Finding Aid to the Woman's Building Records, 1964-1992, 2011 Coll2014-126

Kyle Morgan
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90007

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Title: Woman's Building Records
creator: Woman's Building (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Identifier/Call Number: Coll2014-126
Physical Description: 24.1 Linear Feet 6 archive boxes, 5 flat archives boxes, 2 map case drawers, 1 archive carton
Date (inclusive): 1964-1992, 2011
Abstract: Artwork, administrative records, event records, financial records, promotional materials, and publications of the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles from its founding in 1973 to its dissolution in 1991. The Woman’s Building was one of the nation’s first nonprofit arts and educational centers dedicated to the development of women’s identity, sensibility, and creativity.
Container: 1-5
Container: 6-12

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder #, or item name] Woman's Building Records, Coll2014-126, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Kyle Morgan, 2014.

Conditions Governing Access

Staff and payroll records are restricted until 2060. There are otherwise no access restrictions.

Separated Materials

Separated to ONE Archives audio collection:
"And those on the spirit believed," The KCALB [Gniw?] Spirit, May 24, 1987 (audiocassette).
ARTS/LA on KCRW, two stories on the Woman's Building on the 15th year anniversary, October 17 and 24, 1988 (audiocassette).
"Caged Bird Takes Flight," by Nobuko Miyamoto (audiocassette).
"Fantasticks, P.D." (audiocassette).
Vesta Awards event recordings, 1987 (2 audiocassettes), 1991 (2 audiocassettes), undated (1 audiocassette).
Separated to the ONE Archives subject files collection:
Lea Delaria subject file (1 folder).
Separated to the ONE Archives periodical collection:
Southern California Women's Caucus for Art, Spring 1992.

Biographical / Historical

The founding of the Woman's Building in Los Angeles in 1973 was the culmination of several years of activity by women artists who were energized by the feminist movement in this country. This activity included protests of major museums for their exclusion of women artists, the opening of gallery spaces dedicated to the work of women, the founding of the first feminist art education programs (in 1970, by Judy Chicago at Fresno State College and in 1971 by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro at California Institute of the Arts), and the first large scale public feminist art installation, Womanhouse. In 1973, artist Judy Chicago, graphic designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, and art historian Arlene Raven founded the first independent school for women artists, the Feminist Studio Workshop. The FSW focused not only on the development of artmaking skills (in visual arts, writing, performance art, video, graphic design and the printing arts), but also on the development of women's identity and sensibility, and the translation of these elements into their artwork. Central to the founders' vision was the idea that the arts should not be separated from other activities of the burgeoning women's community, and the three looked for a site for their school that could also be shared with other organizations and enterprises.
This space, the Woman's Building, opened in November 1973. The Woman's Building took its name and inspiration from a structure built by Sophia Hayden for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago to house exhibitions of cultural works by women from around the world. When the Woman's Building first opened in 1973, it occupied the site of the old Chouinard Art Institute near MacArthur Park. Hundreds of women came from across the United States (and from as far away as Canada, Mexico, Holland and Switzerland) to attend the FSW. The facility was also home to galleries, theater companies, Sisterhood Bookstore, Womantours Travel Agency, a coffeehouse, and the offices of the National Organization for Women. In 1975, the Woman's Building moved to a building on North Spring Street, near Chinatown. At that time, the organization began to generate its own programming, so the entire three floors of the reconverted warehouse were filled with artistic activities. In 1981, the Woman's Building underwent major organizational change as a shift occurred in the cultural and economic climates of the United States. By that year, the organization's founders had all left to pursue other projects, and a "second generation" of FSW graduates would carry the organization through the next decade. That year the FSW closed, as the demand for alternative education diminished. The educational programs of the Woman's Building were restructured to better accommodate the needs of working women. That same year, the Woman's Building also founded two profit-making enterprises to strengthen its financial base: the rental of artists' studio space, and Woman's Graphic Center (WGC) Typesetting and Design, a full service design studio. During the 1980s, greater emphasis was placed on expanding the multicultural base of the organization, and on providing opportunities to assist women artists in their professional development. Until its closing in 1991, the Woman's Building was an internationally recognized symbol of the vitality and substance of women's creative achievements.
Source: (accessed December 29, 2014)

