Who We Are
Our thanks go out to so many of you who have been involved with the Archives in so many different ways: previous coordinators, interns, volunteers, staffers, researchers, visitors, friends, Lesbians in the community and Lesbians around the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Alex Volgyesi is a writer and lesbian herstorian. She works with the LHA’s newspapers and periodicals collection. She wants you to know that we are co-creators, not consumers, of our culture (Lee Evans, “The Spread of Consumerism: Good Buy Community”), and that anyone has the power to organize, create, and sustain. The revolution will not be professionalized. When she’s not at the LHA, she is involved in direct action activism, lesbian community building, and promoting feline literacy.
Alexis Clements is a writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. Her creative work has been published, produced, and screened in venues across the US, Europe, and South America. Her feature-length documentary film, All We’ve Got, which focuses on LGBTQ women’s spaces at a time when many are closing, premiered in October 2019 in New York City and has since screened around the US and internationally. The film also features the Lesbian Herstory Archives. A regular contributor to Hyperallergic, her writing has also appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Guardian, Bitch Magazine, American Theatre, The Brooklyn Rail, and Nature, among others. In addition to her writing and filmmaking, she is currently serving on the Executive Board of CLAGS, the Center for LGBTQ Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY), and she recently cofounded Little Rainbows, a story time for queer youth and their caretakers and parents at the Archives.
Amy Beth is the Director of Library Services for Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT and has been a Coordinator for LHA since 1987. She holds a PhD in Environmental Psychology from CUNY’s Graduate Center. Her happy place is on a long distance bicycle ride, on a hiking trail, or in the car with her grown daughter singing full throttle out loud. Her community give-back includes LHA, refugee resettlement initiatives, volunteering with Preserving The Message (NA history), loving-up rescue dogs, and working in Jewish communities toward compassionate justice.
Colette Denali Montoya
Colette Denali Montoya, MLIS, is an enrolled tribal member of the Pueblo of Isleta and a descendant of the Pueblo of San Felipe. Colette began working at LHA in 2011; she coordinates the Lesbian Herstory Archives’ Spoken Word / Audio Digitization Project. As a queer, Indigenous academic librarian, archivist, and oral historian, she works at the intersections of oral history and memory. Colette is a 2022-2023 Oral History Association / National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. She loves to explore the material cultures of queer childhood through her American Girl doll photography.
Deborah Edel is one of the founders of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. She has been working with the Archives steadily since its inception in 1974. Trained as a social worker and psychologist, Deborah spent her working life focused on the intersectionality of education and mental health as an educational therapist, a counselor and a school administrator. Retired in 2012, Deborah and her partner, Teddy, love to travel. Even when on the road she finds time to connect with the needs of the Archives (especially her commitment to keeping the financial books and paying bills) and her commitment to the Board of Trustees of the Mary McDowell Friends School, where she worked for many years prior to retirement. Her life is busy and filled with adventure, social activism and time for reading mystery stories.
Désirée Yael Vester
Désirée Yael Vester, MLIS, is a caretaker, librarian, archivist, researcher, data wrangler, and knitter. Ongoing projects: Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). Collection areas: videos, buttons, graphics.
Elvis Bakaitis serves on the CUNY LGBTQ Council and as a board member of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies, where they advocate for trans and gender non-conforming students across the University. As a 2022 Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria’s Transgender Archives, Bakaitis explored the philanthropic activism of Reed Erickson. Their research is additionally supported by grants from Harvard University, Duke University, Rockefeller Archive Center, and the American Library Association. Bakaitis has presented about delightfully queer topics at the National Academy for Public Administration, The Whitney Museum, Columbia University’s Seminar for Women and Society, among other venues. Elvis’ illustrations are published in Women’s Studies Quarterly (WSQ), Sinister Wisdom, and they are the co-founder (and current co-organizer) of the NYC Feminist Zinefest. A passionate advocate for positive aging and eldercare, Bakaitis completed a Certificate in Geriatric Care Management from the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging.
Flavia Rando, PhD, is an art historian who teaches Lesbian, Women’s and Queer Studies. A longtime lesbian activist, she joined the Gay Liberation Front in 1969 and Radicalesbians in 1970. In 2019, she was happy to accept the OUT d’Or Award in Paris on behalf of the Gay Liberation Front, which will become part of the Archives’ collections. In 2011, Flavia inaugurated the Lesbian Studies Institute at the Archives, where she has had the privilege of teaching for nine years. Flavia has enjoyed the community of working with class participants and coordinators on such fundraising and community-building projects as marathon readings, art auctions and exhibits of Archives materials. The most recent exhibit was By the Force of Their Presence: Highlights From the Lesbian Herstory Archives at the New York Historical Society in celebration of Stonewall 50.
Hanna Pennington has a BA from Smith College in the Study of Women and Gender with a concentration in Archives. She is working toward a master’s in Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute. She has been working with the Lesbian Herstory Archives since 2016.
