Records of the Clearinghouse on Femicide, 1972-1999
Administrative records and clipping files of Clearinghouse on Femicide, an organization that researched and raised awareness of gender-based killing.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Clearinghouse on Femicide as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent7 linear feet ((7 cartons) plus 1 folio+ folder)
The records of the Clearinghouse on Femicide include administrative and research files from the Clearinghouse and its precursor, Women Against Femicide. These records document the rise of the use of the term "femicide," tied both to Diana Russell's work and to its use by Domingo and other activists. Correspondence reveals national and international networks of feminist activists, especially responding to the Montreal Massacre. Some correspondence suggests tensions between feminists over carceral solutions to violence against women, particularly when women were incarcerated for fighting back or protecting themselves from attackers. In addition the research files evidence individual acts of femicide throughout the 1970s through the early 1990s. The records also document the difficulties of sustaining an information clearinghouse on a tight budget; struggles to raise money are evident throughout the records.
Chris Domingo is the creator of many of the files in these records, although a few were created by Clearinghouse volunteers or by Laura X. The Clearinghouse records remained with Domingo until her death in 2002. They were then in the custody of Domingo's friend Rik Penn and Diana Russell. Russell and Laura X added some relevant clippings to the collection through the late 1990s. In 2019 the Clearinghouse records were moved to the care of Danielle Pauley. Much of the collection arrived at the Schlesinger Library in titled folders. Titles in brackets in the inventory were created by the archivist. The collection is arranged in three series.
Series I, WOMEN AGAINST FEMICIDE, 1978-1982, contains administrative files from that group's short-lived history. Of note are a conference packet from the Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media 1978 conference, and a grant application Women Against Violence in Pornography used to raise funding for that conference, which Chris Domingo used as a model for a failed grant to create an international femicide conference. A number of Women Against Femicide files were built on or added to later as the Clearinghouse came to fruition; administrative files that span the two groups are in Series II (for example, "Visions" in Carton 3). Many of the clippings files in Series III were begun by Women Against Femicide. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series II, CLEARINGHOUSE ADMINISTRATIVE, 1981-1999, includes meeting notes and minutes, correspondence, financial records and grant applications, layout drafts of the Clearinghouse's newsletter, Memory and Rage, and Domingo's writings on femicide. Administrative files show the work needed to run a small nonprofit on little budget; files on volunteers, bulk mailings, photocopying, grant funding, how to locate and organize information, all point to Domingo's vision for the Clearinghouse. Grant applications required Domingo to articulate that vision to potential funders, and also show the close networks of San Francisco Bay Area feminist organizations, as Domingo needed to have some of those larger non-profit organizations act as financial sponsors for money the Clearinghouse was granted. Correspondents include activists, academics, feminist organizations, and members of the public interested in the topic of femicide. Letter writers also include incarcerated women, and friends and family of women who were killed or are missing, seeking help. Significant correspondence is with Canadian feminists organizing around the Montreal Massacre. Files for individual issues of Memory and Rage are primarily print mock-ups of issues, but also contain draft articles, notes, and original artwork and clippings for some issues. Final issues of Memory and Rage that came with the collection were transferred to the Schlesinger's Books and published material department for individual cataloging. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series III, CLIPPING AND RESEARCH FILES, 1972-1998, contains files on topics related to femicide. Most contain newspaper clippings; some also contain articles from small newsletters or feminist periodicals like Off Our Backs, scholarly articles, or book chapters relevant to the topic. Clippings are from San Francisco Bay Area newspapers as well as national papers. Some of these files, in general those dating from the 1970s, were begun by Women Against Femicide and added to by the Clearinghouse on Femicide. Several files contain clippings dating from after 1994; these were mostly added later by Laura X or other Clearinghouse supporters.
A few files focus on specific cases Domingo and the Clearinghouse were involved in. Several files highlight specific California cases involving femicide or women incarcerated for attacking or killing batterers. Files on Merrill Dedmon and Judge Golde in Carton 4 relate to a case of attempted murder by Dedmon's son-in-law and Domingo's opposition to Judge Golde being assigned to the case. This series also includes petitions the Clearinghouse disseminated and collected to create a national day of remembrance in Canada for the 1989 Montreal massacre of women students at the École Polytechnique (in Carton 6). While mainly focused on the United States and Canada, the Clearinghouse clippings files also include articles about international femicide cases. The series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
In 1979, a series of women were murdered and abandoned in parks throughout Marin and Santa Cruz Counties in northern California. Feminist Chris Domingo (born Louise Christine Pocock, 1951-2002), disturbed by these unsolved murders, founded Women Against Femicide, a small study group intended to learn about, raise awareness of, and hold an international conference on femicide. Domingo took her definition of "femicide," a hate crime involving the killing of women and girls because of their gender, from the work of scholar Diana E.H. Russell. While Women Against Femicide received some financial support from the Berkeley Women's Center and Bay Area Women Against Rape, raising money to organize and fund an international conference was too difficult a task for a small group of women. After the May 1981 arrest of David Carpenter ("The Trailside Killer") for the serial killings begun in 1979, Women Against Femicide disbanded. Domingo kept all the articles, newsclippings, and other research that Women Against Femicide had collected.
