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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1088

Papers of Lynn Beldner, 1959-2016 (inclusive), 1983-2016 (bulk)


Journals, correspondence, and appointment books of artist Lynn Beldner.


  • 1959-2016
  • Majority of material found within 1983-2016

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. As specified in the agreement between Lynn Beldner and the Schlesinger Library, Lynn Beldner's written permission is required for access to her journals from 2015 to present.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lynn Beldner is held by Lynn Beldner. Upon her death, copyright transfers to her spouse/heir, Steve Briscoe. Upon his death, copyright will transfer to the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Lynn Beldner's permission is required to copy journals from 2015 to present.


6.25 linear feet ((15 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 photograph folder, 1 archived web site)
The papers of California artist Lynn Beldner consist of appointment books; correspondence; and her journals, which chronicle her life and her and Steve Briscoe's struggles as artists. Most folder titles and folder descriptions provided by Beldner have been maintained and appear in quotation marks. The archivist re-sorted the correspondence into an alphabetical arrangement. Lynn Beldner's web site is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program.

The journals document Beldner's art practice as well as news events and her personal story. The early journals are diaristic but eventually grow to become central parts of her art practice. Many include sketches, clippings, printed materials, paint, drawings, letters, etc. In her journals she discusses her life with Steve Briscoe and within the San Francisco Bay Area art scene. She also refers to events like the Loma Prieta Earthquake (1989) where their studio was two blocks from the collapsed freeway, urban violence, workplace harassment, and her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder from the violence she experienced near her home. She also wrote about her neighbor, teacher, and fellow artist, Jay DeFeo.

Correspondence consists primarily of letters, cards, and postcards written to Lynn Beldner and Steve Briscoe from family members, friends, and fellow artists. Included are letters they received during the year that they lived in Kirksville, Missouri while Briscoe was teaching at Northeast Missouri State University (1986-1987), and when they both attended an artist residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska (1992). Correspondence folders also include clippings, printed materials, and snapshots.

Folders are arranged alphabetically. A selection of photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Artist Lynn Beldner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1954. Her parents were Nettie Beldner, a housewife and part-time bookkeeper, and Elliott Beldner, an accountant. Beldner has one older brother, Joel. Beldner attended Philadelphia Community College, West Valley Community College, San Jose State, San Francisco Art Institute (1983–1984), and New College of California, San Francisco (1984–1985).

When Beldner was growing up in Philadelphia she was interested in music and art, making sculptures from aluminum foil, cutting and pasting things together, and coloring. During her teenage years she bought art and fashion magazines and would tear out the pages, cut them into collages, and tape them to the wall. But it was her sixth grade teacher at Spruance Elementary school who inspired her to be an artist.

In 1971 Beldner married Neil Madonick in Philadelphia. In 1976 they moved to Santa Clara, California where she continued pursuing an interest in art and photography. During this time Beldner would travel to San Francisco to go to punk rock concerts where she would photograph the bands, process the film, and make prints. In 1980, Beldner was introduced through a friend to a local punk rock musician, Steve Briscoe, who was a member of the band The Pseudos and a student at Santa Clara University. Beldner and Briscoe became close friends and art collaborators and eventually partners after Beldner and Madonick divorced in 1981. In 1983 Beldner and Briscoe both attended the San Francisco Art Institute (Briscoe for his M.F.A. and Beldner for her B.A.) where Beldner was awarded the James D. Phelan Art Award and studied photography with Reagan Louie, Pirkle Jones, Shari Lamanet, among others. In 1984 Beldner and Briscoe moved into their first studio after artist Jay DeFeo alerted them to studio space for rent in her building in West Oakland. They lived and worked there for the next 14 years, eventually buying a house in Oakland that also served as a studio and gallery.

Beldner has been exhibiting her work since 1981 and has had solo exhibitions in galleries throughout California, as well as in Portland, Oregon; Carbondale, Illinois; and Krefeld, Germany. Her works are in the collections of the Achenbach Graphic Art Council, San Francisco; the Berkeley Art Museum; and Stanford University; among others.

In addition to creating art, Beldner worked part-time as an administrative assistant. She left her last job at University of California, Berkeley in 2010 after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, due to being traumatized by multiple shooting incidents near her home, and was placed on permanent disability. In 2016 Beldner and Briscoe left Oakland when Briscoe accepted a position as the chief preparator at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at University of California, Davis. Beldner and Briscoe currently live in Woodland, California.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2020-M26, 2020-M67

The papers of Lynn Beldner were given to the Schlesinger Library by Lynn Beldner in February and August 2020.

Processing Information

Processed: October 2020

By: Laura Peimer.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
Link to catalog
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Processing of this collection was made possible by Radcliffe Class of 1956 and the Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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