The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives is the largest major archive on the West Coast dedicated to preserving and promoting lesbian and feminist history and culture. By creating a safe place for women to explore the richness of lesbian history, perhaps adding to it themselves, we are paving the way for future generations to understand more fully their own identity and history and help maintain this vital link to their own past. Their mission is to collect, preserve, and make accessible lesbian, feminist, and women’s history as a means of providing a link between multi-generational lesbians.
The Archives, originally called the West Coast Lesbian Collections, was founded in Oakland California, in 1981. Six years later it was moved to Los Angeles by Connexxus Women’s Center/Centro de Mujeres. The Archives acquired its present name after the death of June Mazer, in honor of her work as a community activist and invaluable supporter of the Archives.
The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives remains the largest archive on the West Coast that is dedicated exclusively to preserving lesbian history, and to guaranteeing that those who come after us will not have to believe that they “walk alone.” The Archives is committed to gathering and preserving materials by and about lesbians and feminists of all classes, ethnicities, races and experiences. Included are personal letters and scrapbooks, artwork, manuscripts, books, records, newspapers, magazines, photographs, videotapes, flyers, papers of lesbian and feminist organizations, private papers, and even clothing, such as softball uniforms from the 1940s and 50s. The Mazer Video Archive contains event documentation, personal oral histories, and talks about the collections by community members.
Hundreds of lesbians and feminists have been inspired to donate artifacts of their personal and collective histories. The Archives encourages all lesbians to deposit the everyday mementos of your lives so that others can discover them in the future.
In 1989, the archives earned 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and received donated space from the City of West Hollywood, where it remains today - at the same address as the ONE Archives Gallery and Museum.
- Lillian Faderman