In May 1989, Domingo reached out to Diana Russell (who was in the process of writing Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing with Jill Radford) and offered her research files from the beginning of the decade if they would be helpful to Russell's work. The two began to correspond about the topic. On December 6, 1989, fourteen women engineering students were shot at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada, by Mark Lepine, who declared his intent to "kill all the feminists." This event spurred Domingo to return to the project of raising awareness about femicide, and she created the Clearinghouse on Femicide, partly inspired by activist Laura X's National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape. Domingo ran the Clearinghouse, also known as the Berkeley Clearinghouse on Femicide, from 1989 to around 1994. She wrote grants, raised money, directed volunteers, collected clippings for the research files, publicized the work of the Clearinghouse, and corresponded with activists, academics, and the general public about its work. Domingo and the Clearinghouse participated in an international effort to petition the Canadian House of Commons to establish a National Day of Remembrance for the "Montreal Massacre"; this was created in Canada in 1991.
Domingo referred to the Clearinghouse as both "Clearinghouse on Femicide" and "Berkeley Clearinghouse on Femicide," sometimes in the same document. Bank and other accounts were established under each name. Domingo defined the Clearinghouse on Femicide on the many grant applications included in this collection: "The Clearinghouse on Femicide is a feminist nonprofit collective involved in research, education, advocacy and activism to stop misogynist murder. Purpose: to raise awareness about femicide (sexist murder) and to encourage activism to eliminate it, to work toward the elimination of femicide, to do this work from a perspective that promotes equality for all women." In general the Clearinghouse espoused a carceral approach to violence against women, but documentation in the records around individual cases shows Domingo's growing awareness of the racialized outcomes that sometimes resulted. The Clearinghouse published a newsletter, Memory and Rage, from 1990 to 1992. The Clearinghouse struggled to raise funds to pay for publicity, space, photocopying, and paid staff work time. In addition to applying for grants, the Clearinghouse raised money through individual memberships, yard sales, and through donations from sales at local thrift stores.
Domingo retired from working with the Clearinghouse in 1994, and returned to school to get a MA in Women's Studies from San Francisco State University. She died in 2002.
The collection is arranged in three series:
- Series I. Women Against Femicide, 1978-1982
- Series II. Clearinghouse administrative, 1981-1999
- Series III. Clipping and research files, 1972-1998
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession number: 2020-M69
The records of the Clearinghouse on Femicide were acquired by the Schlesinger Library from Glenn Horowitz Booksellers in August 2020.
Donors: Glenn Horowitz Booksellers
Accession number: 2020-M69
Processed by: Jenny Gotwals
Issues of the following titles have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection:
- A Lesbian Position
- ASAP, from the Association of Sexual Abuse Prevention professionals
- Believe the Children newsletter
- Californians ACT
- capsule, from the Child Assault Prevention Training Center of Northern California
- Center News, from the Women's Cancer Resource Center
- Coalition Commentary, from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- Colorado Domestic Violence Coalition [newsletter]
- Consultant, from the California Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
- Emerge, from the Family Violence Law Center
- Ending Men's Violence Newsletter, from the NOMAS Ending Men's Violence Task Group
- Family Violence and Sexual Assault Bulletin
- Family Violence Bulletin
- Federation of Women Teachers' Association of Ontario newsletter
- Feminist Majority Report
- Forum, from the National Institute Against Prejudice and Violence
- Instraw News
- International Lesbian Information Service newsletter
- Kinnheart Connection
- Memory and Rage
- NCASA News
- Networker, from the Family Violence Network
- News Page, from Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media
- ReCAP, from the National Assault Prevention Center
- Survivor: a creative journal by men and women survivors of sexual assault
- UCSF Women's Resource Center newsletter
- Update, from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Violence Update
- Vis a Vis
- Wise Woman
- Women for a Meaningful Summit
- Women's Foundation (SF) newsletter
- Worldwide Women's Rights
- WAI News, from Women Against Imperialism
Processed: November 2020
By: Jenny Gotwals
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.
- Family violence--United States
- Feminism--United States
- Mass murder--Québec (Province)--Montréal
- Rape--United States
- Sex crimes
- Sex discrimination in criminal justice administration
- Wife abuse--United States
- Women--Crimes against--Canada
- Women--Crimes against--United States
- Women--Information services
- Women--United States--Social conditions
- Women--Violence against--United States
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeanette Ward Fund.
- EAD ID
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. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.
3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA