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Collection Guide
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Daughters of Bilitis records, 1955-1986
1946  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • General Note
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Daughters of Bilitis records
    Collection number: 1946
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 4.8 linear feet (12 document boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1955-1986
    Abstract: The Daughters of Bilitis was founded by four lesbian couples in San Francisco in 1955. Its original purpose was to counteract the loneliness they felt as lesbians, though the organization increasingly began to focus on educating lesbians about their rights and on lobbying efforts. This collection includes documents related to the organization's national and local chapters. It also includes personal correspondence to and from two of the original founders, Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, as well as documents from several other homophile organizations.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through out electronic paging system using the "Request items" button.
    Creator: Daughters of Bilitis.

    Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through out electronic paging system using the "Request items" button.

    Conditions Governing Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Daughters of Bilitis Records (Collection 1946). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Provenance unknown. This collection is part of an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW), and the UCLA Library.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Molly S. Jacobs, 2011-2012. Description enhanced and further physical processing completed by Sabrina Ponce and Sarah Johnson in 2017.

    General Note

    The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive  at UCLA is an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives , the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) , and the UCLA Library . These collections expand the pool of primary source materials available to researchers and to the community at large. This partnership was initiated by CSW and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to inventory, organize, preserve, and digitize more than eighty Mazer collections pertaining to lesbian and feminist activism and writings.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6956271 

    History

    The Daughters of Bilitis was founded by four lesbian couples in San Francisco in 1955. Its original purpose was to counteract the loneliness they felt as lesbians, though the organization increasingly began to focus on educating lesbians about their rights and on lobbying efforts. The organization began publishing a newsletter, The Ladder, in 1956, and had expanded to five chapters across the U.S. by 1959.
    The organization began holding National Conventions in 1960, inviting members and speakers from across the country. The conventions provided members the opportunity to discuss the organization, and the group's original focus on conformity and integration was often a heated topic. Many members wanted to see the organization more involved in the direct action politics that had increasingly become employed by other organizations as the 1960s progressed.
    Conflict within the organization continued, particularly between the San Francisco and New York chapters, and the National Chapter eventually disbanded in 1970. Local chapters continued to function independently, though The Ladder, too, folded in 1972.

    Scope and Content

    The Daughters of Bilitis Records documents the efforts of lesbian communities across the country to reach out to and support other lesbian communities in need as well as ameliorate the general public's perception of lesbians and homosexuality. This rich collection includes administrative files, research, correspondence, project files, and other records related to the organization's national and local chapters. It also includes personal correspondence to and from two of the original founders, Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, as well as documents from several other organizations and individuals dedicated to homosexual rights.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The materials are arranged in five series. Further arrangement of these is described in their respective arrangement notes. The five series are as follows:
    • Series 1: National Organization, 1955-1977
    • Series 2: San Francisco Chapter, 1956-1978
    • Series 3: Other Chapters, 1960-1979
    • Series 4: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Correspondence, 1969-1983
    • Series 5: Other Organizations, 1958-1986

    Related Material

    More documents related to the Daughters of Bilitis can be found in the Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Papers held at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, CA.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Daughters of Bilitis--Archives..
    Lyon, Phyllis
    Martin, Del
    Gay liberation movement--United States--Archives.
    Lesbian community--United States.
    Social groups--United States--Archives.