The B-E collection was started by Dianne Barrett, R.N. and floral designer; and her spouse, Margaret Elfering, an orthopedic
surgeon. Both retired, Barrett and Elfering decided to start the collection as a way to record the stories and legacies of
lesbians and their careers. The collection name is shorthand for their last names (Barrett-Elfering) but is also derived from
the verb "be" as defined as "to exist" or "to occur or take place" as a "means of bearing witness to the stories of lesbians
of different generations, from different walks of life". The mission of this collection as stated by the creators is "to dignify
the accomplishments, pride, and effort lesbians put forth in their careers on their journey in their life. Many of us had
the "don't talk" experience...now we are talking".
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives
and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical
materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.