The Archives will be showing a film on LGBT history this coming Sunday Oct 20th
followed by a discussion, closing with a story time performance by SPARKLE LEIGH
Clifton United Methodist Church – the parlor
Please join Archives volunteers for a stimulating early afternoon!
OUR AMAZING YEAR SO FAR—2019
by Phebe (Karen) Beiser, Co-Founder & Co-Director
In January Annabelle & Phebe spoke to the monthly PFLAG meeting. We also had an Ohio State University librarian come to see our collection; she was very interested in our three feminist bookstore collections.
February saw two researchers. On February 22nd, Laura flew into town from NYC to research what would become a film starring Cincinnati’s own Michael Chanak.
Great Big Story, an award-winning global media company owned by CNN, eventually released “The Words Matter: One Voice Can Make a Difference.” Michael initiated the struggle for inclusion of sexual orientation in Procter & Gamble’s nondiscrimination policy in 1987. You can view the documentary on YouTube. We congratulate Michael for his dedicated work early on as well as his continuing support for the Archives!
Ken Schenk, author of the book LGBTQ Cleveland, came to research what will become LGBTQ Cincinnati. The book will be released for Pride next June and Ken will come to Cincinnati for a reception.
March and April allowed us to rest and enjoy the beginning of spring …..
In May Phebe recorded a podcast interview (to be aired in the summer) with Chris Fortin of OutCincinnati (Radio Artifact). He and Melissa interviewed her about the Ohio Lesbian Archives history and collection. She also spoke to a CItyBeat reporter which developed into …..
….. the lead article in its annual Pride Issue. The Archives had two pages of publicity!
Panels telling the stories of “50 Years of LGBTQ History in Greater Cincinnati” were borrowed by the downtown public library for the first ever display for Pride Month. Second Sunday in Main (OTR) showed the panels during its focus on Pride. The panels were created by Nancy Yerian/Vibrant Kin (with grant money from People’s Liberty) and displayed at Pride 2017, NKU, Mt. Auburn Presbyterial Church, and OutReels 2018.
On June 15th, a contingent of lesbian and gay activists from Dayton traveled to OLA to see our collection. They were beginning the Greater Dayton LGBTQ+ Her/Herstory Project. Jerry Lyndon Mallicoat interviewed and recorded Phebe for StoryCorps’ focus on lgbtq people for the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall.
Orie Givens of Spectrum News (Columbus) drove down June 20th to do a video interview on the Archives. Phebe and a young African American lesbian visitor spoke for this newscast.
The Taft Museum invited Vic Ramstetter and Phebe Beiser to do a talk for its monthly Women’s Luncheon on June 26th. Phebe created a PowerPoint showing people and items associated with OLA’s herstory. The event was well-attended and longtime supporters and friends Maggie & Mary treated them to lunch at the Café.
July saw new volunteers Deb Meem and Michelle Gibson, a power couple of PhD retired professors from the University of Cincinnati. Deb was Director of Women’s Studies, Gender, & Sexuality. Wow! Deb was responsible for hanging up most of the artwork in the Archives in preparation for our Open House September 7th.
In August Victoria Ramstetter and Phebe Beiser (founders & directors of the Archives) were interviewed twice – 1) WVXU 91.7 FM, Michael Monks’ “Inside Edition” program on Cincinnati happenings (27th) and 2) an hour+ video interview for Ohio History Connection, part of the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. Video done as part of celebrating the 100th anniversary since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. The organization is focusing on telling the story of over 100 years of women’s activism. It will take the form of an exhibit that will travel the state. Our interview is part of an oral history with current female leaders and activists in Ohio. Vic and Phebe shared their decades of activism.
Saturday, September 7th 6-9:30pm: The 30th Anniversary of the Ohio Lesbian Archives! Since our beginning in 1989 in a 3rd floor room above the Crazy Ladies Bookstore, the Archives has been collecting books, periodicals, music, photographs, posters, and realia focusing on lesbian history. We include GBTQ histories and other materials as well. More than a reference library, OLA is evolving into a museum with trophies, political buttons, statues, a labyris, and gay history card games. We are the only known collection of its kind in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana region. Our Celebration is at Clifton United Methodist Church in the meeting room on the lower level. We are proud to have a room in a church of an accepting congregation. This marks our 13th year here.
As most of you know, June is Pride Month. This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City, the beginning of the gay movement (original name).
At the age of 69, I am now an elder in the Greater Cincinnati community. Young people want to know what it was like to be lesbian in the 1970s. I came out at 21 over Christmas vacation. I followed Jean, a “known lesbian,” home to Ann Arbor. We both knew she would bring me out. But I knew I was a lesbian much earlier, in my teens (It may have begun as a crush on my babysitter!), but I was also aware that I couldn’t speak of it. The word then was homosexual. I have no idea how I knew not to go blabbing about this. When you don’t see images of gay people on tv, film, newspapers or magazines, you’re pretty much invisible.
