Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Feminist Archives at In Other Words Feminist Community Center: A Treasure Trove

Off Our Backs, Gay Community News, Sojourner, Sinister Wisdom (still publishing), Aphra, So’s Your Old Lady, Bridges, Quest, Amazon Quarterly, Woman of Power, Womanspirit, The Ladder, Chrysalis, No More Fun and Games, Bluestockings, Feminary, Fireweed, Women’s Studies Newsletter Quarterly, The Second Wave, Calyx, Feminist Broadcast Quarterly of Oregon, Hot Wire, Heresies, Women’s Review of Books (still publishing), Belle Lettres, Beltane Papers, Matrices, Motherlode, Shamate, Reclaiming Quarterly, Lavender Left, Motive, Mothering, Connexions, The Lavender Network, Lesbian Women Inciter.

Do you remember any of these? If you were a feminist, came out as a lesbian or gay woman/person or was involved in women’s community, culture, politics, activism of some sorts, during the seventies, eighties and even nineties, you may have heard of some of these now vintage yet powerful publications. If not, and you have the interest to delve into these extraordinary times, you may want to check out the Feminist Archives. Housed at In Other Words Feminist Community Center, you can immerse yourself in the distinct and diverse cultures, literatures, politics, controversies, passions and activisms of the feminist movements from which they were birthed.

In addition to these publications of herstorical significance (only two are still publishing), there are essays, stories, interviews, debates, newsletters, letters, photographs, graphics, t-shirts and posters focusing on rape, racism, classism, sexuality, gay marches on washington, anti-gay initiatives, collectives, conferences, cancer, disabilities, AIDS, health issues, lesbian child custody, women’s studies, queer studies, music, art, socialist-feminism, poetry and writing of all kinds.

It is somewhat overwhelming to read over the list. And the fact that these archives exist is testament to the concentrated efforts of many dedicated volunteers at In Other Words, past and present.

You may have noticed the “Feminist Archives” banner above the file cabinets and book shelves with silkscreened t-shirts in the background of scenes of “Portlandia: Season 3.”

Please make use of the archives---for research projects, to reminisce, to learn and to remember our herstory. Archives items cannot leave IOW. Tell someone about it. Tell the people at IOW you appreciate it.

Written by Wendy Judith Cutler, writer, teacher, longtime lesbian-feminist supporter of In Other Words who donated the “Feminist Archives” in 2006. I am indebted to IOW’S board, coordinators, interns and volunteers (past and present) and particularly to: Jane Knechtel, board member and ardent supporter of these archives, Sue Burns, who was the amazing bookstore coordinator for many years; and Johanna Brenner, esteemed feminist, socialist, activist, scholar, past board member and ardent supporter and co-founder of In Other Words. We are so fortunate to have her in our lives.

More about In Other Words:

When In Other Words opened in Portland, Oregon in 1993 there were over 200 feminist bookstores in the United States and today there are fewer than 30. In Other Words is the only feminist bookstore in the United States that also functions as a nonprofit organization, which has allowed us to serve a unique role in our communities.

As we have observed the demographic, cultural, and social transformations of Portland’s diverse feminist communities recently, we’ve identified new needs and shifting interests that have inspired us to undertake one of the largest expansions in our organization’s history: we are transitioning into In Other Words Feminist Community Center.

We would LOVE your support! Please consider donating your time or money to In Other Words so we can continue to serve our local communities and build feminist space together.

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