Authored by Elana Weber
Gwenwald, Morgan, Group of LHA Coordinators, June 1993, photograph, 8” x 10” (20.23 x 25.4 cm), Lesbian Herstory Archive, Brooklyn, New York, www.lesbianherstoryarchive.com. Courtesy of Morgan Gwenwald.
In 1986, Marge McDonald passed away. A midwestern lesbian, McDonald left her journals, books, and photos to the Lesbian Herstory Archive (LHA) (“Friends in Ohio” 1988, 2). Unfortunately, her family began auctioning off her belongings. LHA contacted the auctioneer, who would allow representatives a single day to come in to salvage what they could of the 6,000 belongings (“Friends in Ohio” 1988, 2). With the eyes of McDonald’s family and the community of Nelsonville, Ohio on them, two local lesbians worked until the 5:00PM cutoff to pack as many of McDonald’s items as they could into a pick-up truck bound for New York City (“Friends in Ohio” 1988, 2). Today, those rescued belongings form the “Marge McDonald Special Collection.” McDonald wasn’t famous. She was an ordinary woman.
Authored by Nicole Loder
Image of Joan Nestle, Polly Thistlethwaite, and cat. Lesbian HERstoy Archive Collection. 1994.
Pictured are activist and writer, Joan Nestle, current Chief Librarian at the CUNY Graduate Center (Thistlethwaite 2014) Polly Thistlethwaite, and cat at the Lesbian HERstory Archives (LHA) in 1994 taken by the photo collection manager, Saskia Scheffer. I discovered this picture, with the help of an archivist, in a crammed filing cabinet, not too far from where the picture was taken. The cabinet was organized with an eclectic cataloging system, determined by the many archivists over the years. I was searching for content involving cats for an upcoming exhibit when we discovered this artifact. As I held this image, I wondered when the last time someone took notice of this seemingly insignificant photograph.