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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1210: CD-125: Vt-328: DVD-154

Records of Good Vibrations, 1964-2012 (inclusive), 1992-2002 (bulk)


Administrative records, educational materials, video production scripts, product catalogs, audiovisual material, and memorabilia documenting the operations of the sex toy company, Good Vibrations, including its evolution into a worker-owned cooperative, Open Enterprises Cooperative, Inc., and eventual reincorporation.


  • Creation: 1964-2012
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1992-2002


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research, with the exception of folder #5.11, which contains personally identifiable information about an employee and is closed until January 1, 2066. Researchers must contact Research Services for access to audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Good Vibrations, Down There Press, and Sexpositve Productions is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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.


8.17 linear feet ((15 file boxes, 2 folio boxes) plus 2 folio+ folders, 6 photograph folders, 10 slides, 1 videotape, 2 CDs, 1 DVD)
46.14 Megabytes

The collection documents the operations of Good Vibrations and associated businesses (Open Enterprises Cooperative, Inc., Down There Press, and Sexpositive Productions) primarily from the 1990s to the early 2000s and contains administrative records such as meeting minutes, financial reports, board of director meeting agendas and meeting minutes, correspondence, employee records, event planning documents, press releases, draft marketing material, draft artwork for marketing, educational material, subject files, clippings, and video scripts. The collection also contains product catalogs, sales literature, original artwork, and memorabilia. The collection includes materials that demonstrate how Good Vibrations used marketing, branding, outreach, and community engagement to shift sex positivity into the mainstream. Additionally, the collection includes material that documents Good Vibrations' involvement with local groups and causes in San Francisco such as LGBTQ advocacy and community organizations, sex worker rights advocacy, book festivals, artist organizations, etc.

The collection is organized in two series.

Series I, ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS, 1988-2012 (#1.1-10.25, 16FD.1-16FD.3, F+D.1-F+D.2, PD.1-PD.2sl, E.1), contains administrative and financial records related to the day-to-day management of a worker-owned retail business such as board of directors' records, employee records, staff meetings, and public inquiries to the stores. All Good Vibrations staff files show the type of information all employees needed to be aware of and interact with and Store notes files give insight to the type of inquiries the store received and the workflow associated with responding. Administrative records also include meeting agendas and minutes from the Continuing Education Team, which was responsible for employee training and development; Creative Team, which was responsible for visual aspects of marketing; Marketing Team and Outreach Team, which coordinated events, public relations, and advertising; and the Management Team and Facilitation Team, which provided leadership and direction to operations. Additionally, this series documents the sister companies under Open Enterprises Cooperative Inc.: Down There Press and Sexpositive Productions (Video Team). The Video Team records largely consist of scripts from the Good Vibrations Guide to the G-Spot, Please Don't Stop, Voluptuous Vixens, and Whipsmart a Beginning Couple's Guide to SM (sadomasochism). The collection also contains material documenting the planning, staffing, and evaluation of After Hours, a community education event series focusing on sexual pleasure hosted at the store. After Hours records also highlight the unique concerns of Good Vibrations employees relating to personal boundaries. Carol Queen, staff sexologist, held a leadership role in the company and produced many meeting notes, to-do lists, correspondences, and records related to her writing career. Additionally, Queen collected widely on subjects such as censorship of sex and the adult entertainment industry, academic societies focused on sex and sexuality studies, sexual health, sex worker rights, and sexual pleasure for older adults and people with disabilities. Some subject file material was collected by Queen and is titled to reflect this. The main collector of other files is more ambiguous, for example much of the material from Sanford Berman, librarian and anti-censorship activist, was in unopened envelopes addressed to Joani Blank and Leigh Davidson, Managing Editor of Down There Press.

The material is organized alphabetically. Many folder titles are original to the company's organization of this material and appear in quotes. Other folder titles were created by the processor.

