Finding Aid for the Elaine Mikels papers, 1977-1984

Processed by Stacy Wood, 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
Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
© 2013
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Elaine Mikels papers
Date (inclusive): 1977-1984
Collection number: 1954
Creator: Mikels, Elaine 1921-2004
Extent: 4 document boxes (2 linear ft.)
Abstract: 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 has spoken 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. 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 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 to found the group Older Lesbians Organizing for Change later in her life. The Elaine Mikels Papers is predominantly 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 contains over two hundred hand processed photographs. 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. The pictures contained in the Mikels collection of Feminary writer, producers and supporters reflect this new political imperative and the changes in content. 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 it is from this period in Oregon and North Carolina that most of her photographic collection represents.
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.

Sponsor

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 Stacy Wood, 2011.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Elaine Mikels papers (Collection 1954). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6956860 

Biography/History

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 has spoken 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 to found the group Older Lesbians Organizing for Change later in her life.
Feminary began as Feminist Journal for the South, funded through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where it was mimeographed by the group involved. With the inception of the Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists (TALF), the journal shifted focus somewhat and took on more of a lesbian-feminist bent.

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 is predominantly 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 contains over two hundred hand processed photographs. 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. The pictures contained in the Mikels collection of Feminary writers, producers and supporters reflect this new political imperative and the changes in content. 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

Materials 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.

Subjects

Mikels, Elaine --Archives.
Lesbian activists --United States --Archival resources.
Older lesbians --United States --Archival resources.

Genres and Forms of Material

Photographs.

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.

Container List

Box 1, Folder 1

OWN Newsletters. 1977-1982.

Physical Description: stapled, photocopied pamphlets

Scope and Content Note

21 issues of the newsletter "Our OWN", the newsletter for the Older Women's Network.
Box 1, Folder 2

Women's Gathering. 1977.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

7 photos of the Women's Gathering in Ashland, OR.
Box 1, Folder 3

Carpentry Collective. 1978-1980.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

17 photographs of the women's carpentry collective in Eugene, OR.
Box 1, Folder 4

Softball League. 1978-1980.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

36 photos of the lesbian softball league, in game and out.
Box 1, Folder 5

Eugene, OR. 1978-1980.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

26 miscellaneous photographs from this period in Eugene, OR.
Box 1, Folder 6

Feminary. 1981-1984.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

57 photographs including fundrasing activities, a costume party, candid group photos and promotional photos for the publication.
Box 1, Folder 7

Trial Protest. Approximately 1981.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

9 photographs of protesters outside of a trial for a hate crimes defendent. Durham, N.C.
Box 1, Folder 8

Women's Pentagon Action. 1981.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

35 photos of the Women's Pentagon Action.
Box 1, Folder 9

Nuclear Disarmament Rally. June 12, 1982.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

11 photos of the Nuclear Disarmament Rally in Central Park in New York, NY.
Box 1, Folder 10

Peace Walk: Durham, N.C. to Seneca Peace Camp. June 3 - July 4, 1983.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

5 photographs of the Peace Walk from Durham, N.C. to Seneca PeaceCamp. Organized by Elaine Mikels and Mandy Carter.
Box 1, Folder 11

Dyke Olympics. 1983.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

55 photos of the Dyke Olympics outside of Chapel Hill, N.C. One day event on a woman's land, lesbians only. Happened only once.
Box 1, Folder 12

Peacewalk from Gainesville, FL to Key West, FL.. 1984.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

53 photos of the Peacewalk from Gainesville, FL to Key West, FL.
Box 1, Folder 13

Older Women's Network. No Date.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size

Scope and Content Note

45 Miscellaneous photos of the Older Women's Network. 1 note from Elaine Mikels concerning the founding of OWN.
Box 1, Folder 14

Miscellaneous. No Date.

Physical Description: photographs of varying size, notes, cards

Scope and Content Note

1 note from Elaine Mikels about the collection, 27 photos, 1 flyer and 1 card.
Box 2, Folder 1

Published Materials : Lesbians in the Media. 1981-1999.

Physical Description: newsprint, printed paper, photocopies, magazine

Scope and Content Note

Various articles about lesbians in popular culture, the legal system, politics and activist communities.
Box 2, Folder 2

Published Photos. 1984.

Physical Description: photos, photocopies

Scope and Content Note

Contains clippings of photos taken by Elaine Mikels as well as duplicate prints.
Box 2, Folder 3

Journal. 1985.

