Scope and Content of Collection
Existence and Location of Copies
Language of Material:
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Title: Jeanne Cordova papers and photographs
Identifier/Call Number: Coll2008-064
32.4 Linear Feet
12 boxes, 5 cartons, 13 flat boxes, 1 mapcase drawer, and 20 oversize items.
Date (inclusive): 1948-2011
Abstract: Photo albums, diaries, correspondence, minutes, manuscripts, clippings, posters, memorabilia, audiotapes, computer files and
other material from lesbian activist, writer and publisher, Jeanne Córdova. In the early 1970s, Córdova began her career as
a leader in the Los Angeles gay and lesbian and feminist movements by becoming President of the Los Angeles chapter of the
Daughters of Bilitis; founding the publication,
The Lesbian Tide; and becoming Human Rights Editor and columnist for the
Los Angeles Free Press. In 1973, she was a key organizer of the first National Lesbian Conference, and in 1981, she founded the
Community Yellow Pages, currently the nation's largest and most comprehensive LGBT directory. Her collection includes organizational records from
publications she founded and several activist organizations she led; manuscripts and clippings of articles and books she wrote;
personal diaries and correspondence with former lovers. Her collection also includes extensive photo albums with detailed
annotation documenting her life and major events in the gay and lesbian liberation movement.
Jeanne Robert Córdova was born on July 18, 1948 in Bremerhaven, Germany. Daughter of Federico Benito and Joan McGuinness,
Jeanne is one of twelve siblings. In the 1950s, the family immigrated to New York and eventually relocated to Southern California.
As a child, she attended Catholic school in West Covina and, in 1966, entered the Immaculate Heart of Mary convent in Santa
Barbara, California. While she was a postulant, she began questioning her sexuality and subsequently became dissatisfied with
the Catholic Church. She left the convent a year later, going on to earn Bachelor's and Master's degrees in social work from
the University of California, at Los Angeles (UCLA.)
In 1970, Córdova began her activist career by joining and, soon after, becoming President of the Los Angeles chapter of the
lesbian rights organization, Daughters of Bilitis (DOB). In 1971, the DOB newsletter, which Córdova edited, evolved into
The Lesbian Tide, the first of five publications she founded. Throughout the 1970s to the 1990s, she was a key organizer or active participant
in several events and organizations, including the 1971 West Coast Lesbian Conference; the 1973 National Lesbian Conference
at UCLA; the 1977 International Women's Year Conference in Houston, Texas; the 1978 National Lesbian Feminist Organization
Conference; a national gay and lesbian caucus at the 1980 Democratic National Convention, in which she served as a convention
delegate; the No on California Proposition 64 (LaRouche) campaign in 1986; and numerous other gay and lesbian and women's
rights causes. In addition, she founded or served on the board of several organizations, including the Stonewall Democratic
Club, Connexxus Women's Business Alliance, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Press Association, Gay and Lesbian Community Services
Center, and ONE Institute and International Gay & Lesbian Archives.
Córdova also has an extensive writing and publishing career. In addition to her work with
The Lesbian Tide, she was also Human Rights Editor and columnist for the
Los Angeles Free Press (1973 - 1976). She contributed works to numerous periodicals and anthologies, and in 1976, she wrote her first book,
Sexism: It's a Nasty Affair. In 1981, she founded the
Community Yellow Pages, which would eventually become the United States' largest and most comprehensive LGBT directory. In 1990, her second book
Kicking the Habit: A Lesbian Nun Story, an autobiography recounting her experience in the convent. In addition to
Community Yellow Pages, she founded and published
Square Peg Magazine in 1992, a magazine devoted to queer culture and literature.
