Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Irene Wolt papers, 1942-2009 (bulk 1945-2009)
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (181.45 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Title: Irene Wolt papers
    Collection number: 1871
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 30.2 linear ft. (70 document boxes, 2 half document boxes, 4 shoeboxes, 1 flat box)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1945-2009
    Date (inclusive): 1942-2009
    Abstract: Irene Bernice Wolt was a life-long activist and writer in the Los Angeles area who was involved in a diverse range of political, environmental, and social causes such as the anti-war war movement of the 1970s, redevelopment in Santa Monica, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. She was the co-author of Thinking Big: The Story of the Los Angeles Times, Its Publishers, and Their Influence on Southern California (1977). She co-founded Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica non-profit environmental agency in 1985 and was also board president of the June Mazer Archives from 1995-1996. The collection contains materials from her personal and professional life, including journals, correspondence, photographs, audio recordings, personal materials, organizational files, writings, and subject files. The bulk of material dates from 1945 to 2009.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Creator: Wolt, Irene

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information. Journals in Subseries 1.1 are restricted until 2037.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Copyright of this collection has been assigned to UCLA Library Special Collections. The library can grant permission to publish for materials to which it holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or quote must be submitted in writing to UCLA Library Special Collections. Credit shall be given as follows: © [date] The Regents of the University of California on behalf of UCLA Library Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Irene Wolt papers (Collection 1871). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7128141 

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Eve Hochwald, Irene B. Wolt Lifetime Trust, October 2, 2010.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Amanda M. Cheung in 2012-2013 in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Jillian Cuellar.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia. 


    Irene Bernice Wolt was born in Newark, New Jersey, on October 9, 1945. She graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1968 with a B.A. in Psychology after having studied abroad in Mexico, England, and France. She worked in printing collectives in the late 1960s and early 1970s in New York and Wisconsin and moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1971 with her then-husband Paul Becker, where she volunteered for the People's Action Union for Peace and Justice (PAUPJ) and was closely involved with political activism. From 1971-1972, she worked as the general manager of the Peace Press, an alternative progressive print shop in Los Angeles which created posters, flyers and leaflets for clients including the Black Panther Party, Chicano Moratorium, Earth Day Committee, The Pentagon Papers Defense Committee, the United Farm Workers and American Indian Movement, among others. During this time, she devoted herself to causes such as the Anti-Vietnam War movement, the Tucson Grand Jury case, as well as the Pentagon Papers Peace Project which educated the public about The Pentagon Papers trial and its surrounding issues.
    In the 1980s, Wolt joined Fair Housing for Children, an activist organization in Santa Monica representing parents who faced rental discrimination because they had children; she served as an information coordinator and deputy director. She continued her involvement with community activism as a co-chair and steering committee member of the Ocean Park Community Organization (OPCO) from 1981-1983 and was a member of the city council appointed Santa Monica Cable Communications Task Force from 1984-1985. Her interest in environmental activism led her to co-found the Santa Monica non-profit environmental agency Heal the Bay in 1985. She also was the program coordinator for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy from 1986-1990.
    From 1992-1998, Wolt was an active member of the June Mazer Lesbian Archives, serving as a board member and editor of its newsletter, In the Life, and as board president from 1995-1996. She also worked as the Southern California Bureau Chief for the short-lived national women’s publication Lesbian World from 1993-1994. From 1998-2001, she was an independent research scholar with the UCLA Center for the Study of Women.
    With Robert Gottlieb, Wolt co-authored the groundbreaking book titled Thinking Big: The Story of the Los Angeles Times, Its Publishers, and Their Influence on Southern California in 1977. Her written work was also featured in publications such as American Film, Los Angeles Magazine, and the Southern California Review of Journalism. In the last years of her life, she wrote, developed and designed websites and worked as an alternate media specialist from 2001-2009 in the Disabled Students Center at Santa Monica College. She died on July 21, 2009.

    Scope and Content

    The Irene Wolt papers comprise personal and professional materials that document Wolt’s life from 1945 to 2009. These materials reflect Wolt’s involvement with political causes such as the anti-Vietnam War movement, the Pentagon Papers Trial, and the Tucson Grand Jury case. Her role in Santa Monica activism in areas such as environmental issues, neighborhood redevelopment, and fair housing is covered extensively. Her papers also consist of materials documenting her work with social justice causes such as equal rights for women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Her written work on subjects such as Los Angeles history and film is also included.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series and subseries:
    • Series 1: Personal, 1942-2009
      • Subseries 1.1: Journals, 1955-2008
      • Subseries 1.2: Correspondence, 1942-2009
      • Subseries 1.3: Personal materials, 1951-2009
      • Subseries 1.4: Photographs, 1942-2009
    • Series 2: Career, 1966-2009
      • Subseries 2.1: June L. Mazer Archives, 1991-2007
      • Subseries 2.2: Ocean Park Community Organization (OPCO), 1975-1987
      • Subseries 2.3: Organizations and other career materials, 1966-2009
    • Series 3: Writings, 1963-2008, bulk 1970-2008
      • Subseries 3.1: Thinking Big, 1970-2005, bulk 1970-1983
      • Subseries 3.2: Film, 1973-1994
      • Subseries 3.3: Other writings, 1963-2008, bulk 1972-2008
    • Series 4: Subject files, 1965-2009
      • Subseries 4.1: Activism, 1965-2005
      • Subseries 4.2: Gender and sexuality, 1969-2009

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Audio cassettes must be digitized prior to use.
    COLLECTION CONTAINS DIGITAL MATERIALS: Special equipment or further processing may be required for viewing. To access digital materials you must notify the reference desk in advance of your visit.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Wolt, Irene --Archives.
    Women political activists --California --Los Angeles --Archival resources.
    Lesbian activists --United States --Archival resources.

    Related Material

    These collections document the activities of some of the organizations with whom Wolt was involved: