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B-E Collection: Lesbians and Their Careers

Identifier: SPC-2021-020

Scope and Contents

The B-E Collection: Lesbians and Their Careers collection contains an ongoing series of oral history interviews with lesbians talking about their lives and includes discussions regarding childhood; family; careers and other employment opportunities; lesbian relationships and experiences with coming out; education; gender and sexual identity; friendships; hobbies; their thoughts regarding Roe vs. Wade; and other topics; as well as experiences with discrimination; sexual harassment; activism; affirmative action; and equal opportunity. This collection is comprised of five series. Series I: Individual Interviews contains interviews conducted with individuals of the lesbian community; Series II: To Have and To Hold Interviews contains interviews with lesbian couples; Series III: Special Topic Interviews contains interviews regarding specific topics such as gay conversion; Series IV: Your Vote, Your Voice contains lesbians discussing their thoughts regarding abortion; Roe vs. Wade; and the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS); and Series V: Documents contains one digitzied copy of an article in "Pride and a Paycheck" regarding the B-E Collection.


  • March 2021-April 2023


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

The B-E collection was started by Dianne Barrett, R.N. and floral designer; and her spouse, Margaret Elfering, an orthopedic surgeon. Both retired, Barrett and Elfering decided to start the collection as a way to record the stories and legacies of lesbians and their careers. The collection name is shorthand for their last names (Barrett-Elfering) but is also derived from the verb “be” as defined as “to exist” or “to occur or take place” as a “means of bearing witness to the stories of lesbians of different generations, from different walks of life”. The mission of this collection as stated by the creators is “to dignify the accomplishments, pride, and effort lesbians put forth in their careers on their journey in their life. Many of us had the “don’t talk” we are talking”.


128 digital items (127 .mp4 video files; 1 pdf)

60.3 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



This collection contains oral history interviews of lesbians discussing their lives and includes discussions regarding childhood, careers, coming out, lesbian relationships, family, hobbies, education, and other topics. Material in this collection is available to view at:Lesbians and Their Careers (B-E Collection)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Margaret Elfering and Dianne Barrett on behalf of all interviewees; 2021.

Processing Information

Digital files were processed by Karen Clemons, 2021, 2022; and Jesus Padilla, 2022.

Inventory of the B-E Collection: Lesbians and Their Careers
In Progress
Karen Clemons; Jesus Padilla
2021-09; updated 2022-01, 2022-03, 2022-04; 2022-06; 2022-07; 2022-08; 2022-09; 2022-11; 2022-12; 2023-03
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747