The ALFA Periodicals Collection, dated 1962-1994, contains over 800 grassroots newsletter and journal titles, many of which are now ephemeral and not in any library. The publications were collected by ALFA generally by means of exchange subscriptions with other lesbian, feminist, and activist groups from all over the U.S. and abroad. The periodicals cover a range of topics of interest and concern to socialist lesbian feminists. In addition to strictly lesbian and feminist publications, there is a wealth of publications from other leftist activist groups covering political and social causes from anti-nuclear weapons, to AIDS activism, to the beginnings of the men's movement. The collection helps document these various political movements as well as the issues facing the people whose task it was to document them.
The Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance (ALFA) was founded in 1972 by a group of radical lesbians, many socialist and all feminist, who broke away from Atlanta's Women's Liberation Center and the Gay Liberation movement because they felt that neither had adequately addressed issues of concern to women as lesbians and lesbians as women. ALFA initially worked to fill a social void for and to offer a political voice to Atlanta lesbians, publicizing its efforts through a self-produced monthly newsletter, the Atalanta.
Over the years, as the political and cultural climate changed and lesbians created new avenues through which to pursue their interests, ALFA struggled to find a clear and unique sense of purpose; this historically telling struggle is well-documented by ALFA itself, in minutes and mailings to its membership. In spite of its eventual decision to disband, ALFA remains known as one of the oldest lesbian feminist organizations in the United States, and a pioneer in the fight for lesbian, gay, and women's rights.
One of the activities of ALFA--deeply concerned from the outset with the preservation of lesbian "herstory"--was to build and maintain the Southern Feminist Library and Archives (SFLA). The library and archives, which provided a material link between ALFA and other progressive movements and organizations throughout the world, included the archival records of ALFA and several other southern feminist groups; a massive collection of feminist, lesbian, and activist periodicals; and a circulating library of feminist and gay and lesbian books. ALFA disbanded in 1994 after over 20 years of Southern feminist activism. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
Processed by Laura Micham, David Faulds, and Ginny Daley, October 1995.
Encoded by Noah Huffman and Abraham Lee, April 2010
Accession 1994-0040 is described in this finding aid.
For the most part, the original order of the ALFA Periodicals Collection was maintained after being transferred to Duke. Minor rearrangements of some of the publications helped to reduce confusion and make the collection more easily accessible. ALFA provided their Kardex file, which documents each title and issue as they were received an logged in by the organization. The original Kardex file is available in the repository and has been checked against the collection and modified as necessary.