Joan Nestle was born in 1940 in Bronx, New York, and is cofounder of LHA. She is the author of A Restricted Country, A Fragile Union, The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader, and six other books on Lesbian and queer culture. Joan was a teacher in the Queens College SEEK program from 1964 to 1994. Followed Dianne Otto to Melbourne, Australia, in 2002, grateful for a new perspective. Eighty years of life, a privilege. Our collective progressive actions needed as much as ever and often such givers of joy.
Maxine Wolfe is an LHA coordinator and has been a volunteer at LHA since 1984. Over the years she has organized and facilitated the book, T-shirt, organizations, special collections and spoken word processing and cataloging as well as digitization projects. A longtime Lesbian and Feminist organizer, she is currently a member of Revolting Lesbians. She was one of the founders of the NYC Dyke March Committee, the Lesbian Avengers, the NY and National ACT UP Women’s Committees and Women for Women. She was on the national board of the Reproductive Rights National Network and was a member of the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse, the Coalition Against Racism, Sexism and Heterosexism, and other organizations. She loves gardening and making jam. She is a Professor Emerita of the Environmental Psychology PhD program at the City University of New York Graduate School.
Morgan Gwenwald is a photographer, archivist, mycophile and upstate librarian. Morgan loves being outdoors, underwater or underground.
Paula Grant is one of the coordinators at LHA and has been a volunteer since 1979. She was born in 1945 in Manhattan and is a longtime activist for human and civil rights. She trained as a social worker and in 2010 retired from a public agency in suburban NYS after forty years. “There is so much work to do and so much to learn. I look forward to welcoming you to the Archives.”
Rachel Corbman is a historian of Feminist and LGBTQ social movements. She earned a PhD in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Stony Brook University in 2019 and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University. Before moving to North Carolina, Rachel was responsible for the special collections at the Lesbian Herstory Archives between the years of 2012 and 2019.
Rebecca Arciprete, MLIS, is a school librarian and IT director for a girls’ high school. She first came to the Archives as an intern with the book collection in 2015. Rebecca’s interests (other than lesbian herstory!) include the intersection of ASD and OCD, true crime and horror, and exploring abandoned places with her Polaroid camera.
Saskia Scheffer has been active at the Archives since 1989. When she read Joan Nestle’s A Restricted Country, she realized there were many communities she had not been aware of yet, so she joined the Archives and has been focusing much of her attention on the photo collection. LHA has lots of treasures, and she hopes to see many of you there!
Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz has been a co-coordinator since sometime around 2008, and she has worked on exhibits, the website, writings, and nowadays, after she had an (adorable) baby girl, coordinates mostly remotely. She began distributing her Black Lesbians in the 70s zine in 2010 as part of the In Amerika they Called Us Dykes: Lesbian Lives in the 70s Conference. She is an Assistant Curator and Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Engagement at New York University Division of Libraries. She teaches library school at Pratt School of Information and serves on the board of directors for CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Stevie Jones is one of the newer co-coordinators at the Lesbian Herstory Archives. She works with the biographical files and book collection and is a cofacilitator of the Lez Create: The Dyke Arts Workshop. Stevie is also a frequent visitor to Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, where she was a weekly volunteer for years. She belongs to two cats in Brooklyn and several goats and sheep upstate.
Teddy Minucci, now in her eighties, is happily retired with a life filled with travel and adventures with her partner, Deb Edel. She worked in the business world, but finding little real satisfaction there, she became quite active in the NJ community working with Dignity, Amazon Autumn, the Lavender Express, NJ Pride Center, and in the struggle for civil rights. Since she and Deb met in 1984, the Archives has been her passion and she has been fully involved with helping maintain and grow the Archives.
Previous and/or Currently Inactive Coordinators
Arisa Reed, Beth Haskell, Georgia Brooks, Constantina Constantinou, Joy Rich, Beth Levine, Suzanne Bernard, Lucinda Zoe, Nancy Frohlich, Judith Schwarz, Jennica Born, Alexis Danzig, Caitlin Featherstone, Ed Varga, Linda McKinney, Terry Collins, Debra Rothberg, Polly Thistlethwaite, Julia Penelope Stanley, Sahli Cavallo, Pamela Oline, Vicki Sherman, Jane Van Ingen, Gabrielle Korn, Mimi Lester, Nicole Martin, Devin Lindow, Jan Boney, Claire Moed, Monica Neal, Pam Hicks, Sabrina Williams, Carol O’Donnell, Lauren Gulbrandsen, Ashley Bowers, Rebecca Hoffman, Lisa deBoer, Valerie Itnyre, Barbie Painter, Janet Prolman, Robin Riback, Ina Rimpau, Annette Spalling, Nancy Robertson, Kayleigh Salstrand, Ashley-Luisa Santangelo, Marguerite Campbell, Leni Goodman, Red Washburn.
All the photographs on the website came from the Archives collection, many of them by Morgan Gwenwald, Saskia Scheffer, and many anonymous photographers who documented the Archives through the years. The website was designed and built by Emma Levesque-Schaefer based on the work of Heather Stewart. And Carrie Moyer created our logo.