Scope and Contents

Administrative records, creative works, event records, financial records, photographs, posters, promotional materials, and publications of the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles primarily from its founding in 1973 to its dissolution in 1991. The collection includes records for the Woman’s Graphic Center, Women’s Caucus for Art, and other affiliated organizations.


The records are organized in the following series:
Series 1. Administrative records, 1964-1992
Series 2. Creative works, graphic materials, and publications, 1973-1991, 2011

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Date and method of acquisition of most materials is unknown. Busz Words and Celebrating Women project posters were donated in January 2016 by Cheri Gaulke and Jerri Allyn.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Feminists -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Feminism -- Study and teaching -- Archival resources
Lesbian feminism -- Archival resources
Works of art
Women artists -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Lesbian artists
Woman's Building (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Woman's Building (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Archives
Women's Caucus for Art -- Archives
Woman's Graphic Center -- Archives


Administrative records Series 1. 1964-1992


The series is arranged in alphabetical order.

Scope and Contents

Administrative records, event records, financial records, and promotional materials of the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles, bulk 1973-1992. The collection includes records for affiliated organizations such as the Woman’s Graphic Center and Women’s Caucus for Art. The administrative records include articles of incorporation, bylaws, meeting minutes, correspondence, notes, policies and manuals, grant applications, membership records, leases, staff and volunteer records, insurance records, backup diskettes, and ephemera. The financial records include statements, reports, journals, ledgers, receipts, tax records, budget records, sales records, fundraising records, and check registers. The promotional and event records include voting tallies for Vesta Awards nominees, seating arrangements, publicity photographs, clippings, fliers, bulk mail, programs, pamphlets, press releases, brochures, event cards, correspondence, and invitations.
Box 1, Folder 1

Administrative records 1987-1991

Box 1, Folder 2

Archival provenance of Woman's Building records 1990-1992

Box 1, Folder 3

Armory Show records 1991

Box 1, Folder 4

Art history lectures undated

Box 1, Folder 5

Art sales records 1989

Box 1, Folder 6-7

Articles of incorporation 1973-1981

Box 1, Folder 8-11

Artist studios records 1981-1991

Box 1, Folder 12

Artistic director resumes 1990-1991

Box 7, Folder 6

Backups of catalog, slide library, and registry undated

Physical Description: [8 5-inch floppy disks]
Box 1, Folder 13-20

Board of directors records 1986-1991

Box 1, Folder 21

Brochure copy 1978

Scope and Contents

Includes two black-and-white photographs of Woman's Building gatherings.
Box 1, Folder 22-23

Bylaws 1973-1988

Box 1, Folder 25

California Arts Council grant materials 1989-1991

Box 5, Folder 35

Check registers 1984-1991

Box 1, Folder 26-28

Correspondence, notes, and ephemera 1985-1992

Box 1, Folder 30

Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, grant materials 1990-1991

Box 1, Folder 31-33

Development coordinator and committee records 1987-1991

Box 1, Folder 35

Fees to artists, writers, and teachers records 1989

Box 6, Folder 11

Feminism subject file 1977

Box 5, Folder 1-26

Financial records 1977-1991

Scope and Contents

Includes financial statements, reports, ledgers, journals, and receipts.
Box 5, Folder 38

