I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Dianne Barrett who is a co-founder of the B-E Collection. As a personal historian who identifies as lesbian I am, of course, drawn to projects that celebrate oral histories of lesbians and our lives with a special emphasis on our careers. My video is now one of many – I hope you will go to the B-E website b-ecollection.org to watch – I did tend to go on and on for about 38 minutes, but Dianne does a great job of trying to keep me on task. She used several pictures I sent so they give a lift to my rambling.
This is the Mission Statement of the B-E Collection under “About Us” on their website.
My spouse, Margaret Elfering, and myself, in conjunction with archives such as the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives and the Gerth Archives and Special Collection at California State University Dominguez Hills, will contribute an ongoing series of interviews of lesbians and their careers. The collection will be known as the B-E Collection: Lesbians and Their Careers.
The “B-E” of the collection is a shorthand for our last names (Barrett – Elfering). However, there is a second meaning to our collection’s name: the verb “be” is also defined as “to exist” or “to occur or take place”. Our collection is a means of bearing witness to the stories of lesbians of different generations, from different walks of life.
The mission of this collection is to dignify the accomplishments, pride, and effort lesbians put forth in their careers on their journey in life. We make oral histories to document our existence then and now. Many of us had the “don’t talk – say nothing – you are wrong” experience. Now we are talking.
We would appreciate a referral of lesbians who might be interested in participating in our project. We would be more than delighted to speak with anyone who you think would be interested in participating in the B-E Collection.
Your support is always a gift.
What a wonderful way to celebrate Pride! Thanks to Dianne and Margaret for their vision, to the creative support staff for their expertise and to the Mazer and Gerth Archives at California State University Dominguez Hills who are supporting this collection.