The fonds consists of records of an oral history project about lesbian lives in Toronto, conducted by members of the Lesbians Making History (LMH) Collective from 1985–1987, and in 2000. It was inspired by oral history projects of gay lives coming out of Buffalo, Boston and San Francisco. The colle…
18 cm of textual records
20 cassette tapes
72.8 MB of digital records
Many of the cassette tapes have degraded. Access copies of digital files have been noise reduced to improve clarity.
History / Biographical
The Lesbians Making History Collective was a small organization of women, based in Toronto, who collected the oral histories of older lesbian women from 1985–87, completing a final interview in 2000. Collective members included Rachel Epstein, Maureen FitzGerald, Amy Gottlieb, Didi Khayatt, Mary Louise Noble, and Lorie Rotenberg. The group made collaborative decisions about how the project would be carried out, and employed feminist oral history methods to do their work.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of records of an oral history project about lesbian lives in Toronto, conducted by members of the Lesbians Making History (LMH) Collective from 1985–1987, and in 2000. It was inspired by oral history projects of gay lives coming out of Buffalo, Boston and San Francisco. The collective interviewed 9 women about their experiences as ‘out’ lesbians in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. The collective slogan, “We’re interested in older women,” reflected their interest in capturing rarely documented stories of lesbian life during the pre– Gay Liberation period. The LMH collective recorded interviews and their planning meetings on audio cassette tape, and kept a select record of paper documents related to their work.
The LGBTQ Digital Oral History Collaboratory, a SSHRC-funded project directed by Prof. Elspeth Brown from 2014-2019, collected, processed, and digitized this collection for the CLGA. The main people who worked on the project include: Elspeth Brown, Cait McKinney, and Rebecka Sheffield. The main person the Collaboratory worked with from LMH was Maureen Fitzgerald, an original member of the collective.
Full fonds description in progress. Contact the archvies for more information on the fonds.
The collection is open to researchers. The audio of interviews with Dorothy Knight may not be circulated online and so can only be accessed via the original audio cassettes.
Researchers quoting from the Dorothy Knight interviews must use pseudonyms provided in the interview transcripts, rather than names provided on original audio recording. Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials.
Cassette tapes have been digitized to preserve audio recordings.