Posted byriese on September 19, 2012
I really threw myself into Herstory Month, in June, eating every accessible herstory archive on the internet and spending hours in the library, accumulating massive stacks of borrowed books which I stored at the foot of my bed. My girlfriend was not a big fan of the stacks of books at the foot of the bed. I was looking for words but eventually, also, for pictures. Honestly before tumblr it was difficult to find very much lesbian imagery at all online — it was always the same ten or twelve stock photos — let alone pictures of lesbians taken prior to 2000. I wanted to see an evolution of our community, how we’d grown and changed over the years — and not just in a montage of famous out actresses and models, but pictures of actual people, pictures of women who were active in the community — regular human beings, writers and social activists.
Four quick disclaimers: 1) Obviously it’s impossible to verify the sexual orientation of some of the subjects of earlier photos I found on tumblr, the pre-1920s photos especially. But because I found them on vintage queer tumblrs, etc., I went ahead and used them, but some of these photos may just be of cross-dressers or super-close friends. 2) Obviously it’s also difficult to find photos of women of color prior to the 1950’s, because America sucks. 3) I focused on America because doing the entire world is really hard/impossible. It’s possible pics from Canada or The UK [ETA: or France, apparently!] found their way in here, though. 4)I’ve tried to credit where I found these photos and who took them. Unfortunately, because I’m an idiot, I erased the text-edit document where I was keeping track of photo credits. If you see anything here that is improperly credited or if you can identify the origin of any photos that weren’t credited at all, please email me and let me know! (riese [at] autostraddle dot com).
I’d also like to thank the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco for their permission using photos from their collection here