Preserving Bisexual Women's History
Back issues of Bi Women (now the Bi Women Quarterly) are now archived at Harvard University's Schlesinger Library.
One of the archived issues
Bi Women / Schlesinger Library, Harvard
Robyn Ochs, editor of Bi Women Quarterly, has reported the successful conclusion of a project she has been working on for 7 1/2 years in collaboration with Amy Benson of Harvard University's Schlesinger Library: Back issues of Bi Women (now the Bi Women Quarterly), 1983-2009 and of North Bi Northwest (a publication of the Seattle Bisexual Women's Network) are now archived and available via Harvard University's Schlesinger Library.
They have been digitized, and are searchable and available to the public.
Issues dating from 2009 onward are available www.biwomenboston.org. These more recent issues will be added to the Library’s collection in the near future.
Few people may know that Boston is home to the longest-lived bisexual women’s periodical in the world. Bi Women Quarterly, a grassroots publication, began in September 1983 as a project of the newly-formed Boston Bisexual Women’s Network.
Staffed entirely by volunteers, and containing essays, poetry, artwork, and short fiction on a wide range of themes, Bi Women Quarterly provides a voice for women who identify as bisexual, pansexual, and other non-binary sexual identities.
Robyn Ochs, editor since 2009, donated the only complete collection of this publication to Schlesinger Library several years ago with the agreement that it would be preserved, and digitized in a searchable format. The digitized collection at Schlesinger covers the years 1983 to 2010.
Now that this project is complete, this valuable resource is available to researchers and to the general public through Harvard's catalog.
According to Ochs, the collection will help address bisexual erasure and preserve bi history. “Bisexual+ people, despite comprising approximately half of all LGB people, have long been written out of LGBTQ history. Making the voices of bi women accessible will hopefully provide researchers primary material with which to begin to fill this gap."
Schlesinger Library is honored to preserve the legacy and newsletter, making it accessible alongside other resources at the library documenting bisexuals, which encompass papers of bisexual women, biographies and memoirs, periodicals, and zines.
The library's work on this project has inspired other groups to deposit their publications and records at the Schlesinger Library, including the Seattle Bisexual Women’s Network, whose newsletter North Bi Northwest is now also available digitally here.