This month the Main Library is hosting FIERCE SISTAHS! Bay Area Lesbians of Color 1975 - 1995, an exhibition of historical ephemera and photos curated by Lenn Keller, archivist, curator, photographer, filmmaker, and founder of the Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project. The exhibit is in conjunction with and in celebration of Oakland Pride 2014. It will be on display through September 2nd.
Keller writes about her personal archive, "I had an instinct that it was important to save these things, but I did [it] not knowing how or when they would have significance in the future. I wish I had saved and documented more."
Is it really important to save and preserve the paper ephemera* all around us? You bet it is! Library collections like the one we have in the Oakland History Room, academic and organizational archives, and personal archives like this one are built on the preservation of transitory things that other people would just throw away. And not just paper; it's important to preserve those photographs, home movies, menus, and newsletters. We build our understanding of the past on just such material as this.
Want to know more about Oakland Pride and East Bay LGBT history? The Main Library can help you! The Oakland History Room has files of paper ephemera on the topic. Ask for "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community." The Oakland History Room and the Magazine and Newspaper Room can also support your research with microfilm of local and regional newspapers, older magazines, and lots and lots of indexing to help you find what you're looking for. Our collections also include many older and hard-to-find works of fiction and non-fiction on LGBT topics, many by local authors.
Want to know more about this year's Oakland Pride? Here's where to look.
*Ephemera. What's that? From the word "ephemeral," meaning "short-lived," ephemera is memorabilia, typically paper, that are intended by their creators to have only short-term use or importance.