Financial records 1992

Box 1, Folder 36-37

Fliers, bulk mail, and press releases 1978-1991

Box 1, Folder 38

Food is Art event records 1987

Box 1, Folder 39

Holiday sale records 1981-1984

Box 1, Folder 41

Instructions on accounting 1991

Box 1, Folder 42-44

Insurance records 1988-1992

Box 1, Folder 45

Intern records 1990

Box 2, Folder 1-3

James Irvine Foundation grant materials 1973-1990

Box 6, Folder 12

Leases 1974-1988

Box 1, Folder 46

Mail orders for Textile as Texts and Apsara publications 1988-1989

Box 2, Folder 6-13

Membership records 1987-1991

Box 2, Folder 4

Matter of Confidence fundraising records 1987-1992

Box 2, Folder 5

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) computer gift records 1989-1990

Box 2, Folder 14

Networks periodicals, Bay Area Video Coalition 1977-1979

Box 2, Folder 15-20

News clippings 1986-1991

Box 2, Folder 23

Nonprofit papers for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and State of California 1975-1989

Box 2, Folder 24

Out Auction records 1991

Box 5, Folder 36-37

Payroll records 1987-1991

Conditions Governing Access

Access restricted.
Box 2, Folder 25

Postcard project records undated

Box 6, Folder 1-10

Promotional and event materials 1970-1991

Scope and Contents

Includes fliers, pamphlets, event cards, programs, press releases, invitations, and clippings.
Box 2, Folder 26

Q and A database information 1991-1992

Box 2, Folder 27

Reference materials and ephemera 1985-1988, undated

Box 2, Folder 31-32

Staff records 1985-1991

Conditions Governing Access

Access restricted.
Box 2, Folder 33

Supplemental and planning materials for grants 1989-1991

Box 5, Folder 27-34

Tax records 1973-1991

Box 2, Folder 34

Times Mirror Foundation grant materials 1982-1991

Box 6, Folder 17-18

Vesta Awards records 1964-1991

Scope and Contents

Includes an image of Beah Richards.
Box 3, Folder 1-39

Vesta Awards records 1986-1990

Scope and Contents

Includes images of events and of nominees Brenda Levin, Susan Grode, Nobuko Miyamoto, Didi Daniels Peters, Esther McCoy, Helen Lundeberg, Sheila Benson, Lydia Takeshita, Meredith MacRae, Carmen Zapata, Ruth Hirschman, Phranc, Beatrice Wood, Elyse Grinstein, Marija Gimbutas, Wanda Coleman, Marion Post Wolcott, Cecile N. McCann, Jude Narita, Frances E. Williams, Carolyn See, Gloria Molina, Cathy Guisewite, Zan Dubin, Mary Jane Eisenberg, Lita Albuquerque, Helen Harrison, Irene Fertik, May Sun, Gema Sandoval, Bella Lewitzky, Holly Harp, Mary Ann Bonino, and Judy Chicago.
Box 4, Folder 1-29

Vesta Awards records 1990-1991

Scope and Contents

Includes images of Holly Harp, Anne Bray, and the Daughters of the Dust project.
Box 10, Folder 3

Vesta seating arrangement layouts 1986-1989

Box 2, Folder 35

Volunteer records 1991

Box 2, Folder 37-43

Woman's Graphic Center records 1980-1989

Scope and Contents

Includes articles of incorporation and documentation of its bankruptcy.
Box 6, Folder 19-24

Women's Caucus for Art (WCA) records 1984-1985

Scope and Contents

Primarily exhibition records for the Southern California WCA.
Box 4, Folder 30-45

Women's Caucus for Art (WCA) records 1978-1986

Scope and Contents

Includes administrative records, publications, and financial records.

Creative works, graphic materials, and publications Series 2. 1973-1991, 2011

Scope and Contents

Architectural drawings, artist books, booklets, books, calendars, drawings, laminated display material, manuscripts, paintings, panel displays, periodicals, photographs, poetry, posters, and other creative works of the Woman’s Building, Woman's Graphic Center, Women's Caucus for Art, and other affiliated organizations, 1973-1991, 2011.


