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Michelle Tea Papers
GLC 123  
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The Michelle Tea Papers document the life and creative endeavors of Michelle Tea, a prolific and impactful writer, poet, memoirist, and radical queer feminist who has spent much of her life supporting the creative pursuits of women and queer people in the Bay Area and beyond. The Papers include photographs, personal and professional correspondence, works by Tea and by her peers, zines, Sister Spit records, RADAR Productions records, event ephemera, notebooks, journals, scrapbooks, newspaper and magazine clippings, audiovisual materials, and assorted personal files and objects.
Michelle Tea is a prolific author, poet, and memoirist, and after the success of her first and second books, "The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America" in 1998 and "Valencia" in 2000, Tea became a prominent and influential member of the Bay Area queer literary community. She has written numerous successful books that explore womanhood, queerness, feminism, and growing up, including the memoir "The Chelsea Whistle" (2002), the graphic novel "Rent Girl" (2004), and the novel "Rose of No Man's Land" (2006). More recently, her memoirs reflect on her career as a memoirist and cover her journey into motherhood, "Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms" (2018) and "Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)Fertility" (2022). Tea, born Michelle Tomasik in 1971 in Chelsea, Massachusetts to a working-class family, is a prominent writer and poet in the queer literary scene in the Bay Area since the 1990s. After moving out of her family’s home to find connections in the punk and goth community, Tea moved to Boston to live with her then-girlfriend and became a sex worker. Tea then moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s to connect with other lesbians, queer people, and punks, and to join a vibrant queer literary community. In 1994, she formed the all-girl open mic called Sister Spit with Sini Anderson to carve out a place for women and queer people in the male-dominated slam poetry scene. Tea brought feminists, queer and trans people, artists, and writers together in San Francisco and the Bay Area, working to create a supportive artistic community. Tea worked to collect poems and writings by authors that inspired her and compiled multiple anthologies that highlight the efforts of women and queer authors. Additionally, in 2003, she founded the non-profit organization, RADAR Productions, which supports local female and queer writers, organizes readings and events for local Bay Area artists to showcase their works, and works closely with the San Francisco Public Library.
17 cartons, 2 oversized flat boxes, 1 oversized folder
Michelle Tea retains copyright and literary rights to her own materials.
The collection is rough sorted but not processed. It is open for research and available in the San Francisco History Center, 6th Floor, the Main Library. The slides and photographs are available during the San Francisco Historical Photographs Collection hours.