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Finding aid to the Lynn Lonidier Papers, 1958-1993
GLC 1  
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Biographical note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement note

  • Title: Lynn Lonidier Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1958-1993
    Date (bulk): 1967-1993
    Collection Identifier: GLC 1
    Creator: Lonidier, Lynn
    Physical Description: 9 cartons + 1 oversized box (9.0 cubic feet)
    Contributing Institution: James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    Abstract: The papers include correspondence, manuscripts, drafts, research materials and notes, financial and publishing documents, and photographs that relate to Lonidier's career as a teacher, writer/poet, and lesbian-feminist activist. It also includes objects used in two of her performance pieces.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.


    The collection is open for research, with photographs available for viewing during Photo Desk hours: Tuesday: 1-5; Thursday: 1-5; Saturday: 10-12, 1-5.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright retained by Fred Lonidier.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Lynn Lonidier Papers (GLC 1), Gay and Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.


    The Lynn Lonidier Papers were donated to The San Francisco Public Library by Fred Lonidier in 1995.

    Biographical note

    Lynn Lonidier was born in Lakeview, Oregon on April 22, 1937. Often describing herself as a "card-carrying anarchafeminist," Lonidier was a teacher, author and multimedia and theater performance artist. As a West Coast writer, she was active in the San Francisco literary scene, especially within the lesbian/feminist community, during the 1970s until the time of her death in 1993. Also a musician, she studied composition and collaborated with Pauline Oliveros at the University of California at San Diego. She also attended San Francisco State University where, as a cellist, she majored in performance. She also received a M. A. in Media/Education in 1975 from the University of Washington at Seattle.
    While teaching public school in Northern California in the 1960s, Lonidier participated in the "Poet in the Schools" program. She also helped coordinate the Pegasus Program, sponsored by San Francisco State University, that encouraged public school students to write poetry and publish, under Lonidier's direction, numerous chapbooks. In the mid-1960s, Lonidier helped to design a new series in this program that emphasized the use of audiovisual equipment and techniques in the student creation and performance of poetry and "light show-happenings." She was also interested in encouraging the writing of bilingual poetry, especially Spanish/English, to children in San Francisco's Mission District. During the 1970s and 1980s, she also taught, and lectured on feminist topics in writing and multimedia performance in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, especially at the San Francisco Women's Building, of which she was a "Founding Mother." She was also a "light-optics artist" in 1969 for the Electric Circus in New York City and also worked in the same capacity at the 1970 World's Fair, held in Japan. This kind of "multimedia" aspect, reflected in the combination of poetry, film, animation, two and three dimensional visual arts and music, in a theatrical or "performance art" setting, characterizes her approach to her life work reflected in this collection.
    Lonidier was the recipient of a California Arts Councils grant, a member of the Mission Alliance for a Popular Culture. She was associated with the Feminist Writers Guild as well as other Bay Area based writers' organizations and projects, such as the Lavender Rose Collective founded by Judy Grahn. She performed, read, and lectured extensively throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area at such venues as the Women's Building, Intersection for the Arts, Mission Cultural Center, Small Press Traffic as well as many other San Francisco cultural spaces and cafes. She also participated in the 1988 National Poetry Week Festival held in San Francisco. In the early 1990s, she also attended the International Women Writers Conference held in Argentina.
    Lonidier's published collections of poetry include Clitoris Lost: A Woman's Version of the Creation Myth (1989), The Female Freeway (1970), A Lesbian Estate (1977), Po Tree (1967), and Woman Explorer (1979). Published broadsides include A Jellyfish Swim (1972); Christmas Kitty in Bilingualand, or, What I Did This Year (1986), For Sale: Girl Poet Cheap (1977). She was also published in numerous important poetry journals including The Ladder and the San Francsico Review and poetry collections including She Rises Like the Sun (1989) edited by Janine Canan. Lonidier was also the author of several unpublished novels, plays, and multimedia/theater works which are found in this collection.
    Although her work is eclectic, reflecting an interest in eroticism, satire, surrealism as well as politics and popular culture, she considered her poetry mentors to be Robert Duncan and Jerome Rothenberg. Her work, however, consistently presents a lesbian and feminist consciousness and experience, that enriches lesbian literature, especially in its irreverent postmoderism. Lonidier's friends and colleagues included Karen Brodine, Jess Collins (Robert Duncan's long-time companion), Robert Gluck, Barbara Grier, Judy Grahn, Noni Howard, Pauline Oliveros, and Betty Wong. Lonidier died in San Francisco on May 18, 1993.