Series II, PRINT MATERIAL, SALES LITERATURE, AND MEMORABILIA, 1964-2006 (#11.1-15.15, 16FD.4-16FD.5m, PD.3-PD.6, E.2, 17FDm.1-17FDm.3, CD-125.1-CD-125.2, Vt-328.1, DVD-154.1), contains primarily print material produced by Good Vibrations including product catalogs such as the Catalog of Toys, The Sexuality Library, and the Video Library that feature sex toys, pornography, educational books, and videos on sexual pleasure and sexual health; sales brochures that advertise mail order services and important customer information; promotional postcards featuring Good Vibrations branding and the Antique Vibrator Museum; promotional flyers for events hosted at the stores; and memorabilia. The series also contains artwork displayed in the in-store gallery, event flyers for community events that were likely distributed in stores, business awards, and staff photographs. Early edition catalogs highlight the marketing of sex positive attitudes in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The series is arranged alphabetically with audiovisual material and memorabilia listed at the end. Many file titles are original to the company's organization of this material and appear in quotes. Other folder titles were created by the processor.


Good Vibrations is a sex-positive company selling videos, sex toys, and erotica. It was the second woman-owned store focused on sex products in the United States. Founder Joani Blank (1937-2016) began selling products out of her home in San Francisco, California, in 1977. Blank also founded Down There Press in 1975 to publish sex-positive and feminist books for women about sex; the success of these books led her to open a store that would focus on education and products for women's sexual pleasure. Good Vibrations began a mail-order business in 1985, selling books, videos, erotica, and sex toys. Blank opened the first Good Vibrations commercial property at 1210 Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, in 1989. The first Good Vibrations retail location was also home to Blank's antique vibrator collection, later coined the Antique Vibrator Museum, which has become a tourist destination. Blank wanted to provide a bright, welcoming, and educational place to buy vibrators and other erotica items.

Good Vibrations would eventually operate two retail locations in San Francisco and, in 1997, they expanded retail locations to Berkeley, California. In 1992, Blank sold the company to its employees, and it operated as a worker-owned cooperative under the name Open Enterprises Cooperative, Inc. Sister company, Sexpositive Productions, opened under Open Enterprises Cooperative, Inc. in 2001 to produce feminist erotic films. Good Vibrations employees dissolved the worker-owned cooperative in 2006 and voted to become a for-profit corporation. In 2007, Good Vibrations merged with General Video of America and Trans World News, an Ohio-based adult media and novelty distribution company.

In service of creating an educational environment, Good Vibrations hired a staff sexologist, Carol Queen, in 1990. Queen studied sociology at the University of Oregon and sexology at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, a private graduate education institution which was technically unaccredited but was approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education during the Institute's operations from 1976-2018. Queen has published on bisexuality, kink, and sex positivity.

Good Vibrations was also involved in early e-commerce. In 1995, the company created a website, began selling products online, and hosted advertisements on sites like CitySearch to build their business. Good Vibrations sold products across the United States. This commercial activity wasn't legal in every state due to state anti-obscenity and sodomy laws. Good Vibrations was involved with adult industry trade associations fighting these restrictions in the courts. Good Vibrations was also involved in other social movements including anti-censorship, sex positivity, LGBTQ rights, and sex worker rights.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Administrative records, 1988-2012 (#1.1-10.25, 16FD.1-16FD.3, F+D.1-F+D.2, PD.1-PD.2sl, E.1)
  2. Series II. Print material, sales literature, and memorabilia, 1964-2006 (#11.1-15.15, 16FD.4-16FD.5m, PD.3-PD.6, E.2, 17FDm.1-17FDm.3, CD-125.1-CD-125.2, Vt-328.1, DVD-154.1)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2019-M29

The records of Good Vibrations were acquired by the Schlesinger Library from the Center of Sex & Culture of San Francisco in 2019.

Processing Information

Processed: March 2023

By: Maria Lee, with assistance from Janin Escobedo-Garcia

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.



Good Vibrations (Firm). Records of Good Vibrations, 1964-2012 (inclusive), 1992-2002 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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. 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.

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