The Spoken Word Collection consists of 90-minute cassettes created by the Lesbian Herstory Archives as well as donated by individual people and organizations in the LGBT community. This is a unique collection of oral histories, personal conversations, taped correspondence, radio programs, speeches, interviews, panel discussions, and other types of spoken word recordings, reflecting the diversity of lesbian and feminist communities, not just a selection of well-known women. One example already digitized is the Mabel Hampton series, consisting of interviews conducted by an Archives' founder. Mabel Hampton (1902-1989) was an African-American lesbian, an activist, a domestic worker, and a dancer in the Harlem Renaissance whose collection covers her years living as an out lesbian in Greenwich Village and Harlem and her relationship to the LGBT community. Another example of an already-digitized collection are the interviews used for Madeline Davis and Liz Kennedy's book “Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: the History of a Lesbian Community,” donated by the authors. Our collection, in addition to interviews, includes recordings such as a meeting between women in the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP) and the heads of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the AIDS Clinical Trials Research Group regarding women's infections and research needs. All of these examples can be found on our website (http://herstories.prattinfoschool.nyc/omeka/). Among the diverse types of recordings to be digitized are Adrienne Rich and Pat Parker reading from their work, episodes of Her Infinite Variety radio program from Madison, Wisconsin, performances of the Radical Lesbian Feminist Terrorist Comedy Group, a plenary from the National Conference on Women and HIV, a meeting of the Feminist Anti-Censorship Taskforce (FACT) (with Andrea Dworkin and Katherine McKinnon), a discussion among four lesbians with disabilities, public speeches given by Audre Lorde, and oral histories of lesbians in the sex industry.
The Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA) proposes a two-year project to provide public access to our Spoken Word Collection through digitization. This unique collection of oral histories, radio programs, speeches, interviews, panel discussions, and other types of spoken word recordings, reflects the diversity of lesbian and feminist communities, not just a selection of well-known women. Consisting of 3,000 audio cassette tapes, the collection includes recordings from the United States and Canada from the early 1970s to present day. We began digitizing our collection in 2010 working with Dr. Anthony Cocciolo and his students at Pratt School of Information and with interns and volunteers at LHA. Our proposed project would make our entire collection of spoken word recordings accessible online and be an incredible contribution, both providing researchers and the general public with material heretofore unavailable and in many cases, completely unknown and giving women access to their cultural heritage.
Lesbian Herstory Archives
1971 - 1971
United States and Canada