In August 1995, Córdova married her partner, Lynn Harris Ballen, in a wedding ceremony in the Hollywood Hills. After selling
Community Yellow Pages, Córdova and Ballen moved to Mexico in 1999. In 2007, they returned to Southern California. Jeanne Córdova remains active
in the gay and lesbian and Chicana/Latina movements. In 2008, she founded LEX, The Lesbian Exploratorium, a non-profit organization
devoted to culture and history. In 2011, her memoir,
When We Were Outlaws, was published by Spinsters Inc. As of 2015, Córdova continues to live with Ballen at their home in Los Angeles, California.
The collection is open to researchers, with some restrictions. Access to materials marked "restricted" in the container list
is restricted during the lifetime of Jeanne Córdova. Researchers wishing to access this material must obtain prior permission
from Ms. Córdova. Researchers may apply for permission through ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives or directly from Ms. Córdova.
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the
physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE
National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright
[Box #, Folder #] Jeanne Córdova Papers and Photographs, Coll2008-064, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles,
The Jeanne Córdova collection comes from a series of donations from Jeanne Córdova in September-November, 2008. An additional
14 linear feet of material was donated in a series of donations on April 14, 2011, September 21, 2011, and November 28, 2011.
Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama, November 24, 2008. An additional 14 linear feet of material was added to the collection in 2011, and processed in 2015. One box (1 linear foot)
of deteriorated and damaged materials remains unprocessed.
Processing this collection has been funded in part by Jeanne Córdova, and generous grants from the National Historical Publications
and Records Commission and the Council on Library and Information Resources.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Jeanne Córdova papers and photographs comprise scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, organizational records, correspondence,
manuscripts, clippings, posters, memorabilia, computer files, audiotapes and other materials documenting organizations and
publications which Córdova founded; her leadership in the gay and lesbian and feminist activist movements from the 1970s through
the 1990s; her published and unpublished books, articles and essays; her education and experience in a convent; and her relationships
with family, friends and former lovers.
The collection is divided into eight series: (1) Publishing, (2) Activism and Politics, (3) Writings, (4) Personal Papers,
(5) Scrapbooks and Photographs, (6) Posters, (7) Memorabilia and (8) Sound Recordings, Video Recordings, and Computer Files.
The Publishing Series consists of organizational records from three of the five publications Córdova founded:
The Lesbian Tide (1971,)
Community Yellow Pages (1981) and
Square Peg (1992.) The Activism and Politics Series comprises correspondence, clippings, organizational records and other papers documenting
Córdova's numerous activities in the gay and lesbian and feminist movements, including, but not limited to, organizing national
lesbian conferences, serving on the boards of several organizations, and political campaigning. The Writings Series comprises
manuscripts, notes, clippings and correspondence related to Córdova's published and unpublished works, including two unpublished
The Apostles and
Anicha. The Personal Papers Series consists of diaries, correspondence, date books, student papers, real estate records, financial
records and other papers documenting Córdova's life from her time in a convent (1966-1967,) to her health complications, to
her relationships with her family, friends and former lovers. The Scrapbooks and Photographs Series consists of material collected
throughout Córdova's life, including her childhood in Germany (1948-1954.) The Posters Series includes a poster for "An Evening
of Women's Music with Cris Williamson, Margie Adam, Meg Christian, Holly Near," and posters for Robin Tyler and Jill Johnston.
The Memorabilia Series comprises buttons, t-shirts and other material from Córdova's activities in politics and the gay and
lesbian movement. The final Sound Recordings, Video Recordings, and Computer Files Series comprises audiocassettes, videocassettes
(VHS), and floppy disks (5 1/4 in.) containing manuscripts, personal diary entries, and other writings.
Multiple issues of
Community Yellow Pages,
Square Peg and
Lesbian News were separated from the Jeanne Córdova Collection and entered into ONE Archives' periodicals database.
The following have been separated to the ONE periodical collection:
Curve, Vol. 13, No. 1 (February 2003).
Curve, Vol. 14, No. 8 (December 2004).
Deneuve, Vol. 1, No. 4 (November/December 1991).
Deneuve, Vol. 4, No. 4 (August 1994).
Deneuve, Vol. 5, No. 1 (February 1995).
