Old Lesbians Organizing for Change records
Scope and Contents
Included are materials regarding the founding and development or the group's oral herstroy project. The project originated with Arden Eversmeyer after a member of the Houston group she founded in 1987, Old Lesbians Over Age Fifty (LOAF) passed away in 1990 and she realized her stories would be lost.
The collection also contains materials related to OLOC's birthday card project which originated out of the founding mothers' irritation about the ageism in commercial birthday cards. OLOC developed birthday card workshops and eventually produced its own line of birthday cards.
Dates of Materials
- 1986 - 2018
- Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
The book Look Me in the Eye: Old Women, Aging and Ageism by Barbara Macdonald and Cynthia Rich (1983), which exposed harsh realities of ageism on old women, was the inspiration for the founding of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change. In April 1987, the First West Coast Conference by and for old lesbians in Southern California was held at the California State University Dominguez Campus in Carson, California. It was so successful that in August 1989, old lesbians in Northern California sponsored The Second West Coast Conference. Out of the larger group of old lesbians attending these two events came a smaller group of sixteen that wished to concentrate their efforts on challenging ageism. This group founded The Old Lesbian Organizing Committee, which was later renamed Old Lesbians Organizing for Change.
Participation was strictly limited to lesbians sixty years of age and older, although OLOC has always welcomed the support of younger lesbians, encouraging them to work against ageism while respecting the need for separate space for Old Lesbians. To minimize travel expenses for committee members, most meetings during the first two years were held in California. A concerted effort was then made to expand the geographic representation by moving the meetings around the country.
OLOC quickly established a newsletter to reach Old Lesbians around the country and began enrolling subscribers. Committee members focused early efforts on development of educational materials on ageism, using the familiar and effective format of consciousness raising sessions. These materials were pooled and published in The Facilitator's Handbook: Confronting Ageism: Consciousness Raising for Lesbians 60 and Over (early 1990s).
Much of OLOC's early work was done within both the women's and LGBT communities, since ageism was as entrenched in those communities as it was in society at large. Often at its own expense, OLOC provided speakers and presentations to dozens of workshops and conferences, challenging the status quo and demanding to be a part of the process. OLOC felt strongly that younger people couldn't effectively speak for Old Lesbians and insisted that Old Lesbians be allowed to represent themselves. OLOC was a strong and highly visible part of the National Lesbian Conference in Atlanta in 1991 as well as the March on Washington in 1993. By 1992, OLOC sought and gained non-profit status, incorporating in the state of Texas, and in 1994 also achieved tax-exempt status.
In addition to publishing a quarterly newsletter, The OLOC Reporter, and holding biennial Gatherings, OLOC confronts ageism wherever it is found. OLOC has also been associated with the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project, which gathers the unique stories of lesbians who are seventy years of age and older. OLOC operates both as a national organization and through local chapters that have formed across the country.
[source: OLOC Website]
27.5 linear feet (30 containers)
Language of Materials
- Administrative Files
- Shevy Healy papers
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Ageism -- United States
- Computer media
- DVD-Video discs
- Electronic mail
- Electronic records
- Financial records
- Fund raising
- Grant proposals
- Lesbian and queer women
- Lesbian community
- Lesbians -- United States
- Lesbians activists -- United States
- Old Lesbians Organizing for Change
- Older lesbians -- United States
- Older people -- United States
- Older women
- Finding aid for the Old Lesbians Organizing for Change records
- Minimum Finding Aid (Completed)
- Ellice Amanna, Sylvia Hickman, and Madison White
- 2014, 2019
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2018-07-06: 2018 accession added; notes brought up to current standards, finding aid republished.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063