In operation since 1974, The Lesbian Herstory Archives is home to the world's oldest and largest collection of archival, bibliographic and multimedia materials by and about the diverse lesbian experience. LHA is, and has always been, an all-volunteer run, 501(c)3, non-profit educational organization with no paid staff and no government support.
Dyke TV was a groundbreaking public access program founded in 1993 by Mary Patierno, Ana Marie Simo and Linda Chapman. An offshoot of the Lesbian Avengers, the mission of Dyke TV was to incite, provoke and organize communities to create tangible change. The program sought to increase lesbian visibility and to systemically change people's views of lesbians, gay rights and women's rights. Dyke TV comprehensively documented a critical time period in gay and lesbian history and shared stories that were important to lesbian communities when no other programs were.
LHA currently maintains a collection of over 2,000 original Dyke TV Raw Footage video tapes that documents marches and demonstrations in New York City and includes incomplete episodes and compilations of show segments. The ultimate goal is to create a searchable collection of metadata, thumbnails, clips and archival description for this collection, and they have worked with a consultant to create a plan to create this database.
LHA Caretaker and Coordinator Desiree Yael Vester writes: "While there has been a great deal of attention dedicated to the LGBT community in general there is a very large gap due to missing care, attention, funding and support for specifically lesbian cultural creations. LHA is consulted regularly about lesbian herstory and we want to be able to provide access to this invaluable treasure trove of raw video created by and about lesbians containing interviews, performances, protests and every facet of lesbian lives, experiences, activities & contributions to queer community in NYC in the 1990s. There is nothing more powerful for young queer women than seeing who they are reflected in the media around them and identifying themselves as part of a continuum of identity that proves they are not alone, they matter, they can be powerful, they can make change and have an impact."
We are excited that our AwesomeNYC grant will help LHA retrieve and digitize some of their footage to use in their fundraising efforts to help bring their entire archive online.
You can see some of the footage that has already been digitized on their site at the Pratt Institute School of Information.
Funded by New York City, NY (September 2019)