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Southern California Women for Understanding records
Coll2011-076  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Administrative History
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Title: Southern California Women for Understanding records
    creator: Southern California Women for Understanding
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2011-076
    Physical Description: 2.6 Linear Feet 3 cartons and 5 binder-boxes.
    Date (inclusive): 1975-1998
    Date (bulk): bulk
    Abstract: Survey records, meeting minutes, newsletter editorial material, photographs, negatives, correspondence, financial records, event programs, press releases, manuscripts, promotional material, and other material documenting the activities of Southern California Women for Understanding (SCWU), 1975-1998. Founded in 1976, SCWU was an organization of women "dedicated to creating an atmosphere of understanding of Lesbian issues within both the homosexual and heterosexual communities." Notably, this collection includes numerous photographs and textual content used in the publication of the SCWU newsletter, as well as a 1988 survey of 1000 lesbian women.
    Storage Unit: 1

    Administrative History

    Southern California Women for Understanding (SCWU) was founded in 1976 to create "an atmosphere of understanding of Lesbian issues within both the homosexual and heterosexual communities." Betty Berzon, a lesbian board member of the predominantly male Whitman-Radclyffe Foundation, took hold of the idea to form an all woman support group in Southern California. Twenty women attended the first meeting in a private home, and ten decided to start a women's group.
    At the first meeting of what was to become SCWU, Myra Riddell was elected chair, and the name "Southern California Women for Whitman-Radclyffe" was adopted. However by July 1977, the group decided to break with Whitman-Radclyffe and form an independent organization of women. SCWU incorporated in August 1978, and the organization began forming chapters a year later. In 1979, SCWU held its first Lesbian Rights Award, and Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the first honorees. By 1980, the number of members exceeded 500, and an office was opened with a fulltime staff person. In 1984, SCWU established the L. Diane Anderson Trust to support education and research on lesbian issues. Support of community organizations also expanded with the sponsorship of Connexxus Women's Center/Centro de Mujeres.
    Described in 1982 as one of the largest lesbian support organizations in the country, SCWU at its peak had over 1100 members who were predominantly professional, educated women. By the late-1980s, the group was experiencing internal conflicts and its membership began to dwindle.
    Source:
    [Box 1, Folder 4] Southern California Women for Understanding Records, Coll2011-076, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Acquisition Information

    The 1988 lesbian survey results were donated by Bunny MacCulloch to the International Gay & Lesbian Archives on September 19, 1982. The donor and date of acquisition for the remaining materials is unknown.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder #, or item name] Southern California Women for Understanding Records, Coll2011-076, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama, December 2012. Revised with additional description to the photographs, January 2016.

    Scope and Content

    This collection includes administrative records, promotional material, Lesbian Rights Award event records, newsletter editorial records, and survey records from Southern California Women for Understanding (SCWU), 1975-1998, an organization "dedicated to creating an atmosphere of understanding of Lesbian issues." The General Administration Series includes minutes, correspondence, promotional material, manuscripts, and a 1988 survey of 1000 lesbian women conducted by the SCWU research committee. The Newsletter Editorial Material and Photographs Series comprises photographs, editorial copy, clippings, newsletters and other material used in the publication of the SCWU newsletter, including numerous annotated photographs of SCWU members and events.

    Arrangement

    This collection is arranged in the following series:
    Series 1. General administration
    Series 2. Newsletter editorial material and photographs

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Women's rights
    Lesbians -- Services for
    Lesbian activists -- United States
    Lesbian feminism -- Archival resources
    Lesbian rights
    Lesbians -- California -- History
    MacCulloch, Bunny (Nancy Winifred)
    Berzon, Betty
    Southern California Women for Understanding
    Strik, Margo