Finding aid to the Southern California Women for Understanding records, 1975-1998
Table of Contents
Finding aid prepared by Loni Shibuyama, (c) 2012
Processing this collection has been funded by generous grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and Wells Fargo.
- ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
- Southern California Women for Understanding.
- Southern California Women for Understanding Records
- Collection no.
- Date [bulk]
- Bulk, 1980-1995
- Date [inclusive]
- 1.8 linear feet., 1 archive box + 2 archive cartons.
- 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.
[Box/folder #, or item name] Southern California Women for Understanding Records, Coll2011-076, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
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.
[Box 1, Folder 4] Southern California Women for Understanding Records, Coll2011-076, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
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.
This collection is arranged in the following series:
Series 1. General administration
Series 2. Newsletter editorial material and photographs
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
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.
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.
Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama, December 2012.
Controlled Access Headings
- Berzon, Betty
- MacCulloch, Bunny
- Strik, Margo
- Lesbian activists--United States
- Lesbian feminism
- Lesbian rights
- Lesbians--Services for
- Women's rights
Series 1: Series 1. General administration 1975-1998 0.8 linear foot.
This series comprises survey records, manuscripts, correspondence, programs, promotional material, press releases, notes, and other material documenting the activities of Southern California Women for Understanding, 1975-1998. Notably, this series includes a 1988 survey of 1000 lesbian women conducted by the research committee of SCWU. The final report for this survey was written by Judith M. Saunders, Judith D. Tupac, and Bunny MacCulloch.
This series is arranged alphabetically.
Beach Cities chapter records 1985-1987
Lesbian Rights Award Dinner 1979-1994
Lesbian Rights Award Dinner programs 1981-1988
"Lesbian Safer Sex" pamphlet 1993
Lesbian survey 1981-1988 [7 folders]
Press releases 1980-1990
Publicity flyers, mailers, and brochures 1975-1998 [2 folders]
Skits from "Welcome to Our World, A Lesbian Odyssey" 1985
Series 2: Series 2. Newsletter editorial material and photographs 1978-1996 1.0 linear foot.
This series comprises photographs, negatives, slides, editorial copy, correspondence, notes, newsletters, financial records, illustrations, clippings, schedules and other material used in the administration and production of the SCWU newsletter, circa 1978-1996. Included are numerous annotated photographs of SCWU members and events. The bulk of material in this series was primarily created or collected by SCWU chair, Margo Strik.
This series is arranged alphabetically.
Administration 1985-1990 [2 folders]
Board of Directors correspondence 1988-1990
Editor bids for desktop publishing 1989-1991
Copy and resource information 1994-1996 [4 folders]
Name the newsletter contest 1988-1989
Newsletters with annotated photographs 1978-1995 [14 folders]
Scope and Contents note
These folders include photographs of Joyce Gonzalez, Sharon Tobin, Sheila Rosecrans, Myra Riddell, Ivy Bottini, Jan Stone, Holly Near, Judi Doyle, Susan McGrievy, Randi Hoffman, Roberta Bennett, Diane Abbitt, Jean Conger, Dina Bachelor, Lauren Jardine, Eloise Klein Healy, Dusty Pruitt, Cris Williamson, Loretta Coller, and several other SCWU members and board members. Photographs also include images taken at many events such as the International Women's Festival, gay and lesbian pride parades, fundraising events, and the Lesbian Rights Awards Dinners.
Photographs, negatives and slides circa 1985-1995 [7 folders]
Scope and Contents note
These folders include photographs of Bunny MacCulloch, Judi Doyle, Dianne Anderson, Margie Mullen, Phyllis Hanniver, Robin Tyler, Myra Riddell and several other SCWU members and board members. Photographs also include images taken at many events such as SCWU meetings, gay and lesbian pride parades, fundraising events, and the Lesbian Rights Awards Dinners.