Pacific Northwest Lesbian Archives, Seattle, Washington

Address:PO Box 27671
Seattle , WA 98165

Telephone: (206) 654-4477

Contact: Lisa Cohen


Internet Address:

History: Lisa Cohen founded this organization after completing training in the Archives and Records Management program at Western Washington University, in Bellingham, Washington in 2005.

Mission: The Pacific Northwest Lesbian Archives (PNLA) will focus regionally and exist as a repository; a physical safe space and a research facility of materials that document our lives. PNLA will actively seek out lesbian-related primary sources; preserve and conserve them while making materials accessible for education and research.

Our lives are important and deserve recognition and celebration as a surviving and thriving sexual minority community group. Currently there are no collecting repositories in the Pacific Northwest specifically dedicated to preserving our herstory. We have the right to know where we came from and where we are going within the context of the lesbian experience

Current Holdings: We are a brand new organization. Currently, we are in the process of soliciting the community for materials. At this point, we have only four cubic feet of lesbian materials. We have a complete run of newsletters from the Lesbian Resource Center of Seattle, circa 1977-1985, an incomplete run of “Matrix” newsletters from Olympia, circa 1980's, an incomplete run of zines called: “The Urban Hermitt”, circa 2000, and LPs of womyn's music, collected by a Seattle woman. The collection encompasses the dates: 1977 to 2003.

Collection Growth: We'd like very much and are planning to grow in terms of collection materials, providing resources and services. We would like to be a regional repository for lesbian materials that document the lives of lesbians in the Pacific Northwest. (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Southwestern British Columbia)

The beginnings of our proposed collection policy:

  • Business records : Meeting minutes, agendas, financial/budget info, reports, correspondence, project files, and other documentary materials from lesbian organizations, groups, and businesses — past and present.
  • Personal papers/manuscripts : Diaries, journals, and unpublished or preliminary notes, drafts, and papers that document lesbian lives.
  • Audio and visual materials: Photographs, negatives, films, videos, DVDs, records, audio tapes, CDs.
  • Printed materials: Periodicals, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, graphics, posters, flyers advertising events, etc.
  • Ephemera: Clothing, art, religious or spiritual objects, protest signs, banners, bumper stickers, buttons/pins, etc., that relate to specific events or time periods.

Materials must be related to the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and south-western BC). We will accept materials relating to national/international groups if directly applicable to lesbians in the Pacific Northwest .

Access and Use: We currently do not have requirements for using the organization's materials. Upon receit of collections, PNLA makes decisions based on donor's wishes and the institution's well being and will keep these stipulations on file.

Hours: Currently we operate by appointment only. When we get a pubic space, it will be wheelchair accessible.

Services: Currently, we are operating out of a private home. Will have a full suite of user services in the future.

Indices/Finding Aids: None at this time. But we place a high priority to this aspect of providing access.

Updating Collection Descriptions: Nothing in place yet, but this is a primary focus for our organization so researchers will be kept informed of new collections and goings on at the Archives as they happen via on-line newsletter/web updates, e-mail, annual report.