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Finding aid to the Jean Swallow Papers, 1961-1996
GLC 50  
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Biographical note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Jean Swallow Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1961-1996
    Date (bulk): 1968-1994
    Collection Identifier: GLC 50
    Creator: Swallow, Jean
    Physical Description: 5 cartons, 1 oversized box (5.0 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 collection contains drafts, background research, and publicity materials for the books, poems and stories written by Jean Swallow. She also amassed material on Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups that assist people in recovery from substance abuse.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.


    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items. The San Francisco Public Library owns copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jean Swallow Papers (GLC 50), Gay and Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.


    The Jean Swallow Papers were donated to the San Francisco Public Library in 1998 by Betsy Walker and Marian Michener.

    Biographical note

    Jean Swallow was born on September 8, 1953. She was a lesbian writer and editor. Her work included newspaper editing for the Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, poetry, novels, essays, and grant-writing. Her anthology Out From Under was published in 1983 and was the first book by and about lesbians in recovery from substance abuse. In 1986 her novel Leave a Light on for Me was published; it was reissued in 1991. She continued to write shorter pieces, poems and stories, which she collected in How (Some of) It Works.
    The success of Out from Under led to a follow-up volume published as The Next Step in 1993. Both volumes were welcome additions to the literature of lesbians in recovery. Swallow died of an apparent suicide on January 16, 1995 in Seattle, Washington. At the time of her death Swallow had been clean and sober for 14 years.
    In 1995 Swallow had just finished a draft of a book of interviews with photographs by Geoff Manasse; the draft was published under the title Making Love Visible: In Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Families. The book A Woman Determined was published in 1998.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection includes the written work of Jean Swallow and materials that she collected as background research on various subjects. There is correspondence with authors and publishers, drafts of books, poems, stories, and talks, and copies of published pieces. The collection includes drafts of Making Love Visible co-authored by Geoff Manasse. Swallow also amassed material on Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups that assist people in recovery from substance abuse.


    The collection is arranged in six series: Series 1. Correspondence; Series 2. Writings by Jean Swallow; Series 3. Talks and Workshops; Series 4. Subject Files; Series 5. Photographs; and Series 6. Publications and Scrapbooks. Series 2 is subdivided in four subseries: Series 2a. Poems, stories and interviews; Series 2b. Book Reviews; Series 2c. Books; and Series 2d. Grants.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Manasse, Geoff
    Swallow, Jean--Archives
    Alcoholics--Rehabilitation--United States
    Feminist fiction--United States
    Gays--California--San Francisco--Social life and customs--20th century.
    Gays--United States--Interviews
    Lesbian authors--United States--Archives
    Lesbian poetry--United States
    Lesbians--Drug use--United States
    Lesbians--United States
    Recovering addicts' writings--United States
    Recovering alcoholics' writings--United States
    Substance abuse--United States