Organizational Files

This collection contains materials on groups and organizations, past and present, that have focused on lesbian, feminist, and/or women’s issues.

An open file drawer displaying folders full of papers.
A view inside one of the drawers of organizational files. Photo by Saskia Scheffer

Affectionately known as the “org file,” these files, covering 1,640 organizations, are kept in alphabetical order and fill up three vertical five-drawer filing cabinets as well as several overflow boxes. In the org file we keep materials from/related to voluntary and not-for-profit groups in the LGBT community that include a focus on Lesbian issues, as well as women’s/Feminist groups that either include a Lesbian focus or have known Lesbian participation. Most of the groups are Lesbian and are from the United States, though there are other countries represented.

They range from small groups, like the Black Lesbian Study Group (NY) to community centers, such as the Lesbian Resource Center (Seattle, WA). Though we have a large number of NY groups, we have files for groups from all over the country. There are files for the LGBT task forces of many national professional organizations, for religious, ethnic and culturally identified groups, and for college groups. Our oldest org files are from the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) and date to the 1950s. Other early records date from the 60s and early 70s (e.g., D.O.B., The Women’s Firehouse, Salsa Soul Sisters) and continue to the present (Revolting Lesbians, NY, 2018; Rise & Resist, NY, 2017). Some of the files have only one sheet of paper; others are large collections. Most large collections are from groups or organizations that sent us their materials when they disbanded. However, both ACT UP NY and Lesbian Avengers, NY, for example, have large collections because one of our coordinators was a member of both.

The org files contain flyers, minutes, posters, fundraising letters and other material produced by or about the group, including newspaper articles. All of the information pertaining to these files has been catalogued and can be searched on our computer. The organization files are being digitized in 2019–2020 and will then be available online in the Gale Cengage “Archives of Sexuality and Gender.”