Physical Description: bound jounral

Scope and Content Note

Personal journal.
Box 2, Folder 3

Journal. 1985.

Physical Description: cloth covered journal, handwritten

Scope and Content Note

Personal journal.
Box 2, Folder 4

Journals. 8/20/85-8/86.

Physical Description: bound, handwritten journals

Scope and Content Note

Personal journals.
Box 2, Folder 5

Journals. 9/24/86-3/13/87.

Physical Description: bound journals

Scope and Content Note

Personal journals.
Box 2, Folder 6

Journals. 1987-1988.

Physical Description: composition notebooks, handwritten

Scope and Content Note

Two composition notebooks, handwritten, personal journals.
Box 3, Folder 1

Correspondence (Between Elaine and Jean). 1990-1992.

Physical Description: typewritten letters, handwritten letters

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Elaine and her good friend Jean.
Box 3, Folder 2

Correspondence (With Publishers). 1990-1992.

Physical Description: typewritten letters

Scope and Content Note

Letters with publishers concerning the publication of Just Lucky I guess, Elaine's autobiography.
Box 3, Folder 3

Sonia Johnson Materials. 1991.

Physical Description: printed paper, photocopies

Scope and Content Note

Materials related to Sonia Johnson, including editorials, opinion pieces, promotional materials.
Box 3, Folder 4

Profiles and Coverage of Elaine. 1992-1993.

Physical Description: newspaper clippings

Scope and Content Note

Profiles and articles about Elaine Mikels, mostly focused on her lifelong activism.
Box 3, Folder 5

Printing/Binding Costs and Receipts. 1993.

Physical Description: receipts, printed paper

Scope and Content Note

Printing and binding documentation about the publication of Just Lucky I Guess.
Box 3, Folder 6

Distribution Information. 1993.

Physical Description: printed paper

Scope and Content Note

Information related to distribution costs and plans for the publication Just Lucky I Guess.
Box 3, Folder 7

Copyright Information. 1993.

Physical Description: printed paper

Scope and Content Note

Documents related to copyright and attributions related to Just Lucky I Guess.
Box 3, Folder 8

Just Lucky I Guess. 1993.

Physical Description: bound book

Scope and Content Note

Final published, bound copy of Just Lucky I Guess.
Box 3, Folder 9

Book Reviews. 1993-1994.

Physical Description: printed paper, photocopies, clippings

Scope and Content Note

Reviews of Just Lucky I Guess from various publications.
Box 3, Folder 10

Book Promotional Materials. 1994.

Physical Description: printed paper, flyers

Scope and Content Note

Promotional materials for the book Just Lucky I Guess, including materials related to readings/signings as well.
Box 3, Folder 11

Journal (Costa Rica). 1995.

Physical Description: individual handwritten sheets of paper, envelope

Scope and Content Note

Personal journal from Elain Mikels' travels in Costa Rica.
Box 4, Folder 1

Clippings. 1997.

Physical Description: newsprint, photocopies, printed paper

Scope and Content Note

Clippings of Elaine Mikels's editorials, articles and other writings.
Box 4, Folder 2

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe, NM. 2000-2002.

Physical Description: printed paper, flyers, bound directories

Scope and Content Note

Church directories, programs and other information for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe, NM.
Box 4, Folder 3

Notes. undated.

Physical Description: handwritten notes, printed paper

Scope and Content Note

Notes and drafts of Just Lucky I Guess, Elaine Mikels's autobiography.
Box 4, Folder 4

Notes (Personal). undated.

Physical Description: handwritten and printed notes

Scope and Content Note

Personal notes.
Box 4, Folder 5

Address Books. undated.

Physical Description: four bound address books

Scope and Content Note

Four bound, differently sized addressed books containing personal, professional and activist contacts.
Box 4, Folder 6

Miscellaneous. undated.

Physical Description: printed paper, photocopies, clippings

Scope and Content Note

Miscellaneous materials from retreats, obituaries, flyers etc.
Box 4, Folder 7

Workshop Materials. undated.

Physical Description: printed paper, handwritten notes

Scope and Content Note

Questionnaires, articles, exercises designed for medication, self-help retreat.
Box 4, Folder 8

Submissions. undated.

Physical Description: printed paper

Scope and Content Note

Materials submitted to different journals, newspapers for publication.
Box 4, Folder 9

Manuscript. undated.

Physical Description: bound printed paper with handwritten notes

Scope and Content Note

Manuscript of Just Lucky I Guess.