Alison Bechdel papers
Scope and Contents
The bulk of the collection documents development files for the syndicated comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For and Servants to the Cause are included. Also included are post-syndication/pre-publication edits for Bechdel's book, Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home.
Dates of Materials
- Bechdel, Alison, 1960- (Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Boxes 7-20 of accession 2008-S-104 must be used with great care; researchers may not disrupt the order of materials.
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
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 instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Alison Bechdel, 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
Bechdel earned her A.A. in 1979 from Simon's Rock Early College (now Simon's Rock of Bard College) and her B.A. from Oberlin College in 1981. She applied to many art schools but was rejected. She worked in various publishing industry office jobs in New York City from 1981 to 1985, and as a production writer for Equal Time in Minneapolis, MN from 1986 to 1990. According to the autobiographical The Indelible Alison Bechdel, she began "Dykes to Watch Out For" (DTWOF) as a single drawing labeled: "Marianne, dissatisfied with the morning brew: Dykes to Watch Out For, plate no. 27." An acquaintance recommended she send her work to Womannews newspaper, which began publishing the strip regularly beginning with the July-August 1983 issue. After a year, other outlets began running the strip, and it was syndicated in 1985.
In 1988, Bechdel began a short-lived, page-length strip about the staff of a queer newspaper, titled Servants to the Cause, for The Advocate newspaper. The success of DTWOF allowed Bechdel to quit her day job in 1990 to work on the strip full-time. Bechdel has written and drawn autobiographical strips, has done illustrations for magazines and websites, and has written numerous books, including Dykes to Watch Out For (1986), More Dykes to Watch Out For (1988), New Improved! Dykes to Watch Out For (1990), Unnatural Dykes to Watch Out For (1995), Hot, Throbbing Dykes to Watch Out For (1997), The Indelible Alison Bechdel: Confessions, Comix and Miscellaneous Dykes to Watch Out For (1998), Dykes and Sundry Other Carbon-based Life-Forms to Watch Out For (2003), Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For (2005), Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006), The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For (2008), and Are You My Mother? (2012). Four of Bechdel's books have won Lamba Literary Awards for humor, and The Indelible Alison Bechdel won a Lambda Literary Award in the biography/autobiography category. In February 2004, Bechdel married her partner since 1992, Amy Rubin, in a civil ceremony in San Francisco; they separated in 2006.
30.75 linear feet (41 boxes)
Other Finding Aids
Materials in the 2018-S-0084 accession have been distributed to multiple boxes; large artworks have been unfolded and added to Box 41 in folders, the names of which correspond to the folders they originated in in Boxes 37 and 38.
- American wit and humor, Pictorial
- Bechdel, Alison, 1960-. Dykes to watch out for
- Cartoonists -- United States
- Cartoons (humorous images)
- Financial records
- Lesbian and queer women
- Lesbian artists
- Lesbian community
- Lesbian feminism
- Lesbianism -- United States -- Caricatures and cartoons
- Lesbianism in art
- Lesbians -- United States
- press releases
- Finding Aid to the Alison Bechdel papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- 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)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:23-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2019/02/01: Edited to reflect additional materials
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063