Luckily in high school I had a friend named Barbara. She must have had early gaydar because she began sharing about her crush on the gym teacher. I had a terrible crush on my journalism teacher. We were sisters of the heart.
I call these times the Era of B.E.–Before Ellen (DeGeneres, that is).
I guess by the end of June I’ll be famous on a small scale anyway. With this upcoming 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, some people working on the Pride Committee are making a video documentary of sorts. They wish to speak with those who were around Back in the Day. So I’ll do a thirty minute talk then they’ll edit it down to a few minutes. After this, I’ll be interviewed by Chris Fortin of Out Cincinnati on Radio Artifact. Finally, Victoria Ramstetter and I, co-directors of OLA, will speak on the Archives late June at the Taft Museum Women’s Club luncheon.
By July I will just relax on my backyard deck. Happy Pride, everyone!
~ Phebe (Karen) Beiser
On Monday, Annabelle and Nancy and I met Nina and two friends at the Ohio Lesbian Archives. Nina went wild listening to audio cassettes–yes, you read that right–audiocassettes of women’s, i.e., lesbian, music from earlier decades.
One friend was enthralled about the different sizes and shapes of books. They are creations, after all, and the ’70s and ’80s in particular had several grassroots women’s presses and publishers who were quite creative.
The mantra was Enthusiasm.
It was gratifying to have visitors–3 in all–yet their appreciation shown through their youthful enthusiasm was quite wonderful. Visits keep us going. Indeed, the Archives just sits there waiting to be used. Whether research for a school paper or curiosity and wonder, we are happy to open the door. Because we are a handful of volunteers, you do need to make an appointment first. [Contact us through our website OLArchives@gmail.com, this blog, or leaving VM @ 513-256-7695 (phebe’s cellphone)].
When will we meet you?
Phebe (Karen) Beiser, for the Archives
Nancy and I have been meeting weekly to input the hundreds of journals, magazines, and newsletters the Ohio Lesbian Archives has. Although detailed work, it is necessary to know our holdings.
We’re using Excel to keep it simple and share-able. For now, Nancy is entering the data and I am reading out Volume, Issue, Date, Publisher. I actually have the fun part for I get to glance at the cover and first pages. From time to time, I’ll exclaim, “Oh, look who was published in this early issue of Conditions.” Or, “Did you realize? X has a Cincinnati connection.” And the librarian in me still becomes excited when we discover a Volume 1, Issue 1.
This might sound boring to some of you (if you’ve even made it as far as this paragraph). But archives need to know what we have. And we want to know. We want to know what we’re spending time and resources on saving. I’d like to offer some issues to lesbian archives in other regions of the country, e.g., if we have a newsletter from Oklahoma, then it would be better placed in that state or a collection that covers the western region. We are using our space well in the church basement but we have boxes yet to unpack. Surprises to find, magazines to catalog.
If you live in the greater Cincinnati area, we are happy to involve you. Even an hour sporadically will help. Thanks,
Phebe for the Archives
It’s hard to believe but the Ohio Lesbian Archives is officially 25 years old!
Back in spring of 1989, a handful of us began meeting regularly to collect and preserve the wonderful (and sometimes rare) materials we’d held on to. Vic and Phebe, the two co-directors, actually had talked about a Cincinnati Lesbian HERstorical Society years before without any other interested women coming forth at the time. Then we became one of the first groups to have an office at the Crazy Ladies Bookstore & Center after it opened (the owned building on the corner across from Hoffner Park). The Archives (OLA) remained at this Center until the building was sold.
We’ve been housed in Clifton United Methodist Church since summer 2006. This is where we’ll host our birthday party–complete with a cake! We will have an Open House – refreshments – readings – informational moments – refreshments – old friends & new — and did we say it was FREE? A celebration is just that — a gathering of like minded people (men and non-lgbtq’s invited) complete with refreshments and inspiration.
So stop by or spend the evening – 7:00-9:00 p.m. Saturday, October 18th. Come through the glass doors on Senator Place (Church is at corner of Clifton & Senator just north of the big Ludlow & Clifton intersection).
UPDATE Friday, Dec 13: VIC & I ARE CANCELLING DUE TO EXPECTED SNOW STORM TONIGHT. SORRY!
Put our semi-annual Open House on your calendar now!
Please come & enjoy delicious refreshments, mingle with old friends (and new) at the Ohio Lesbian Archives, located in the basement of the Clifton United Methodist Church at Clifton & Senator Place, Cincinnati, OH 45220.
Jewelry Sale: Rainbow & Goddess – All proceeds donated to OLA.
We will raffle off prizes & have duplicate books & VHS tapes (remember those?) to give away.
PLEASE NOTE: Vic is turning 60 & instead of a big party she would like her friends to donate to OLA & come enjoy several delicious homemade birthday cakes (she is a great cook!). See you there!
We will be open between 11 am – 3 pm