Joan Robins papers, 1972-1991 LSC.1952

Finding aid prepared by Molly S. Jacobs, 2011 and Sabrina Ponce, 2016; 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
(310) 825-4988
Online finding aid last updated 9 March 2017.

Title: Joan Robins papers
Identifier/Call Number: LSC.1952
Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet (1 document box)
Date (inclusive): 1972-1991
Abstract: The Joan Robins Papers contain documents related 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 of Materials: Materials entirely 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: Robins, Joan

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], Joan Robins Papers (Collection 1952). 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 Information

Processed by Molly S. Jacobs, 2011. Description enhanced and further physical processing by Sabrina Ponce in 2017.


Joan Ellen Robins, 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 Robins 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 Robins 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.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive at UCLA.
June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives.
Lesbian activists--California--Archives.
Robins, Joan, 1947---Archives.

Box 1, Folder 1

Women's Liberation and Lesbian Organizing circa 1972 - 1982

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

Scope and Contents 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 March 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 2

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

General Physical Description note: pamphlets; organizational documents; flyers

Scope and Contents note

This folder contains documents from the International Women's Year (IWY) state meeting in California. This includes a pamphlet describing the event, a booklet of resolutions, meeting rules, a report from the CA IWY Nominating Committee, and a flyer entitled "Stop Phyllis Schlafly." Also contains photocopies of a red folder from the IWY meeting and a pin that was attached to the folder. The pin displays the logo from the United Nations' Decade for Women.
Box 1, Folder 3

Assorted materials 1977 May - 1991 May

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

Scope and Contents 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).
Box 1, Folder 4

Reproductive rights 1978 August 15 - 1985 July

General Physical Description note: essay; flyers; newsclipping; correspondence

Scope and Contents 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 Los Angeles 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 5

Family Protection Act 1981 June 17 -1982 March 13

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

Scope and Contents note

This folder contains information pertaining to the Family Protection Act (FPA) 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 and Family Law, and an article from New Women's Times. After this material are 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 describing the FPA, Women Rising Newsletter (1982 May), and a typed essay on FPA.