Records of Persephone Press, 1975-1984
Records of Persephone Press, an independent publishing company specializing in lesbian and feminist literature.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Persephone Press 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. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent10.13 linear feet ((21 file boxes, 1 folio+ box) plus 1 folio folder, 3 folio+ folders, 13 photograph folders, 13 audiotapes, 4 objects)
The records of Persephone Press document the financial, administrative, and editorial work of a lesbian feminist independent publishing company. Records include correspondence with authors and agents, contracts, legal files, book reviews, interviews with authors, promotional and marketing materials, receipts, and royalty statements. Also documented are events organized by Pomegranate Productions, including the 1976 Through the Looking Glass conference on women's spirituality and a number of book-related public events in Boston and other cities.
Most of the material arrived at the Library in titled folders, these titles are reflected in the inventory. Folder titles created by the archivist are in brackets. In some cases, material (for example, advertisements placed in issues of Book News) was filed in folders with one item per folder; where appropriate, the archivist grouped this material together into one larger folder. The collection is arranged in five series.
Persephone Press was founded in 1976 in Watertown, Massachusetts, as a lesbian-feminist collective originally called Pomegranate Productions. The goal of Persephone Press was to produce innovative material to foster lesbian sensibility and to effect social change by building a successful feminist publishing company and communications network. Sales of its first publication, The Feminist Tarot, helped subsidize a women's spirituality conference, "Through the Looking Glass: A Gynergenetic Experience," organized by Pomegranate Productions and held in Boston in April 1976. The founding three members of the collective were Pat McGloin, Gloria Z. Greenfield, and Marianne Rubenstein. Rubenstein left the collective in 1977; Deborah Snow joined in 1978. In 1980, Greenfield and McGloin incorporated Persephone Press as a partnership; Greenfield served as financial administrator, McGloin as director of marketing. Persephone Press was sold to Beacon Press in 1983.
In its short time in operation, Persephone Press published a number of extremely influential books, including The Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa (1981), and Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982). Persephone also published the following volumes, most written by or about lesbians: A Feminist Tarot by Sally Gearhart and Susan Rennie (1976), Fourteenth Witch by Shelley Blue Grabel (1977), Wanderground by Sally Gearhart (1979), Coming Out Stories edited by Julia Stanley and Susan Wolfe (1980), Woman, Church & State by Matilda Jocelyn Gage, with new introduction by Sally Wagner (1980), Choices by Nancy Toder (1980), Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise by Michelle Cliff (1980), Lesbian Poetry: An Anthology edited by Elly Bulkin and Joan Larkin (1981), Lifetime Guarantee by Alice Bloch (1981), Lesbian Fiction: An Anthology edited by Elly Bulkin (1981), Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology edited by Evelyn Torton Beck (1982), and Keeper of Accounts by Irena Klepfisz (1982).
The collection is arranged in five series:
- Series I. Administrative and financial, 1975-1984 (#1.1-5.7, 22F+B.1, F+D.1)
- Series II. Book production and publicity, 1976-1983 (#5.8-8.55, FD.1, F+D.2-F+D.3)
- Series III. Correspondence, 1976-1983 (#9.1v-21.59)
- Series IV. Photographs and memorabilia, 1976-1982 (#PD.1-PD.13, Mem.1-Mem.4)
- Series V. Audiovisual, 1977-1982 (#T-439.1-T-439.13)
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession number: 2008-M50
The records of Persephone Press were given to the Schlesinger Library by Gloria Z. Greenfield and Patricia McGloin Waitt in March 2008.
Processed: January 2020
By: Jenny Gotwals, with assistance from Sarah DeRupo and Molly Kirkpatrick.
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.
- Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Dobkin, Alix
- Feminism and literature--United States
- Feminist literature--United States
- Feminist music--United States
- Feminist spirituality--Massachusetts
- Feminists--United States
- Jewish lesbians--Untied States
- Jewish women
- Lesbianism in literature
- Lesbians' writings, American
- Lesbians--United States
- Near, Holly
- Publishers and publishing--United States
- Small presses--United States
- Women in the book industries and trade--United States
- Women publishers--United States
- Women's music
- Women--Social networks
- Women-owned business enterprises--Massachusetts--Watertown
- Persephone Press. Records of Persephone Press, 1975-1984: A Finding Aid
- 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
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