Finding aid to the Ester F. Bentley photographs and papers, circa 1940-2003
Table of Contents
Finding aid prepared by Loni Shibuyama, (c) 2013
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
- ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
- Creator - Creator
- Bentley, Ester F., 1915-2004
- Ester F. Bentley Photographs and Papers
- Collection no.
- Date [inclusive]
- circa 1940-2003
- 2.5 linear feet., 1 archive carton + 1 archive binder box + 2 flat archive cartons + 1 banner + 1 map case drawer.
- Photographs, negatives, correspondence, awards, clippings, audiocassettes, a videocassette, buttons, a banner, and memorabilia, circa 1940-2003, from lesbian activist, community organizer and social worker, Ester F. Bentley. The collection documents Bentley's professional career in community organizing in Kentucky and California, often working with disabled children. In particular, this collection also includes hundreds of photographs of Bentley and her friends and family throughout Bentley's life.
[Box/folder #, or item name] Ester F. Bentley Photographs and Papers, Coll2013-017, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.
Ester Frances Bentley was born on October 24, 1915, in Louisville, Kentucky. She attended Spalding College where she played basketball and served as President of her senior class. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in education at Spalding College in 1941. She went on to be the first female chemist in paint research for the Jones-Dabney company. During the war years, Bentley served as a director of the USO in programs aiding war workers and their families.
In 1947, she received a fellowship to pursue a Master of Science in social work at the National Catholic School of Social Service at the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the Catholic University of America in 1949. Upon completion of her Master's degree, Bentley became Director of the Kentucky Society for Crippled Children. From there, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as the field representative for the United Catholic Community Defense Services. Her primary focus was on the western region of the United States. Bentley eventually moved to the west coast where she became Director of Community Planning and Development in San Bernadino, California, and later, Executive Director of the Girl Scout Council in Santa Ana, California. In 1965, Bentley became Editor of the Directory of Health, Welfare, and Recreational Services; and a case worker for the California State Department of Social Welfare at the Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, California. Between 1966 and 1974, Bentley taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her final professional role was as a specialist in the Regional Center of Orange County, serving the developmentally-disabled.
As a lesbian activist, Bentley was a founding member of the Coalition of Older Lesbians (CoOL), and she served as a member of the Senior Program Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. She was also a member of the Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance, as well as a long-time advocate for gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church.
Ester Bentley died on January 20, 2004, at the age of 88 in Los Angeles, California.
Ester F. Bentley Photographs and Papers, Coll2013-017, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.
Scope and Content
The collection comprises photographs, negatives, correspondence, awards, clippings, audiocassettes, a videocassette, buttons, a banner, and memorabilia, circa 1940-2003, from lesbian activist, community organizer and social worker, Ester F. Bentley. Materials in this collection document Bentley's work in the USO and her professional career spent in community organizations in Kentucky and California, often working with disabled children. Also documented is Bentley's participation in gay and lesbian organizations such as the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance (UGLA). In particular, this collection includes hundreds of photographs of Bentley and her friends and family throughout Bentley's life.
Materials from Ester Bentley's scrapbook is at the beginning of this collection. The remaining folders/items are arranged alphabetically.
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.
Donated to ONE Archives in 2005, donor unknown.
Collection processed by Simbree Touchstone and Loni Shibuyama, March 2013.
[Ester F. Bentley papers]. UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.
The following compact discs have been separated from the collection and cataloged into ONE Archives Audio CD collection:
Reprise Records Presents the Music of the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards [2 CDs]
Reprise Records Presents the Music of Outfest 99, Welcome Home, Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival [1 CD]
Controlled Access Headings
- Catholic gays--United States
- Lesbian activists
- Lesbian clubs--Los Angeles
Series 1: Ester F. Bentley collection
Scrapbook album 1957-1958, 1982
Address book circa 1970-2000
Audiocassettes circa 1969-2000 4 audiocassettes.
Scope and Contents note
Includes recordings of proceedings at the National Conference for Social Welfare in New York City in 1969; music; and church services and choir performances at St. Dominic Church in Los Angeles.
Award plaque and certificates Undated, 2001-2003
[Belts with attached buttons] circa 1970-2003
California State Assembly [achievement recognition certificate presented to] Ester Bentley July 21, 2002
Coalition of Older Lesbians (CoOL) banner circa 1990-2003
Correspondence and other personal papers circa 1990-2000
Delta Epsilon Sigma documents circa 1980
The Lumen Christi Award Presented to Ester Bentley February 4, 2001
Photographs and negatives circa 1940-2003 354 photographs: b&w, col. 6 negatives: b&w.
Videocassette: Women's Night [at the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center], 20th Anniversary 2003 1 videocassette (VHS).
[White buttoned jacket with handwritten messages] circa 1970-2003