Cookie Teer papers, 1971-2000, bulk 1983-1997
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- Teer, Dorothy "Cookie" and Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture
- Cookie Teer (Dorothy Foster Teer, 1941- ) is a radical feminist, activist, and speaker from Durham, North Carolina. The papers date date chiefly from 1983-1997, providing in-depth documentation of the social, cultural, and political debates over pornography in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, with materials from both proponents and opponents of anti-pornography, as well as detailed documentation of the pornography industry, and transcripts from hearings organized by the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, and other legislative activities. Other material relates to feminist activists, including Nikki Craft, Catherine MacKinnon, and Andrea Dworkin. Teer's extensive subject files also contain clippings, correspondence, interviews, and other materials pertaining to women's rights, feminists, feminist organizations and events, and social issues related to women and children such as rape, pornography, incest, prostitution, domestic violence, child custody, and child abuse. Other materials relate to her ownership of the Southern Sisters bookstore (Durham, N.C.), such as promotional materials, newsletters, events fliers, and calendars. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University.
- 31.2 Linear Feet
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
The materials in the Cookie Teer papers date from 1971 to 2000, with the bulk of the collection dating between 1983 and 1997. These materials include: newspaper clippings, magazines, correspondence, photographs, meeting minutes, manuscripts, notes, published books, audio and videotapes, organizational records, and court transcripts. The collection documents Teer's activism during this period; the feminist issues with which she was concerned; feminist and anti-pornography activism in and around Chapel Hill and Durham, N.C.; and the activities of the organizations of which Teer was a member, including the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) and Pornography Awareness.
The materials provide detailed documentation of the social, cultural, and political debates over pornography in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, with materials from both proponents and opponents of anti-pornography legislation, as well as detailed documentation of the pornography industry, with a focus on publications such as Playboy and Hustler. Transcripts from hearings organized by the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography supplement these materials, with testimony from all sides of the pornography debate.
Teer's extensive subject files (37 boxes) contain newspaper and magazine clippings, correspondence, and printed items pertaining to women's rights, feminists, feminist organizations and events, and social issues related to women and children such as rape, pornography, incest, prostitution, domestic violence, child custody, and child abuse. Other materials relate to her ownership of the Southern Sisters bookstore (Durham, N.C.), such as promotional materials, newsletters, events fliers, several rolodex files, rubber stamps, and calendars.
The collection also contains materials related to particular feminist activists and theorists, including Nikki Craft, Catherine MacKinnon, and Andrea Dworkin.
- Biographical / historical:
Dorothy "Cookie" Foster Teer was born on August 15, 1941 to Dorothy and Nello Teer, Jr. of Durham, N.C. After a stint in New York, she returned to Durham in the 1970s to go into business. After taking some courses at Duke Divinity School, she joined the committee that founded Triangle Hospice. In the early 1980s, Teer became an overnight radical feminist, activist, and speaker, giving over 400 slide shows around the United States on pornography, sex role stereotyping, and child pornography. A 1987 dinner conversation led to her co-founding of Southern Sisters Bookstore, a Durham, N.C. bookstore "by, for, and about women" that served as a haven for activism and women's experiences. By the late 1980s and 1990s, Teer was heavily involved in advocacy efforts around child custody, divorce, and domestic abuse, and frequently had "mothers on the run" living in her home. With a group of other women activists and radicals, Teer founded a writing collective called Women Against Sex; they gave a paper at a conference in New York with the same title, which is still printed in anthologies. Married and divorced twice, Teer had three children. After Southern Sisters Bookstore closed, Teer took a step back from activism, and began working as a real estate agent who, with a woman builder friend, restored and sold old houses.
Date Event 1945, Aug. 15 Born in Durham, N.C. 1960-1962 Attended Finch College, New York, N.Y. 1962-1964 Attended University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 1971-1978 Co-owner and Vice President, Vestido, Inc., Chapel Hill, N.C. and Atlanta, Ga. 1978 Founding member, Triangle Hospice, N.C. 1979-1985 Triangle Hospice Patient and Family Volunteer, N.C. 1980-1983 Triangle Hospice Director of Development, N.C. 1981-1984 Triangle Hospice Special Events Coordinator, N.C. 1981-1986 Member N.C. N.O.W. Task Force on Violence Against Women (Chair 1985-1986) 1983-1987 Received funding grants for contested child custody cases in Orange County, N.C. courts, resulting in the 1991 book Gender Bias, the Family and the Law. 1983-1993 Co-founder, Pornography Awareness, Inc. 1985 Jan. Founder and Chair, "Is There a Relationship Between Pornography and Sexual Violence" symposium, Duke University, Durham, N.C. 1985 Oct. Founder and Chair, "Women Surviving: Cultural Patterns" symposium, North Carolina Central University, Durham, N.C. 1985-1990 National Anti-Pornography Civil Rights Steering Committee 1986 Co-founded A Southern Women's Writing Collective 1986-1991 Duke University Council for Women's Studies 1987 Co-founder of N.C. Mobilization Action Project, N.C. Marital Rape Law 1987-1988 Served on Board of Directors, Orange County Planned Parenthood, N.C. 1987-1990 Member of Durham Orange Battered Women's Coalition, N.C. 1988-1992 Served as Orange County Human Relations Commissioner, N.C. 1988-1995 Acted as co-founder, President, and CEO of Southern Sisters Bookstore, Durham, N.C. 1989 Chair and organizer, Orange County Human Relations Committee hearings, "Quality and Status of Life for Women and Children in Orange County," N.C. 1989-1990 Co-founded Orange County Committee for Justice for Women, Orange County, N.C. 1989 Served on Board of Directors of Orange County Women's Center, N.C. 1990-1992 Co-authored Orange County Human Rights Code, Orange County, N.C.
- Acquisition information:
- The Cookie Teer Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2003.
- Processing information:
Processed by Angela DiVeglia, April 2010.
Encoded by Alexandra Krensky, August 2010.
Accession 2000-0243 and 2016-0290 are described in this collection guide.
Some information, such as credit card numbers, have been redacted by library staff.
Restrictions on the collection have been lifted by donor, and description edited by Paula Jeannet, October 2023
Collection is arranged into the following series: Subject Files; Orange County (N.C.) Human Relations Commission; Attorney General's Commission on Pornography; Southern Sisters Bookstore; and an oversized materials group.
- Rules or conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- Booksellers and bookselling -- North Carolina -- Durham
Child pornography -- United States
Child sexual abuse -- United States
Custody of children -- United States
Family Violence -- United States
Pornography -- Censorship
Pornography -- Law and legislation -- United States
Pornography -- Psychological aspects
Prostitution -- United States
Violence in mass media
Women -- Violence against
Women in the book industries and trade -- United States
Women political activists -- United States
- National Organization for Women
Southern Sisters Bookstore
United States. Attorney General's Commission on Pornography
Women Against Pornography
Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture
Teer, Dorothy "Cookie"
MacKinnon, Catharine A.
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[Identification of item], Cookie Teer Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University