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, 1992.
2 archive boxes
0.7 linear feet
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