The items in this online exhibition evoke the stories of American women through the ages.
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Great Southeast Lesbian Conference t-shirt, 1975

Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute

Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute


T-shirts are a means of self-expression, a way to share one’s sociopolitical views, sexuality, sense of humor, and/or favorite bands with strangers and potential friends. Sometimes, as in this case, T-shirts are memorabilia of underdocumented occasions, all that’s left to testify to their having taken place. There is little written about the Great Southeast Lesbian Conference, held in May 1975 in Atlanta and sponsored by the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance. This simple item not only affirms its existence, but illuminates the playful and celebratory side of the event. 

As screen-printing technology became cheaper and more accessible through the middle of the 20th century, T-shirts—inexpensive, easy to clean, unisex, and comfortable to wear—emerged as a popular souvenir for concerts and conferences. Other T-shirts in the Library’s collection include many bearing feminist slogans; some printed for political campaigns, marches, and women’s music festivals; and several worn by the Radcliffe crew team.

Charlotte Bunch Papers

Catalog record:


Learn more:

See the Schlesinger Library's research guide on LGBTQ-related topics.

Heather Min