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Dyke TV records

Identifier: SSC-MS-00656

Scope and Contents

The Dyke TV records contain show master tapes, raw footage, and DVD dubs for Dyke TV programs. The materials cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to lesbians in sports, artists, gay pride, childhood and coming-of-age stories, political issues, gay and lesbian civil rights, sexuality, incarcerated women, lesbian parenting, HIV/AIDS and other health issues, incest survivors, lesbian domestic violence, and women's rights. Videos include the On the Road segments taken during a cross country trip with stops in Brandon Teena's hometown in Nebraska, a controversial all-women's camp in rural Mississippi and the first Pride March in Missoula, Montana. Among the administrative records is program research on incarcerated women, materials from numerous fundraising screeenings and parties that funded production, and memorabilia including a large march banner, a copy of the Lesbian Avengers' Handbook: A Handy Guide to Homemade Revolution, and correspondence.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1987 - 2007


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections, with the following exception:

Boxes 114-118 contain moldy raw footage. These boxes are closed to research, until the tapes can be cleaned.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that they own copyright, Sangfroid LLT (the production company that created Dyke TV) has retained copyright in works donated to Smith College. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, or which may regard materials in the collection not created by Sangfroid LLT, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Dyke TV was created by Ana Maria Simo (playwright and co-founder of Lesbian Avengers), Linda Chapman (theater director and producer) and Mary Patierno (independent film and video maker). The first show aired in New York City, June 8, 1993. Dyke TV produced national documentary television programming, by and for lesbians, designed to empower and to enhance the visibility of diverse lesbian communities. It mixed art, news, sports, political commentary, health coverage, music, and video as it examined issues of lesbian culture. The program reached over 6.5 million households nationwide, and was screened at many national and international film and music festivals. The half-hour weekly cable television show featured a five-minute news segment covering issues relevant to lesbian lives from a lesbian perspective; an in-depth look at an issue of particular interest to the lesbian community, including such topics as the International Dyke March at Stonewall 25, the murder of Brandon Teena, Camp Sister Spirit under siege, lesbians in the military, domestic partnership, incarcerated women, state-wide ballot initiatives and other anti-lesbian and anti-gay activities of the Christian Right; and interviews with lesbian artists, showcasing their work. Dyke TV won a Hometown Video Festival Award in 1994.


178.771 linear feet (186 containers)

0.0679 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Dyke TV was a weekly television series produced by and for lesbians and distributed from 1993 to 2005 as a way of empowering the lesbian community and increasing visibility and ending isolation of lesbians. It was founded by the Lesbian Avengers, and was part of their education and activist program. This collection includes video tapes, raw footage, and DVD dubs of Dyke TV programs, as well as administrative files and memorabilia. The materials cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to lesbians in sports, artists, gay pride, childhood and coming of age stories, political issues, gay and lesbian civil rights, incarcerated women, sexuality, lesbian parenting, HIV/AIDS and other health issues, incest survivors, lesbian domestic violence, and women's rights.


The collection is divided into 4 series.


  1. Episodes
  2. Raw footage, compilations, and unedited segments
  3. Administrative
  4. Dyke TV raw footage transferred from the Lesbian Herstory Archives

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Some episodes have been digitized and are available online. For items that have not been digitized, please consult with Special Collections staff to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Dyke TV Records were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by producers Sally Sasso and Mary Patierno in 2009 and 2018.

Additional Dyke TV footage was gifted to the Sophia Smith Collection by the Lesbian Herstory Archives in 2021.

Additional Formats

Selected Dyke TV episodes and the complete show logs have been digitized and are available to view online.

Processing Information

In 2019, the collection was processed by Madison White, Ellice Amanna, and Scott Biddle. The collection was split into three series (episodes, raw footage, and administrative papers), and all accessions were merged into one coherent structure. Some materials were weeded, including duplicate episode tapes that were moldy. The collection was also rehoused.

In 2020, Marlene Znoy and Sylvia Hickman transcribed the show logs into the description in Series 1. See that series for more details.

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created.

Accession 2021-S-0006, Dyke TV raw footage transferred from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, was added as an additional series in 2021.

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. The following changes were made in this collection: Accession 2021-S-0006, Boxes 1-72 renumbered as Boxes 120-186



Finding aid to Dyke TV records
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Madison White, Ellice Ammana, and Scott Biddle
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:20-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 03/20/2018: This finding aid was updated to reflect accurate copyright ownership and that donor has agreed for video to be published on open internet.
  • 9/17/19: Updated to reflect new arrangement
  • 2020-05-01: Transcribed show logs
  • 2020-06-29: Description added for born-digital content.
  • 2021-04-19: Accession 2021-S-0006 added
  • 2023-02-20: Removed listings for tapes that were not actually received as part of 2021-S-0006.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063