Debbie Swanner papers, 1980s-1992

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Summary

Creator:
Swanner, Debbie, 1952-
Abstract:
Debbie Swanner is a radical feminist activist based in the Durham area and was a founding member of the Radical Feminist Organizing Committee (RFOC). The collection primarily documents Swanner's work with Brooke L. Williams and the Radical Feminist Organizing Committee (RFOC) in the 1980s and early 1990s. Collection contains organizational materials, RFOC publications, and correspondence between Swanner and other feminist activists. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
Extent:
1.25 Linear Feet
Language:
Materials in English.
Collection ID:
RL.13067

Background

Scope and content:

Collection consists of materials from Debbie Swanner's work as a radical feminist in Durham from the 1980s to 1992. The collection primarily documents Swanner's work with Brooke Williams and the Radical Feminist Organizing Committee (RFOC). The collection includes statements of principles related to the founding of the organization, as well as materials related to its national and international network. The collection contains RFOC's publication Feminism Lives!, as well as other writings published by RFOC and Brooke Williams. Feminism Lives! sought to advance radical feminist analysis and discussed topics such as equal rights, the right to abortion and birth control, feminist education, the future of feminism, lesbianism, and motherhood. Other RFOC materials include conference files, membership surveys, handouts and leaflets, and newspaper clippings. The collection also contains correspondence among Swanner and Brooke Williams, Dorothy Nixon, Midge Quandt, and Terry Mehlman, discussing RFOC and feminism.

Biographical / historical:

Debbie Swanner is a radical feminist activist based in the Durham area and was a founding member of the Radical Feminist Organizing Committee (RFOC). The Radical Feminist Organizing Committee was the first national radical feminist organization in the United States; it had also members from Canada. RFOC functioned both as an organization and as a semi-formal network of radical feminists. RFOC advocated for the end of male supremacy, the empowerment of all women, women's right to abortion, and the development of a feminist political theory. RFOC officially formed in May 1980, although its members had been active in the women's liberation movement since the 1970s. The organization was located in Durham, NC.

Brooke L. Williams (b. 1953), who often published under only her first name, was also a radical feminist activist and founding member of RFOC. Brooke's article "The State of Feminism" in off our backs (1980 February) was the catalyst for the creation of RFOC. She invited women who shared her principles to contact her, and the resulting group became RFOC. Brooke and Debbie Swanner published Feminism Lives!, RFOC's journal, together.

Acquisition information:
The Debbie Swanner papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift from Debbie Swanner in 2023.
Processing information:

Processed by Ofelia Lopez and Leah Tams, March 2024.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2023-0226.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Contents

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Restrictions:

Collection is open for research.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the Rubenstein Library's Citations, Permissions, and Copyright guide.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Debbie Swanner papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.