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Guide to the Jackie Winnow Papers, 1947-1994 [bulk dates 1980-1991]
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Materials Removed from the Collection
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jackie Winnow Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1947-1994 [bulk dates 1980-1991]
    Accession number: 94-19
    Creator: Winnow, Jackie, 1947-1991
    Extent: 1.65 linear feet
    Repository: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
    San Francisco, California.
    Shelf location: Housed at the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center  of the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. See GLHS and SFPL agreement. 
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The Jackie Winnow Papers (#94-19) were donated to GLHS by Teya Schaffer (Jackie's spouse) in 1994.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.

    Audio-Visual Materials

    There are 2 audio cassettes and photographs in the Papers.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jackie Winnow Papers, 94-19, The Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.


    Jackie Winnow was born Jacqueline Weinstein on April 28, 1947 in New York City. She attended Hunter College becoming involved in the very early Women's Liberation Movement in New York City. She moved to Florida in 1973 or 1974, where she worked on rape crisis and lesbian issues. In 1975 she took up residence in the Bay Area, where she spent the rest of her life.
    She attended San Francisco State University graduating summa cum laude in women's studies in 1980. She became the Lesbian, Gay Liaison with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Her original position was half-time, under her direction the staff was increased to three full-time professionals along with many interns and volunteers. Jackie became the first official coordinator in February of 1988. The Commission is responsible for investigating complaints of sexual orientation and AIDS/HIV discrimination, handling issues of concern to the Lesbian, Gay and HIV community, and staffing the Lesbian, Gay Advisory Committee. She used much of her organizing abilities in fighting for domestic partnership rights. Unfortunately, this fight is not well represented in her personal papers. Her efforts at organizing the Jewish Feminist Conference of 1982 are reflected in her papers. Jackie was also very concerned with issues involving lesbian health concerns.
    Jackie had to leave the Commission in 1990 due to metastatic breast cancer. She had been diagnosed with cancer in May of 1985. She had put her community organizing experience to work immediately upon realizing there was no central place to get impartial information and referral, no place to integrate the cancer experience, nor gain the support of other women with cancer by founding the Women's Cancer Resource Center in 1986, the first such Center in the country. The goal of the center is to empower women with cancer to be informed consumers and decision makers, gain support, educate the community, and advocate for change. The center opened its doors in 1989. Jackie continued to speak and write as a cancer activist until her death on September 7, 1991. Jackie's family was very important to her especially Teya Schaffer, her spouse.

