Cataloging DINAH

A couple weeks ago, we finished cataloging Dinah.

Photograph of eight piles of a multi-colored newsletter sitting on a table, each with an index card indicating a date range between 1975 and 1997.

Dinah organized by date and ready to be cataloged.

I like to think of Dinah as one of the crown jewels of the Archives’ collection. The local lesbian newsletter ran from 1975 to 1997, an impressive feat considering nearly every issue had a call for help. Writing, compiling, publishing, printing, and distributing a work like Dinah was incredibly difficult on a shoestring budget with a volunteer staff who never had enough time. Dinah’s pages constantly asked readers for donations to afford paper to print the next issue, or repair the broken mimeograph machine or printer, or even contributions of the time and energy necessary to get copies in the mail.

But somehow, for over twenty years and 100 issues, Dinah survived. Cincinnati women wrote articles, short stories, poetry, and letters. They discussed the meanings of womanhood, lesbianism, race, family, sex, music, and literature. They planned events, meetings, and potlucks. They organized against discrimination and domestic violence, empowering each other on local and global political issues. They won the city league softball championship. They created community, and they recorded it all in the pages of Dinah.

Dinah is a unique and invaluable resource for researchers and community members interested in Cincinnati history, lesbian herstory, community-making, and feminist history. Because of the richness of the stories this newsletter tells, the OLA is committed to preserving it for future generations. The online catalog we are creating — figuring out exactly what we have and writing it all down so you know too — is part of this. Another step is making sure all materials are stored properly to slow down deterioration. For Dinah, that means putting the newsletter into acid-free, lignin-free, high-quality archival folders.

Photograph of metal file cabinet drawer pulled out to reveal 2.5 feet of a multi-colored newsletter placed neatly in manila folders.

Dinah replaced in her drawer in non-archival folders for temporary storage.

If you would like to volunteer your time to help us complete the catalog, or donate money for materials, you can contact us at OLArchives@gmail.com. You can help us make sure Dinah survives for many years to come!

(Another) Open House – Happy Pride!

Please stop by & see what we’ve been collecting, have some refreshments, say hello. Our upcoming Open House will kick off LGBT Pride here in Cincinnati. From 12-2 on Saturday, June 22nd, our little reference library in the basement of Clifton United Methodist Church will be open (usually you need to make a request to visit).

Victoria, our summer intern Annabelle, and I would love to see you and answer any questions.  If you’re a lesbian mother, she’d be interested in talking to you for her project for Women’s Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Also, we discovered we have lots of duplicate copies of some novels, so we’re GIVING BOOKS AWAY! Know that this is highly unusual for an archives. It is only because they are duplicates that we can do this. Our small space also demands it.

NOTE:   we have a new email: OLArchives@gmail.com. (We are no longer using the old yahoo account). 

Join us for an Old Fashioned Potluck Dinner & Dance (with DJ Kim)

We’re happy to say we’ve booked the basement coffeehouse area of Clifton United Methodist Church (Clifton & Senator Place)

Cincinnati, Ohio

for Saturday, March 27, 2010

7:00-8:30    Potluck

8:30-midnight    Dance

Sliding Scale donation at the door:  $5-$20

Bring a covered dish to share. We’ll provide ice, cups, plates, etc.

************* COME CELEBRATE SPRING & GET OVER YOUR CABIN FEVER. OUR SUPPORTERS ARE WELCOME AT THIS ONE, i.e., non lesbian friends, relatives, gay guys, etc. *************