Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project
    Vision & Purpose
  • The Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project will create a sustainable non-profit, community-run archival institution to preserve lesbian history in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. By gathering and preserving historical material, the archives will maintain lesbian visibility, become a living history, and continue the tradition of community building.
  • The archives will reflect the lives and experiences of Bay Area lesbians through many mediums, such as:
    flyers posters postcards
    books magazines prose writing
    'zines photos newspapers
    CDs audio tapes personal papers
    films DVDs organizational papers
    poetry journals oral histories
    buttons t-shirts correspondence
    videos diaries other memorabilia
    Why a Bay Area Lesbian Archive?
  • The Bay Area currently has one of the largest lesbian communities in the world, and has a history rich in activism, culture, and community from the 1940s to the present.
  • Lesbians started forming visible communities in the Bay Area during WWII, and many were a part of the Rosie the Riveter war effort. In the 1950s, the lesbian community grew more visible, existing mostly in the bars. Feminist and gay-rights activist couple Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon founded the Daughters of the Bilitis, the first national lesbian organization, with its publication The Ladder in San Francisco.
  • In the 1960s, the civil rights, anti-war, and anti-colonial liberation movements included the committed activism of many lesbians. In the late 1960s, the women's liberation movement began to take off, and by the early-mid 1970s the activism, culture, and community of lesbian feminists was in full swing. Lesbians in the 1970s were at the forefront of the building of many community resources for women and lesbians, including women's health clinics, rape crisis centers, women's domestic abuse shelters, girl's camps and schools, women's and LGBT centers, newspapers, presses, bookstores, bars, cafes and more. Lesbians were a major support to gay men during the AIDs crisis, and were activists in the ACT Up movement as well. Despite all these contributions, Bay Area lesbian histories have remained largely invisible.
  • Currently, little representation of lesbians exists in local archives. Some are almost out of space, creating a critical and immediate need for a local facility to preserve and process the activist, cultural, and community history of lesbians from the last sixty years, and into the future.
    How the Project Developed
  • The Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project, founded in April 2014, by Bay Area activist, archivist, curator, historian, photographer and filmmaker, Lenn Keller. Since 1975, Lenn has been archiving the Bay Area lesbian community with a special focus on lesbians of color, and since 1981 has documented the Bay Area lesbian and other marginalized communities through photography, film, video, and oral history.
  • Lenn's passion for the documents of liberation struggles brought about a 2014 panel on the state of lesbian archiving, featuring interactive dialogue with the audience. Preserving Our Bay Area Lesbian Legacies: Will History Remember Us? gave the community an opportunity to talk about the preservation of Bay Area lesbian history in a local lesbian archive with easy accessibility to all.
Two tax-deductible ways
to support the Project!

#1 - Use the Donate button to donate with a credit card or your PayPal account

Monthly Donation

#2 - Use the Subscribe button to make a recurring donation each month with a credit card or your PayPal account

#3 - Check or money order, make out to ACE (Associates for Community Education, our fiscal sponsor) with BALHAP in the memo line, send to:
6536 Telegraph Ave., Suite A-102, Oakland, CA 94609

  • Contact
  • Lenn Keller
  • 510-229-7578
  • Check us out!  
Club 440 Del & Phyllis The Ladder magazine gente poster Gwen and Jerene
updated 09/23/2014