    Scope and Content

    The Jackie Winnow Papers, 1.65 linear feet, covers the years 1947 through 1994 with the bulk of materials covering 1980 to 1991. The majority of the materials document Jackie's many activities while in the San Francisco Bay Area. The materials are arranged in twelve series; Biographical Information, Correspondence, Writings, Miscellaneous Files Concerning Cancer, Miscellaneous, Individuals, Political Activity, Subject Files, Women's Cancer Resource Center, Awards, Ephemera, and Audio-Visual.
    The Biographical Information series is arranged chronologically. Among the noteworthy files is a transcript of an extensive taped interview with Sandy Polishuk taken in February 1990 concerning Jackie's fight with cancer and her organizing around access to cancer information. The file of Teya Schaffer's notes personalizes Jackie beyond what is apparent from the written materials of the collection. For example, Teya elaborates on the meaning of words and sayings Jackie commonly used. The researcher will also find occasional photocopies of post-it notes in the collection that were written by Teya describing those particular items.
    The Correspondence is arranged mostly chronologically, a considerable amount of correspondence concerning one subject has been grouped in a separate folder. The correspondence in the general folders is mostly concerns routine matters including publishing, some family correspondence, and a few more in-depth letters from friends. In general Jackie was not a letter writer and this is reflected in the correspondence. Following the correspondence are files of sympathy and birthday cards. Only a selected few of these were kept, those having more extensive messages.
    The Writings series is separated into three subseries. The first subseries includes all of Jackie's writings on Cancer and Lesbian Health. These speeches, articles, and a letter are arranged alphabetically by title. In 1989 Jackie gave the keynote address at the Lesbian Care Givers and AIDS Epidemic Conference, Lesbians Evolving Health Care. This speech was revised over time and became the basis for many of her other speeches and articles (for Out/Look and Sinister Wisdom to name a few) and a chapter of a Women and Cancer Anthology. These writings discuss the epidemic of breast cancer in women and the need for accessible information and organizing around it the issue. In addition these writings express frustration at women's health needs not being addressed. Jackie pointed out that a lot of lesbian energy has gone to AIDS work and advocacy, it is time for lesbians to start looking at their own needs especially in terms of women's health issues.
    The Course work subseries is arranged alphabetically by title of paper or course title whichever was available. Most of the work is from Jackie's time at San Francisco State University, 1978 to 1980. A few pieces have no dates and there is one from 1974. The overwhelming majority of the Course work focuses on Women's Studies topics and/or Lesbianism. Also included are an autobiography and a biography of Jackie's mother (Lillian Weinstein).
    The Miscellaneous Writings subseries contains a variety of writing forms. Jackie wrote in a journal very sporadically, also included are miscellaneous jottings she wrote over time, and one folder of poetry.
    The Miscellaneous Files Concerning Cancer series contains various materials documenting Jackie's life with cancer. These files include information on her care giver group, materials on support groups she was a member of and memorials of women who died during Jackie's lifetime. Also included in this series are a few notes on her medical treatment and articles on women and cancer.
    The Miscellaneous Series documents various aspects of Jackie's life and activities that do not fit elsewhere. Of interest is a syllabi for a Lesbian Studies Course she created in hopes of teaching at San Francisco State in 1980, and two outlines for oral history projects on Jewish Women and Lesbian Mothers in the 1970s.
    The Individuals series, arranged alphabetically by name, documents Jackie's interactions with both family members and others. The files from family members (Mallory Brown, Teya and Asher Schaffer) contain writings, poetry and artwork to Jackie. The other files are writings and correspondence from individuals that she knew, they mostly deal with cancer and death.
    The Political Activity Series is arranged alphabetically by folder title. For information on the Women's Cancer Resource Center see the series below. The files in this series mostly document the Jewish Feminist Conference held in the 1982 in San Francisco. Jackie played a very active role in the last few weeks of conference organization.
    The Subject Files Series is composed of files on various topics kept by Jackie. The files retained for this series were ones with more unique and hard to find items. Files consisting of only New York Times clippings and other major papers have been removed form the Jackie Winnow Papers. The files contain leaflets, newspaper clippings, papers, and writings. See the folder listing for a list of the subjects covered.
    The Women's Cancer Resource Center (WCRC) Series documents the organization and practices of the WCRC during 1989 and 1990. These files are a good source of information on the programs the WCRC organized, their fundraising efforts, and general administrative matters. The files are arranged alphabetically by title.
    The Awards Series documents the recognition Jackie received in her lifetime for her activist work. The Ephemera Series contains miscellaneous items such as her passports and the artwork that adorned her office walls.
    The Audio-Visual series includes two tapes of speakers at Jackie's memorial in 1991. There is also included extensive photographs of Jackie's family especially Teya and Asher. Also included are snapshots at awards dinners, Gay Pride Day Parades, and Jackie's cats -Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein.

    Materials Removed from the Collection

    • 1 folder of printed material has been transferred to the
      Title: 1983 Jewish Feminist Conference Records
      Identifier/Call Number: #91-28.
    • 1 folder of miscellaneous ephemera.
    See the accession files for a complete list of materials returned to Teya Schaffer.

    Related Collections

    Title: 1983 Jewish Feminist Conference Records
    Identifier/Call Number: #91-28
    Title: Lesbian/Gay Activities Office of SF Human Rights Commission Records
    Identifier/Call Number: #90-3
    Title: Lesbian/Gay Advisory Committee to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission Records
    Identifier/Call Number: #94-33
    Title: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: #93-13