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Finding aid of the Ivy Bottini Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ivy Bottini papers
    Dates: 1955-1998
    Bulk Dates: 1974-1990
    Collection number: Coll2009-005
    Creator: Bottini, Ivy, 1926-
    Collection Size: 11.2 linear feet. (6 archive cartons + 3 archive boxes + 5 archive flat boxes + 1 map drawer)
    Repository: ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
    Los Angeles, California 90007
    Abstract: Journals, correspondence, contracts, clippings, notes, minutes, fliers, pamphlets, photographs, audiovisual material, etchings, t-shirts, buttons, and other material from comedian, artist and lesbian feminist, Ivy Bottini. One of the founding members of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Bottini was a married mother of two before coming out as a lesbian in 1968. She has been a community leader for numerous activist causes and organizations, including the No on Briggs and No on LaRouche campaigns, the Los Angeles Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Police Advisory Task Force, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, and the affordable LGBT senior housing project, Triangle Square. The bulk of Bottini's collection is material relating to her comedy career, her consciousness-raising seminars, and her work for NOW and various LGBT causes. The collection also includes her art works; recordings of a radio program she hosted, called It's a Gay Life; and her collection of t-shirts and buttons from feminist and LGBT organizations.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

    Publication Rights

    Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).

    Preferred Citation

    Ivy Bottini papers, Coll2009-005, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Ivy Bottini, date unknown.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Loni Shibuyama, July 31, 2009.


    Ivy was born on August 15, 1926, to a working class family in Long Island, New York. In 1944, she studied art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and later went on to a career in graphic design, working as an illustrator and art director for Newsday. In 1951, she married Edward Bottini. She gave birth to her first daughter, Laura, in 1953, and her second daughter, Lisa, in 1956.
    By the mid-1960s, Bottini became involved in the developing feminist movement and in 1966 became a founding member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) at its first chapter in New York City. Soon after, she became the New York chapter's second president. During that time, Bottini began coming to terms with her newly-discovered sexuality, and she came out as a lesbian and divorced her husband in 1968. After the news of her sexuality became public knowledge, some women in the NOW membership, including NOW co-founder Betty Friedan, began speaking out against lesbian women in the organization. Bottini, a target of that protest, subsequently left NOW in 1970.
    Soon after leaving NOW, Bottini moved to Los Angeles and further developed performances, workshops and seminars in feminist consciousness-raising, which she had started when she was a member of NOW. As a feminist comedian, she performed her one-woman shows, "Everywoman" and "The Many Faces of Woman," at numerous locations--including various NOW chapters--throughout the United States until the late 1970s. Meanwhile, she also earned a living as a graphic designer and a real estate agent.
    Besides her feminist consciousness-raising, Bottini began to establish her leadership role in the gay and lesbian rights movement, as well as AIDS activism. Her accomplishments include working for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center; becoming deputy director for the No on Briggs Proposition 6 campaign; becoming political vice president of the Stonewall Democratic Club; co-chairing the Los Angeles Police Department's first Gay and Lesbian Police Task Force; founding the Los Angeles AIDS Network; being a founding board member of AIDS Project Los Angeles; and chairing the No on LaRouche Proposition 64 campaign. In the 1990s, she spearheaded a project to build affordable housing for LGBT seniors, known as Triangle Square. She continues to be involved in several activities, including the Gay and Lesbian Advisory Board of the West Hollywood City Council.
    Bottini has also been an artist throughout her life, and her work has been exhibited at various locations beginning in the 1990s. As of July 2009, Bottini lives in West Hollywood, California.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Ivy Bottini Papers comprise journals, date books, correspondence, contracts, clippings, minutes, fliers, pamphlets, manuscripts, photographs, buttons, t-shirts, audio and video recordings, etchings, a banner and other material relating to Bottini's comedy and acting career; her work in raising consciousness about feminist and gay and lesbian issues; her work for the National Organization for Women; her graphic design and artistic career; and the numerous activist organizations in which she was a central community leader.
    The collection is divided into six series: (1) Personal, (2) Acting and Comedy Career, (3) Activism, (4) Art Works, (5) Audiovisual Material and (6) Buttons, T-shirts and Banner. The Personal Series consists of date books, diaries, biographical material, correspondence, writings and other papers documenting Bottini's life from the time when she was working at Newsday (1955-1968) until the mid-1990s when she was receiving awards for her activism and having art exhibit retrospectives. The Acting and Comedy Career Series comprises material from her feminist comedy performances, as well as her acting career on stage and television. The Activism Series comprises clippings, correspondence, notes, organizational records and other material from her work in feminist consciousness-raising, the gay and lesbian rights movement, as well as her involvement in organizations and events such as the "Alice Doesn't" Strike, the "Takeover" of the Statue of Liberty, the National Organization for Women, the No on Briggs campaign, the No on LaRouche campaign, the International Women's Year events, the Police Advisory Task Force and the Women's Action Alliance. The Art Works Series comprises four metal etchings and two prints created by Bottini. The Audiovisual Material Series consists of sound recordings of Bottini's performances, workshops and a LGBT-themed radio program she hosted; and one videotape reel of Bottini's audition performance. Lastly, the Buttons, T-Shirts and Banner Series consists of 24 buttons, 33 t-shirts and 1 banner, most of which come from the LGBT and feminist rights movements.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Bottini, Ivy, 1926-
    AIDS (Disease)--United States
    Gay and lesbian rights
    Gay liberation movement--United States--History
    Lesbian activists
    Lesbian artists
    Lesbian feminism
    Lesbians--Civil rights
    National Organization for Women
    Women comedians