat as “untouchable,” something that Pat denies, stating that she is simply very private. She feels that sex is a necessary but not important part of a relationship; it is something that is never sought or welcomed. She is suspicious of those who claim to experience sexual pleasure, including Madeline.
  • BarbaraGrierFinal.jpg

    Barbara Grier discusses her personal experiences with developing her identity. She describes lesbian nightlife and particular lesbians frequented in her youth.
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    Side A: Mary briefly describes her childhood and family dynamics. Mary and the interviewer then discuss the first time Mary recognized being different and her thoughts on desiring women at a young age, yet not knowing about lesbianism as a concept or about the lesbian community. Mary then recalls the first time she encountered the word "lesbian" when she joined the U.S. Air Force and describes her experiences with women while in the service. Mary talks about being a lesbian in the military, the investigation into her conduct, and her dishonorable discharge. After Mary got another job, she started going to a bar in Buffalo, N.Y., and she talks about the other lesbians she met there. Mary then discovered other bars and talks about the scene as well as the role-playing of butch and femme.

    Constant whirring noise that stops about 10 minutes into the recording.

    Side B: Mary continues the discussion on butch and femme role-playing. She elaborates on fights, holding down jobs, and being "out." She also explains the relationships lesbians had with gay men in Buffalo, N.Y., and the bar scene dynamics of mixed, gay, or lesbian bars. Mary and the interviewer discuss gay activism and the difficulties of being involved in activism at that time. Mary also describes outings where there was a risk of being visible as a group, such as going on picnics or renting cottages. She elaborates on her experience with social dynamics like cliques and having heterosexual friends within the lesbian and gay community. Mary then expands upon the nature of her relationships with women as well as with black lesbians - racial prejudice and relationships are discussed.

    Constant whirring noise that stops about 5 minutes into the recording.
  • 463.jpg

    Paula describes the absence of love and romance in her relationships with women, but later in the interviews describes a relationship after her divorce. She mentions one-night stands and sexual experiences she had with friends, and the importance of these friendships to her. Paula mentions that she was married and had children, and would go out to bars at night with her friends or alone.
  • 34159_ca_object_representations_media_151_original.jpg

    In addition to Audre Lorde, Linda Gordon, Manuela Prairie, Jessica Benjamin, Bonnie Johnston, Camille Bristow, and Susan McHenry participated in the panel. The recording includes a question and answer session between panelists and audience members. The topics discussed include racism, feminism, class oppression, individualism, sexuality, community, and sisterhood.
  • T81_1_33.jpg

    Martha Shelley interviews Gene Damon aka Barbara Grier, founder of the lesbian magazine The Ladder (1956-1972). They discuss the beginnings of The Ladder and how it evolved from a smaller publication within the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) into an independent publication. Grier discusses the shift in content as well once the magazine became independent of the Daughters of Bilitis. Grier felt that under DOB they were focused on presenting a clean public image of lesbians to society at large and that this was reflected in what was published in older versions of The Ladder. Once Grier became the editor, she felt it was important to address topics like sexuality, saying “we began running material that deals with sex honestly and forthrightly.”
  • T81_1_41.jpg

    In this installment of Lesbian Nation, Martha Shelley interviews women of the Women’s Lesbian Liberation Committee of the Gay Activists’ Alliance (GAA). Mary Flowerpot also hosts her comedy segment. In Shelley’s interview, the women discuss the emergence of the Lesbian Liberation Committee and their role within the GAA. They talk about what they have done to address issues of sexism in the GAA and how they try to maintain positive discourse with male members.
  • T81_1_32.jpg

    Martha Shelley speaks with Kate Millett, author of Sexual Politics, about a wide range of subjects that includes the Angela Davis trial of 1971, bisexual identity, radical counterculture in American universities, sadomasochism, and the Vietnam War.
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