Correspondence, photographs, vacation journals, and educational materials, 1940s to 1992, documenting the life of Donna M.
Smith; her relationship with her partner of 40 years, Valerie Jarrard; her relationship to other friends, in particular Celia
Hunter, Ruth Poirier and Doris Pressler; and her involvement with lesbian and gay rights, the environment, and animal welfare.
Donna May Smith was born on May 2, 1919, and was raised in Los Angeles, California. After graduating from high school, she
found employment as a secretary in the offices of a union in the film industry. In 1939, she came out to a small group of
lesbians and soon after she met her partner of 40 years, Valerie Jarrard. When Smith's mother learned of the relationship,
she had her daughter arrested and committed to a mental institution. This experience was briefly documented in Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community (1985) and in Dorothy Engleman's Pride and Prejudice (1992). In the early 1980s, Smith became increasingly involved in lesbian and gay, animal welfare, and environmental organizations.
In her later years she freelanced as bookkeeper and used those skills as Treasurer of the International Gay & Lesbian Archives
and of the Society of Senior Gay & Lesbian Citizens' Project Rainbow. She died in Santa Monica, California on February 22,
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1 archive carton
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