    Scope and Contents

    The Lynn Lonidier Papers include correspondence, manuscripts, drafts, research materials and notes, financial and publishing documents, and photographs that relate to her career as a teacher, writer, and lesbian feminist activist. Materials related to her personal life and relationships are not numerous in this collection.
    The creative works, found in Series 1. Works, consist of manuscripts (often including multiple annotated and corrected drafts) of poems, short stories, novels, multimedia theater works, including works for live performance, television and film. Also found in this series is correspondence, notices of public performances, and forthcoming publications. This series is divided into three Subseries: 1A. Poetry and Prose; 1B. Multimedia and Theater Pieces; and 1C. Works by Others. While drafts of poems, novels, and short prose dominate the Works series, also present are numerous creative notes and outlines for plots of proposed fiction, poetry and other genres, such as opera. Nonfiction works include book reviews and essays. Notes for and partial drafts of works are often interfiled with manuscripts and also found in other series such as Subject Files and Personal Papers.
    Correspondence with friends, literary agents, and publishers is not numerous in this collection and is found throughout the collection. Within the Personal Papers series, however, is found correspondence related to Lonidier's publishing and writing career. Correspondence with Ilse Kornreich, found in Subseries 1C. Works by Others, is of a more personal nature. Letters present do reflect Lonidier's literary career and mutual influence women writers, artists, and organizations had on Lonidier's personal life and career. Significant correspondents include: Karen Brodine, Barbara Grier, George Hitchcock, Noni Howard, Ilse Kornreich, Paul Mariah, Pauline Oliveros, Jane Rule, and Betty Wong. A list of correspondents can be found at the end of this finding aid.
    Series 2. Subject Files reflect Lonidier's varied research interests including feminist theory and politics, the environment, education, lesbian and transgender experience and culture, occult and ancient cultures (Egyptian and Mayan), writing and publishing. Series 3. Teaching Materials consists of a variety of educational material from Lonidier's student and teaching career. Series 4. Personal Papers focuses on her academic, publishing, performance and writing career. Documents found here include publishing and financial records as well as manuscripts and research notes for Lonidier's Master's exam and thesis. Also found here are other class notes and creative drafts originating from her educational experience and include the work of Pauline Oliveros. Business or publishing records include such items as daybooks of publishing addresses, submission records, maps, travel guides, personal and publicity photographs. Some general finances including records and photographs of her personal possessions are also found in this series. Series 5. Printed Matter includes printed materials that consist of the numerous magazines, journals, newspapers in which Lonidier's work was published. Also present are several pamphlets and booklets that explicate the types of audiovisual equipment which she used when performing her theater pieces.
    There are two additional cartons of materials, props, and objects used in the multimedia/theater performance pieces. These include "The Dolls' Piece" props found in carton 8 and "The Jar Piece" props found in carton 9. The Lonidier papers represent aspects of her work and life from early in her career to her death in 1993. Beyond the study of Lonidier and her writings during part of the most prolific times of her life, this collection also provides insight into the process of writing and publishing of women and lesbian writers, especially in San Francisco and California, in the last half of the twentieth century.

    Arrangement note

    The collection is arranged in five series: Series 1. Works; Series 2. Subject Files; Series 3. School and Teaching Materials; Series 4. Personal Papers; and Series 5. Printed Matter.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Lonidier, Lynn--Archives
    Oliveros, Pauline, 1932-
    American poetry--Women authors.
    Feminist fiction.
    Gays--California--San Francisco--Social life and customs--20th century.
    Lesbian feminists--California--San Francisco.
    Lesbian poets.|2henn
    Performance artists--California--San Francisco
    Teachers--California--San Francisco.