The Lesbian Herstory Archives 45th Anniversary

Contribute to This Special Issue of Sinister Wisdom

This special issue of Sinister Wisdom is dedicated to commemorating the forty-fifth anniversary of the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA). It celebrates LHA, an institution committed to collecting, preserving, and honoring lesbian identities, herstories, and lives across generations. The issue will be curated by a collective of LHA volunteer coordinators.
In this issue of Sinister Wisdom we will curate a diversity of lesbian voices, values, traditions, and experiences. We will document our past and present, imagine a future, and honor the power of this important space. We are particularly interested in works that reflect the personal impact of the Archives--the collections, organization and space--on lesbian lives and self understanding as well as research, work, and politics. We welcome submissions from all those who feel themselves to be connected to LHA, researchers, coordinators, interns, volunteers, educators, donors, speakers, visitors, writers, artists, organizers and activists. We encourage lesbians and queers from all races, ethnicities, ages, abilities, religions, and gender identities to submit their work.

Contributors may wish to explore topics such as:
• intergenerational respect and collaboration
• radical organizational structure, consensus and praxis
• archival documentation and herstorical repositioning
• art and culture as resistance
• difference and coalitional work
• the multiplicity of lesbian cultures and communities
• privilege and marginalization
• poor and working class lesbian lives
• elder lesbians
• at-homes and memorial marathon readings at LHA
• issues of access and power
• issues of ability
• influence of LHA on your/group activism
• representation of lesbians of color, i.e., African American, Latina/x, Asian American, and Native American, among other racial and ethnic identities
• recollections of being at LHA, a space dedicated to Lesbian herstory
• memories of events experienced, friendships made, love found or lost at LHA
• learning and teaching at LHA
• staffing and volunteering at LHA
• stack by stack: the herstory of the LHA building
• origins of LHA in 13A, the apartment of LHA founders, and the feeling of home still maintained at LHA
• the spectrum of lesbian and queer genders, such as, passing women, butch, femme, genderqueer, nonbinary, and trans identities
• reminiscences of being transported by a box of diaries, letters, an album of photographs, the voice of a poet reading their own work
• excitement and/or anxiety of donating to the LHA collection
• grief and the commemoration of a loved one’s life through donation to the collections
• your transformative experience at LHA

We welcome submissions of poems, personal essays, short stories, oral histories, interviews, plays, zines, comics, mixed-genre or experimental pieces, and other original writing of no more than 5,000 words. Shorter works or excerpts are welcome. Visual artists can send black and white photos of as many as five paintings, drawings, or other original artwork. All writing submissions should be in docx, and for art, please use .jpg, .gif, or .tif (300dpi). We will be adhering to Sinister Wisdom's publishing guidelines which follow the Chicago Manual of Style. If you are not familiar with these guidelines, please contact the editors at, and we will assist with any questions you may have. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2018; however, early submissions are encouraged and appreciated. Please submit electronically at  We look forward to your contribution.

Sinister Wisdom Lesbian Herstory Archives Issue Editor Bios

Deborah Edel is one of the founders of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.  She has been involved with the Archives from that first gleam in the eyes of the women planning the project to the present.  She has served as the treasurer throughout and  answered most of the mail before email took over.  She has bowed out of that enormous responsibility but still will answer letters written to LHA. Deborah is now retired and she and her partner Teddy are trying to do as much travelling as they possibly can.  Trained as a social worker and psychologist, she was the Director of Admissions and head of the Counseling Support Program at Mary McDowell Friends School, a Brooklyn based Friends school for youngsters with Learning Disabilities for many years.

Morgan Gwenwald is currently an Associate Librarian at the State University of New York at New Paltz where she is the Head of Special Collections. She has also taught in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program on campus. Prior to this she was the Executive Director of In the Life (the PBS LGBTQ TV series), worked as an MSW (at Fountain House, Columbia University, Senior Action in a Gay Environment and Stony Brook University) and also worked at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. She is an established photographer (widely published in the Women’s and LGBTQ press) and has served as a volunteer coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives for over 20 years. She is working on a major digitization of her archive of negatives of the women’s, lesbian and LGBTQ communities.

Stevie Jones is one of the newer coordinators at the Lesbian Herstory Archives and a co-facilitator of LHA's Lez Create Dyke Arts Workshop.  Stevie’s work has recently been published in Sinister Wisdom.  She is also a friend and frequent visitor to Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, where she was a weekly volunteer for years.

Joan Nestle, writer, saw LHA grow from one bookshelf in 1974 and a dream of a new kind of social history into the fullness of lives it honors today. She is the author, editor and co editor of 9 books on lesbian and queer culture, including the memoirs A Restricted Country (1987) and A Fragile Union, (1998); editor of Persistent Desire: A Fem-Butch Reader, (1992); co editor with Naomi Holoch of three anthologies of Lesbian short fiction, Women on Women, (1990, 1992, 1996); with John Preston, Sister and Brother: Lesbians and Gay Men Write about Their Lives Together, (1991); and with Riki Wilchins and Clare Howell, GenderQueer: Views from Beyond the Binary (2002). Her recent writings can be found on All of her books are formally out of print, but when readers do find her words, her deepest wish is that they give them the strength to resist the public ugliness of the Trump era.

Flavia Rando, Ph.D., is an art historian who teaches Lesbian, Women’s, and LGBTQ Studies. A long time lesbian activist, she was a member of Gay Liberation Front and Radicalesbians and has continued this work as an academic activist.   She is a Lesbian Herstory Archives coordinator, who in 2011, inaugurated the Lesbian Studies Institute at the Archives.  She will begin the seventh year of classes in spring 2018.   She has taught “Classic Lesbian Theorizing,” for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, CUNY, and is currently working on a study of 1970’s lesbian artists for the catalogue of Art Since Stonewall: 1969-1989.

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz is Assistant Professor and Head of Reference at the Graduate Center Library of the City University of New York. Her work has appeared in Sinister Wisdom: A Lesbian Literary and Art Journal, Journal of Lesbian Studies, Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, multiple Library Juice Press publications and others. She is a board member for the Center for LGBTQ Studies/CLAGS where she chairs the archives committee, and is on the advisory board for Gale Primary Resources’ Sexuality and Gender database. She speaks internationally on Black Lesbian archival narrative sourcing the work from collections of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, where she is a volunteer Coordinator. From Queens College, CUNY she received her MLS with an archival certification, and her MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Fiction. She co-edited Sinister Wisdom 103: Celebrating the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and enjoys storytelling, narrative, and offering her energy to lesbian-specific spaces.

Amy Washburn, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and Co-Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY). She also is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Hunter College (CUNY). Her articles appear in Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and Journal of Lesbian Studies. Her poetry collection Crestview Tree Woman was published by Finishing Line Press. She co-edited Sinister Wisdom 103: Celebrating the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. She is currently co-editing Sinister Wisdom's Dump Trump: Legacies of Resistance issue with Cheryl Clarke and Morgan Gwenwald. She is a coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives and of the Rainbow Book Fair.

Maxine Wolfe is an LHA coordinator and has been a volunteer at LHA since 1984.  She organized and facilitated the book, t-shirt, organizations, special collection and spoken word digitization projects. A longtime lesbian and feminist organizer, among other work she was one of the founders of the Lesbian Avengers, of 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 Coalition for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse and the Coalition Against Racism, Sexism and Heterosexism. She is a Professor Emerita of the Environmental Psychology Ph.D. Program at the City University of New York Graduate School.

"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

"Live your lives, honorably and with dignity."

Andrea Dworkin