Rochella Thorpe Oral History Project Files,1992-1995

Collection Number: 7607

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Rochella Thorpe oral history project files, 1992-1995.
Collection Number:
7607
Creator:
Rochella Thorpe
Quantity:
.4 cubic ft.; 137 tape recordings, plus one box.
Forms of Material:
Audiotapes and transcripts.
Repository:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Tape recordings and transcripts of interviews with lesbians, mostly African-American and white, who lived in Detroit in the post-World War II period, 1947-1975.
Language:
Collection material in English


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

As a doctoral student in the History Department of Binghamton University, Rochella (Roey) Thorpe researched lesbian life in Detroit, 1947-1975. She looked at the quite separate environments of African-American and white lesbians created in the Post War era. Within racial groups, lesbians mostly associated with women of similar economic backgrounds. Rather than finding one homogenous lesbian community, Thorpe found many different lesbian communities, and looked at the ways these communities and their survival strategies changed over time.
Her study is based in Detroit, a city that saw great urban growth and racial tension prior to and during World War II. Women's work in Detroit's wartime factories represented significant changes for both white and African-American women. After World War II, the fear of spreading communism in the automobile unions made Detroit the site of the 1951 House UnAmerican Activities Committee investigations. Detroit was a Midwest center for the civil rights, anti-war, and feminist movements of the 1960s and the emergence of the gay liberation movement in the 1970s. In 1970, Detroit women formed a chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, and the radical newspaper THE DETROIT GAY LIBERATOR began publishing.
Thorpe's study includes substantial interviews with lesbians who lived in Detroit over this time period. Thorpe was the first openly lesbian candidate to be elected to the City of Ithaca (N.Y.) Common Council. The 5th Ward elected her as Alderwoman for a term from 1994 through 1997.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Tape recordings of interviews with fifty lesbians, mostly African-American and white, who lived in Detroit in the post-World War II period, 1947-1975. Transcripts are available for twenty-three interviews.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Thorpe, Rochella.

Subjects:
Lesbians--Michigan--Detroit--Social life and customs.
African American Lesbians--Michigan--Detroit--Social life and customs.

Form and Genre Terms:
Interviews


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Restrictions on Use:
Box 2 contains copies of the transcripts in box 1. Any patron copies should be made from the items in box 2.
Audiocassettes may not be played. All of the tapes have been digitized, for access to audio, please contact RMC staff.
Cite As:
Rochella Thorpe oral history project files, #7607. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Collecting Program: Human Sexuality Collection.

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1-23
Transcripts for tapes 7360a-7426a
Any patron copies should be made from the items in box 2.
Box 2 Folder 1-23
Copies of transcripts in box 1
Any patron copies should be made from the items in this box.
Audiotapes
Audio cassettes cannot be played.
All of the tapes in this collection have been digitized, for access please contact RMC staff.
tr7360a - tr7362a
Mable
1992-06-24
tr7363a, tr7364a
Linda
1992-08-28
tr7365a - tr7368a
Anita
1992-06-29
tr7369a - tr7372a
Judy
1992-06-25
tr7373a - tr7376a
Marie
1992-06-30
tr7377a - tr7379a
B. Koz
1992-08-22
tr7380a - tr7382a
Muriel
1992-06-23
tr7383a, tr7384a
C.B. (Claire)
1992-02-07
tr7385a - tr7387a
Renee
1992-06-24
tr7388a - tr7390a
Sher
1992-08-15
Tape tr7390a is blank.
tr7391a - tr7393a
Larry
1992-08-01
tr7394a - tr7396a
Carol Kironac
1992-06-08
tr7397a - tr7400a
Beth Brant
1992-08-03
tr7401a - tr7402a
Jay
1992-08-16
tr7403a - tr7404a
Sue
1992-08-27
tr7405a - tr7407a
Gay Whiteside
Undated
tr7408a - tr7410a
Rebecca
1992-08-05
tr7411a - tr7414a
Sharon
1992-06-14
tr7415a - tr7417a
Martha
1992-07-05
tr7418a
Pat Pardee
1991-11-15
tr7419a - tr7420a
Melloniece
1992-06-27
tr7421a - tr7425a
Elvira
1992-06-25
tr7426a
Chuck Alexander
1992-02-06
tr7917a
Ruth Ellis
1992-01-16
tr7918a - tr7920a
Billie Hill
1992-01-24
tr7921a
Beverly Dale
1992-02-08
tr7922a - tr7923a
Judith Hill
1992-02-06
tr7924a
Margaret Butler
1992-02-05
tr7925a - tr7926a
Carol Hoke
Undated
Tape tr7926a is blank.
tr7927a
Sonya Show: Donna and Suzie
1982-01-12
tr7928a - tr7931a
Brandy
1992-06-23
tr7932a - tr7934a
Toni
1992-06-17
tr7935a - tr7936a
Billie Jo and Jessica
Undated
tr7937a - tr7943a
Thelma, Diane, JP
Undated
tr7944a - tr7945a
Party at JB's
Undated
Note on case:"this tape is a conversation between [Roey], JB, Caerdwyn, Mari, and a woman who prefers to remain anonymous (trades woman)."
tr7946a - tr7949a
Veronica Crump
1992-06-05
tr7950a - tr7952a
Karla Baldwin
1992-06-03
tr7953a
Mary Ellen S.
1992-02-04
tr7954a - tr7958a
Marilyn
1992-06-12
tr7959a - tr7961a
Margaret Lorick
Undated
tr7961a - tr7963a
Alice
1992-08-26
tr7963a - tr7965a
Margaret and Alice
1992-08-26
tr7966a - tr7972a
Evelyn (Lynne)
1992-06-16
tr7973a - tr7975a
Sarah
1992-08-26
tr7976a
Sylvia
1992-06-19
tr7977a - tr7979a
Ruth
1992-08-21
tr7980a - tr7982a
JB and friends
1992-08-10
tr7983a - tr7986a
Katherine
1992-08-11
Tape tr7986a is blank.