Dyke, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Winter 1975-76).
Fugitive Information, No. 2 (1989).
Globe, Vol. 43, No. 36 (September 3, 1996).
Lavender Woman, August 1973.
Lesbian Connection, Vol. 31, Iss. 1 (July/August 2008).
Lesbian Herstory Archives Newsletter #11 (January 1990).
Lesbian News, Vol. 33, No. 6 (January 2008).
Lesbian News, Vol. 33, No. 7 (February 2008).
Lesbian News, Vol. 33, No. 2 (September 2007).
Off Our Backs, Vol. 7, No. 1 (February 1977).
Old Lesbians Organizing for Change newsletter, Vol. 19, Iss. 2 (June 2009).
The Second Wave, Vol. 4, No. 4 (1976).
The Seeker, West Bay MCC, Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1973).
Speaking for Ourselves, Lesbian and Gay Elected and Appointed Officials and Candidates, Vol. 1, No. 1 (January-February 1990).
Update, Iss. 57 (May 15, 1981).
The following have been separated to the audiovisual collection:
Margie Adam, Another Place (Pleiades Records, 1993), 1 audiocassette.
Margie Adam, Songwriter, (undated), 1 audiocassette.
Meg Christian, I Know You Know (Olivia Records, 1974), 1 audiocassette.
Meg Christian, I Know You Know (Olivia Records, 1974), 1 record.
Sue Fink, Big Promise (Ladyslipper Records, 1985), 1 audiocassette.
Girls in the Nose, Origin of the World (Girls in the Nose, 1992), 1 audiocassette.
Eloise Klein Healy, Some From Ten Poems 1975-1985 (Eloise Klein Healy, 1985), 1 audiocassette.
Lavender Jane Loves Women (1975), 1 record.
Marilyn T. Unrapped: Womanrap Poetry (Marilyn T., 1987), 1 audiocassette.
Holly Near, Fire in the Rain (Redwood Records, undated), 1 audiocassette.
Holly Near, Hang in There (Redwood Records, 1973), 1 audiocassette.
Phranc, I Enjoy Being a Girl (Island Records, Inc., 1989), 1 audiocassette.
Billy Tipton, Hi fi on Piano (Tops, 1958?), 1 phonograph record.
Two Nice Girls, 2 Nice Girls (Rough Trade Records, Inc., 1989), 1 audiocassette.
Lesbians and Other Women, by Lily Pond, 1975 calendar, has been separated to the calendar collection.
The following have been separated to the ONE Library:
Baker, Nikki, The Lavender House Murder, Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press, Inc., 1993 (signed).
Lustig, Harold L., 4 Steps to Financial Security for Lesbian and Gay Couples, New York: Ballantine Publishing Group, 1999.
Middlebrook, Diane Wood, Suits Me: The Double Life of Bill Tipton, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.
Sommers, Robbi, Uncertain Companions, Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press, Inc., 1992.
The following folders have been separated due to physical damage:
"Freeing Ourselves," by members of Women Mobilized For Change, 1973
ACT-UP / LA, 1990
Feminist Women's Health Center Report, circa 1974
Big Mama Rag, 1974
New Directions for Women in New Jersey, 1974
On the Way! Anchorage Women's Liberation Movement, 1974
The Second Wave, 1973
Handwritten Notes, Date unknown
When We Were Outlaws; Idaho, 1980
Cordova Crier, circa 1980-2000
Existence and Location of Copies
A portion of this collection has been digitized and is available through the "LGBT Thought and Culture" collection of Alexander
Street Press at the following link (login required): http://search.alexanderstreet.com/gltc/browse/archive-collection
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Gay activists -- United States -- California
Gay liberation movement -- California -- Los Angeles
Homosexuality -- Periodicals
Homosexuality -- Political aspects
Homosexuality -- Religious aspects
Lesbian authors -- United States -- 20th century
Lesbian feminism -- Archival resources
Lesbians -- Civil rights
Daughters of Bilitis