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Guide to the Women's Press/Up Press Records, 1972-1987
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Materials Removed from the Collection
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Women's Press/Up Press Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1972-1987
    Accession number: 91-23
    Creator: Women's Press/Up Press
    Extent: 5.1 Linear feet
    Repository: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
    San Francisco, California.
    Shelf location: Housed at the GLBT Historical Society
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The Papers (#91-23) were donated to GLHS in 1991.


    The bulk of the records are open for research with student files restricted.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.

    Audio-Visual Materials

    The Papers contain photographs.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Women's Press/Up Press Records, 91-23, The Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.

    Historical Note

    The Women's Press Project started in 1974 in the Mission district of San Francisco, as part of a nonprofit women's vocational school at the Women's Skills Center. In 1976 they became a collective, run by volunteer labor (later becoming paid staff), with the main purpose being a school to teach women the skills of the printing trade in a supportive environment. They gradually took on more printing jobs to support themselves. In 1980 they moved and became a business as well as a school, with a priority being the printing of political and feminist work. They become a union shop in 1983.
    Up Press was formed out of the People's Union in 1972 in Redwood City as a collectively run movement press, printing political and feminist work. They became a women's press in 1974.
    In 1984 Up Press merged with the Women's Press Project to form the Women's Press and continued the school as the Women's Printing School. The Women's Press closed in January 1987 due to financial difficulties and the departure of several longtime members.

    Scope and Content

    The Women's Press/Up Press Records (5.1 linear feet) are arranged into 6 series; Women's Press Project Files, Up Press Files, Women's Press Files, Printed Materials, Photographs, and Oversized Items (mainly posters) covering the years 1972 through 1987. Within the first 3 series (1.9 linear feet) folders are arranged alphabetically by title.
    The Women's Press Project files consist of school files: applications, class evaluations, follow up letters and course syllabi ranging from 1979 to 1983. There is a jobs completed list from 1974 through 1983 that outlines printing jobs. Also included is a file on other women's presses histories and an interview with a woman on how she got in the printing trade and the sexism she encountered. The Board meeting minutes are from mostly 1979 to 1980. They include discussion on the types of work they wanted to do. The minutes from October 1983 through January 1985 include information on the transitional period to the Women's Press.
    The Up Press files include a creation statement about what a movement press is, financial statements, correspondence with other presses, staff meeting minutes from part of 1974, and material concerning the non-payment for the 1982 GAIA's Guide. There is a file on the San Francisco Coop, which Up Press was a member of, whose purpose was to consolidate facilities and skills to make printing more available to people's progressive organizations. The most documented printing project of Up Press is The People's Bicentennial Quilt: A Patchwork History, which is a book of photographs and text documenting the 45 pieces portraying the struggles of common people in United States history. Files include photographs of the quilt and a copy of the book (box 6).
    The Women's Press files contain an article in Tradeswomen magazine, flyers, correspondence on jobs, and a letter announcing the sale of the Women's Press and press release. The minutes aren't complete but include the discussion on closing the press.
    The printed materials (3.2 linear feet, boxes 4-6) created by the presses contained in this collections have not been processed yet. They have been roughly sorted into types of materials including brochures, small booklets, newsletters, journals, programs, and books. The printed matter provides not only illustrations of the presses work but offers an excellent overview of many Bay Area feminist and movement groups of the time.
    The Oversized Materials, mainly posters, have been sorted by press into 2 subjects: Feminist, Women's Cultural, Lesbian and Gay Subjects; and Movement, Cultural, Miscellaneous Subjects. The posters like the other printed works give an excellent cross section of many movement and feminist groups of the time. For many of the posters the design and execution of the printing are very well done and are fine examples of the presses work. Many of the items are done in multiple colors. The posters in the unidentified presses folder were possibly not done by one of the 3 presses in this collection.
    Certain folders in these records were restricted because they concern student records for women attending the Women's Press Project School. Student records are restricted by federal law.

    Materials Removed from the Collection

    Photographs are located in the Photo Room.
    Some routine financial materials were discarded such as invoices and canceled checks.

    Related Collections

    Other women's businesses:

    Title: Old Wives Tales Bookstore Records
    Identifier/Call Number: 95-24
    Title: Oracle Books (Hayward, CA) Files
    Identifier/Call Number: 94-11
    Title: Woman's Place Bookstore Records and Audiotapes
    Identifier/Call Number: 93-10

    Other Press records (not lesbian or women identified):

    Title: Crossing Press Records
    Identifier/Call Number: 96-29
    Title: Glenn M. Turner/Guild Press-Records
    Identifier/Call Number: 91-33