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Box 3

 box — Box: 3
Identifier: Box 3

Scope and Contents

From the Collection: The Common Lives/Lesbian Lives (CL/LL) records date from 1980 to 2001 and measure 20 linear inches. The records are arranged in four series: Administrative, Correspondence, Controversies, and Publications.

The Administrative series (1980-1997) includes documents related to the founding of the journal such as the transcript of an audiotape made by the women at Sinister Wisdom with advice for the founders of CL/LL, as well as the procedures manual used at Sinister Wisdom. Newspaper clippings from a gay rights rally in Dubuque, Iowa, include a photo showing the Common Lives/Lesbian Lives banner being carried in the march. A smattering of financial records, collective meeting minutes, and mailings to supporters and subscribers are included. The records related to printers and vendors consist largely of invoices, except the Inland folder which contains documents related to Inland's bankruptcy. The submissions databases and journals include the name of each person who submitted work along with the date and the title of the piece submitted. The miscellaneous folder includes a few photos and essays.

The Correspondence series (1980-1997) consists of letters received by the collective from readers across the nation and outside the United States offering praise and thanks, letters from prison administrators refusing to permit certain issues of CL/LL to be delivered to inmates, and correspondence with various archives, including the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York and the Iowa Women's Archives in Iowa City. CL/LL deposited copies of all its submissions with the Lesbian Herstory Archives. The original folder titles in this series have been preserved.

The Controversies series (1982-1993), organized alphabetically, contains documents related to controversies that arose from the collective's policies that only lesbians work at CL/LL and that only the work of lesbians was to be published in CL/LL. These included a complaint filed with the University of Iowa Human Rights Commission by a heterosexual woman who claimed discrimination when the CL/LL collective turned down her offer to be an intern, and a complaint sent to the collective by a bisexual woman whose poetry was not published. In 1982, the University of Iowa printing department refused to print Issue 20 because it contained photographs of lesbians making love. CL/LL sued the University and won. The lawsuit is documented in this series. Feedback from readers on CL/LL's decision to publish two pieces in Issue 30 about sadomasochistic behavior completes the series.

The Publication series (1980-1988) includes galleys, proofs, and images from two issues, a poem by Judy Grahn published by CL/LL in a separate booklet, and a folder containing news and information on other lesbian publications such as a Norwegian journal, Løvetann, and a copy of The La Luz Journal, published in 1980.


  • 1980-2001

Conditions Governing Access

The records are open for research.


From the Collection: 20 linear inches

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)