The series is arranged in alphabetical order.
Box 8, Folder 4

"Architectonic Inscapes," by Nina Kuo 1984

Physical Description: [1 booklet and 1 audiocassette, 2 copies]
Box 10, Folder 4

Architectural drawings undated

Map-case 4.4

Architectural drawings circa 1975-1991

Box 7, Folder 1

Booklets, artwork 1988, undated

Box 10, Folder 5

Calendars 1979-1991

Box 1, Folder 24

Calendars 1987-1990, undated

Box 12, Folder 2

"Celebrating our Heroines," postcard workshop panels undated

Physical Description: [8 panels]
Box 9, Folder 10

"Contact," clackbook series number 1 by Kathryn Clark 1983

Box 1, Folder 34

Doin' It in Public, book 2011

Box 9, Folder 11

Flower engraved on wood undated

Box 10, Folder 1

Graphic arts and ephemera 1978-1982, undated

Box 8, Folder 3

"Holly Greene Series, Book IV," by Vida Hackman 1984

Box 8, Folder 2

"Inside the Closet," poetry undated

Box 9, Folder 9

Laminated display materials 1977-1984, undated

Map-case 4.4

Laminated display materials circa 1975-1991

Box 10, Folder 7

Laminated display materials 1975-1992

Box 8, Folder 5

Laminated letters to the Woman's Building 1975

Physical Description: [1 continuous laminated roll of letters]

Scope and Contents

Letters from women to the Grandview Building talking about art design.
Box 9, Folder 8

"Lie in my Lap," artist book by Darla Mayer 1984

Box 9, Folder 7

"Look Ahead, Los Angeles!" compilation of artworks by various artists 1989

Box 6, Folder 13

"An Oral History of Lesbianism," a play byTerry Wolverton 1979, undated

Box 2, Folder 21-22

Newsletters 1982-1991

Box 7, Folder 5

Photographs, framed or on foam core circa 1990

Scope and Contents

Includes images of Carolyn Weathers, Eloise Klein Healy, Kitty Tsui, Lynette Prucha, and female Los Angeles police officers.
Box 5, Folder 39-40

Photographs of artworks, unidentified people, and the Daughters of the Dust project 1977-1991

Physical Description: [35mm slides]
Box 1, Folder 40

Photographs, photocopies undated

Box 8, Folder 1

Poetry undated

Scope and Contents

Includes limited edition and signed works.
Box 7, Folder 2-4

Postcard project display materials 1988-1990

Box 7, Folder 7

Postcards with images of the Woman's Building undated

Box 12, Folder 1

Posters 1974-1990

Box 11, Folder 1

Posters 1975-1989

Map-case 2.1

Posters circa 1975-1991

Box 10, Folder 6

Posters 1976-1989

Box 11, Folder 4

Posters, Busz Words project 1990

Biographical / Historical

Project of Cheri Gaulke.
Box 11, Folder 3

Posters, Celebrating Women project Circa 1990

Biographical / Historical

Project of Cheri Gaulke.
Box 11, Folder 2

Posters, Cross-Pollination project 1986

Box 10, Folder 2

Posters, programs and events 1974-1991

Map-case 2.1

Posters, paintings, and other graphic arts circa 1975-1991

Box 6, Folder 14-16

Publications of the Woman's Building and/or its members 1974-1988

Box 9, Folder 4

Single page artworks by various artists 1980-1990

Box 2, Folder 28-30

Spinning Off periodicals 1978-1981

Box 9, Folder 6

Stanford University printed poetry 1982

Box 9, Folder 12-13

Tea and coffee cups undated

Box 9, Folder 5

"Today... tomorrow," poetry 1987

Box 9, Folder 1-3

Valentines show materials 1981-1985

Map-case 4.4

Wedding display panels undated

Physical Description: [2 folded cardboard panels]
Map-case 4.4

Woman's Building, 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, display panels undated

Physical Description: [10 panels]
Box 2, Folder 36

Womanspace periodicals 1973