Finding Aid for the Joan Robins papers, 1972-1985

Processed by Molly S. Jacobs, 2011; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
© 2013
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Joan Robins papers
Date (inclusive): 1972-1985
Collection number: 1952
Creator: Robins, Joan
Extent: 1 document box (.5 linear ft.)
Abstract: The Joan Robins Papers contain documents relating to various lesbian and feminist organizations and conferences. Also included is information related to organizing in defense of the Equal Rights Amendment and reproductive rights and against the Family Protection Act.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Language of the Material: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Provenance unknown. This collection is part of an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) and the UCLA Library.


The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive  at UCLA is an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives , the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW)  and the UCLA Library . These collections expand the pool of primary source materials available to researchers and to the community at large. This partnership was initiated by CSW and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to inventory, organize, preserve, and digitize more than eighty Mazer collections pertaining to lesbian and feminist activism and writings.

Processing Note

Processed by Molly S. Jacobs, 2011.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Joan Robins papers (Collection 1952). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6962924 


Joan Ellen Robbins, also known as Joan Hoffman, was born in 1947. She was the co-founder, along with Dorothy Bricker and Marianne Yatrovsky, of the first consciousness - raising (CR) group in Los Angeles. They convened at the Haymarket Center. The group grew rapidly and was necessarily moved to a church in South Central Los Angeles that would accommodate their larger attendance. The group was notorious for dramatic and aesthetically detailed protesting tactics.
Joan Robins also started the Women's Center in Los Angeles, which hosted various CR groups as well as labor union groups and lesbian activist groups that had splintered from the Gay and Lesbian Center of Los Angeles. The group Lesbian Feminist, of which Robbins was an original member, originated at the Women's Center. Lesbian Feminist held the first formalized dialogue concerning divergences and convergences as well as shared political goals for gay, straight and bisexual people. They also interrupted the meetings of The National Organization for Women (NOW) in order to bring lesbian visibility to the center of their agenda. Joan Robbins was also a founding member of the anti-rape squad.
In 1968, Joan Robbins wrote the Handbook of Women's Liberation alongside her then husband, Frank Hoffman. The handbook was only available at the Women's Center.
In 1973, Joan Robbins helped to organize the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women. She became their director of education in 1975 and handled media appearances, commentary and outreach programming. She eventually left the organization as its rapid growth could not be supported by its infrastructure.
She attended the University of Southern California School of Social Work and is a licensed medical social worker. She also holds a Bachelor's degree from University of California Los Angeles.

Scope and Content

The Joan Robins papers contain documents related to various lesbian and feminist organizations and conferences, as well as several personal items. These papers include organizational documents, flyers, information pamphlets, newsletters, press releases, and handwritten notes. The collection dates from 1972-1985.

Organization and Arrangement

Materials are arranged chronologically.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Robins, Joan, 1947- --Archives.
Lesbian activists --California --Archival resources.

Container List

Box 1, Folder 1

International Women's Year, CA State Meeting 1977 June 16-19

Physical Description: pamphlets; organizational documents; flyers

Scope and Content Note

This folder contains documents from the International Women's Year (IWY) state meeting in California. This includes a pamphlet describing the even, a booklet of resolutions, meeting rules, a report from the CA IWY Nominating Committee, and a flyer entitled, "Stop Phyllis Schlafly."
Box 1, Folder 2

International Women's Year, CA State Meeting - Folder 1977 June 16-19

Physical Description: folder; pin

Scope and Content Note

This folder contains a red folder from the IWY meeting. The folder is empty, save for a pin attached to the inside. The pin displays the logo from the United Nations' Decade for Women.
Box 1, Folder 3

Reproductive Rights - Miscellaneous 1977-1985

Physical Description: essay; flyers; newsclipping; correspondence

Scope and Content Note

This folder contains an essay by Joan Robins, entitled, "Reproductive Rights: Back to Start" (no date). It also includes flyers for five different reproductive rights events (one in Spanish); a news article (photocopy) from the LA Times, entitled, "Terrorists and the Issue of Abortion" (1985 Jan 6); a letter from Joan Robins on behalf of the Coalition for Reproductive Rights (1985 March 20); handwritten notes; and an information sheet on an "Anti-Choice Initiative - A Cynical Ploy."
Box 1, Folder 4

Family Protection Act 1981-1982

Physical Description: Congressional Record; newsclipping; organization documents; pamphlet; press release; flyers

Scope and Content Note

This folder contains information pertaining to the Family Protection Act and Women's Rising, an organization that sought to fight against the FPA. Includes Congressional Record, vol 127 no 92 (1981 June 17); An article from Vogue, entitled, "The New Righteousness - Changing our Laws, Your Life" (1981 Nov); two fact sheets on the FPA from the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Center of Women & Family Law; and an article from New Women's Times. The folder also contains the following documents pertaining to Women Rising: a Unity Statement; Goals and Outcomes of the Women Rising Conference (1982 Feb 21); "What you can do - a 10 point plan;" program from Women Rising Conference (1982 Mar 13); press release; flyers; handwritten notes from meetings and describing the FPA; Women Rising Newsletter (1982 May); and a typed essay on FPA.
Box 1, Folder 5

Women's Liberation and Lesbian Organizing undated

Physical Description: pamphlets; handwritten statements; flyers; correspondence; journal article; newsletters; greeting cards

Scope and Content Note

This folder contains documents related to Women's Liberation, including: pamphlets from the Women's Equity Action League; a handwritten statement on the Equal Rights Amendment; a statement regarding the Women's Liberation Newsletter; a flyer celebrating Susan B. Anthony's Birthday; and a journal article, entitled "The Political Economy of Rape and Prostitution" (1976). The folder also includes a poem, entitled, "Lesbian," by Maria Chardon; a review of an Evan Paxton Comedy written by Joan Robins; a coming out letter submitted to the Ms. editorial staff (three copies, two signed); flyers for lesbian events; two registration forms - one for the Celebration of Female Sexuality (1975 Mrach 8) and the other for a Lesbian Sexuality Group (no date); a fact sheet on gay venereal diseases; an issue of The Lesbian Tide (1975 July-Aug) and an issue of the Capitol Hill Newsletter (1982); lesbian greeting cards (1972); handwritten notes; and a "Sum-up" of IWCD, a coalition of activist organizations.
Box 1, Folder 6

Miscellaneous undated

Physical Description: greeting card; flyers; book; handwritten note; report

Scope and Content Note

This folder contains a greeting card from Joan Robins (1989 November 26); three flyers - a going away dinner for Joan Robins and Denise Wheeler (1991 May 25), an art exhibit (1977 June 16), and the deportation of Salvadorean refugees (no date); a book entitled, "Ten Heavy Facts About Sex;" a handwritten note with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of various organizations; and the "Report to the American People on the Financing of Congressional Election Campaigns" (1977 May).