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Finding aid for the Elaine Mikels papers, 1977-1984 LSC.1954
LSC.1954  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Note
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Elaine Mikels papers
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.1954
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.6 linear feet (4 document boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1976-2004
    Abstract: Elaine Mikels was born in 1921 in Los Angeles where she spent much of her early life. Similarly to other closeted women living in the 1940's, she had little concept of how to deal with her own relationships, much less build community though shared interests. In the late 1960s (approximately 1967), Elaine Mikels became, in her own estimation, political, joining the anti-war movement and lesbian-feminist communities while participating in peace action. This collection is comprised of over two-hundred photographs taken by Elaine Mikels of lesbian activist gatherings, lesbian social gatherings and sports clubs, lesbian writing groups, and self-published newsletters. The collection also includes materials related to the publication of Elaine Mikels' autobiography, as well as a copy of the final published version. Also included are personal papers, journals, correspondence and various personal materials.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through out electronic paging system using the "Request items" button.
    Creator: Mikels, Elaine

    Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through out electronic paging system using the "Request items" button.

    Conditions Governing Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Elaine Mikels Papers (Collection 1954). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    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 .

    Processing Note

    Processed by Stacy Wood, 2011. Description enhanced and further physical processing completed by Sabrina Ponce in 2017.
    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.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6956860 

    Biography

    Elaine Mikels was born in 1921 in Los Angeles where she spent much of her early life. Although raised Jewish, she attended Flintridge, a Catholic boarding school. Through different mediums Mikels spoke about her early relationships with women, who identified as straight and later went on to get married. Similarly to other closeted women living in the 1940's, she had little concept of how to deal with her own relationships much less build community though shared interests. During this period she suffered from depression and was hospitalized for severe episodes.
    After WWII, Mikels worked in Germany with the Quakers through the State Department. She was expelled from the program because of her psychiatric record. She returned to the United States and settled briefly in New York. She then travelled for the next several years throughout Europe and the Middle East. In 1951 she settled in San Francisco and pursued social work. In San Francisco she became active in the Mattachine Society and ONE magazine. It was also during this period, in 1959, that she established the Conard House. The Conard House was the first halfway house in San Francisco, specifically conceived as a transitional community for people with mental illness who were returning to San Francisco from Napa State Hospital.
    In the late sixties (approximately 1967), Elaine Mikels became, in her own estimation, political. She joined the anti-war movement, joined lesbian-feminist communities in Oregon and participated in peace action with lesbians in North Carolina. In her own words, "When I broke away from the system in the late 1960's, I went through an amazing personal transformation, not unlike many others during this time of civil strife and the war in Vietnam. I was no longer afraid of authority figures." In 1976 she founded the Older Women's Network in order to bring older lesbian feminists together to share resources and achieve their activist goals. She would go on to participate in similar groups and helped found the group Older Lesbians Organizing for Change later in her life.

    Chronology

    1921 Elaine Mikels born
    1951 Elaine Mikels moves to San Francisco
    1959 Elaine Mikels founds Conard House
    1976 Founding of OWN (Older Women's Network)
    1977 Women's Gathering in Ashland, OR.
    1981 Women's Pentagon Action
    June 12, 1982 Nuclear Disarmament Rally
    June 3 - July 4, 1983 PeaceWalk from Durham, N.C. to Seneca Peace Camp
    1983 Dyke Olympics
    1984 PeaceWalk from Gainesville, FL to Key West, FL.

    Scope and Content

    The Elaine Mikels papers are comprised of photographs taken by Elaine Mikels in several different locations and with different groups of people. Included are photographs of lesbian activist gatherings, lesbian social gatherings and sports clubs, lesbian writing groups, and self-published newsletters. The collection also includes materials related to the publication of Elaine Mikels' autobiography, Just Lucky I Guess: From closet lesbian to radical dyke, as well as a copy of the final published version. Also included are personal papers, journals, correspondence, and various personal materials. The pictures contained in the Mikels collection of Feminary writers, producers, and supporters reflect a new political imperative in Mikel's work. The most prominent participant in the Feminary editorial collective was Minnie Bruce Pratt; photographs of her are contained within the collection. Also represented in the collection are photographs documenting the Women's Pentagon Action, a two-thousand-woman protest that surrounded the Pentagon in 1981. Eventually, Mikels settled in Santa Fe, but most of her photographic collection represents her time in Oregon and North Carolina.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Photographs arranged in chronological order are first in the collection. Thereafter, materials are arranged chronologically with the exception of materials about Just Lucky I Guess that, as a continuous project, are kept together.

    Related Material

    Materials related to Elaine Mikels are also contained in two separate collections at Harvard University in the Schlesinger Library. Both the Cynthia Rich and Barbara McDonald, 1893-2004 collection and the Barbara Deming Papers: Series I-III, 1908- 1985 contain photographs of Mikels's. Elaine also has a published memoir entitled, Just Lucky I Guess: From Closeted Lesbian to Radical Dyke.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive at UCLA.
    June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives.
    Mikels, Elaine
    Lesbian activists--United States--Archives.
    Older lesbians--United States--Archives.
    Photographs.
    Social workers--California--San Francisco.