Archives of lesbian history is programmed for the designation of individual landmarks
Already located in the Park Slope Historic District, the building will now be considered for designation as an individual landmark. On June 28, 2022, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to schedule the Archives of Lesbian History for designation. Located at 484 14e Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, this French Renaissance Revival townhouse was built in 1908 and has housed the Lesbian Herstory archives since 1991.
The Deputy Director of Monuments Research, Margaret Herman, gave a presentation to the full committee, explaining the cultural and historical significance of the building. While Lesbian Herstory Archives were founded in 1974 as “a grassroots attempt to end the silence around lesbian history” at a time when LGBTQ+ rights were under attack, they were first located in the founders’ apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The volunteer-run archive ran out of space in 1990, when the Archives of Lesbian History raised enough funds to purchase 484 14e Street, which was already an important building within the lesbian community.
After completing the renovations at 484 14e Street in 1991, the Lesbian Herstory Archives achieved national prominence. Various high-profile events have taken place in the current space, such as a marathon reading by authors Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich. The Lesbian Herstory Archive has continued to grow its collection since moving to its current space, digitizing files to help improve public access.
The building is located in the Park Slope Historic District, which was designated in 1973 before the Archives moved into the neighborhood. As such, there is no further acknowledgment for the property’s rich history since the move into the Lesbian History Archive. Based on her significant contributions to both LGBTQ+ and women’s history, the Research Department recommended that the Lesbian History Archive be placed on the calendar to be considered an individual landmark. .
Monuments Chair Sarah Carroll discussed the Commission’s ongoing efforts to nominate influential LGBTQ+ monuments and noted that the Commission’s own research department has relied on archives of lesbian history in the past. President Carroll said the archives are “invaluable across the country”, adding that she was “so thrilled to recognize the archives of lesbian history at this special time as we end Pride Month”.
Landmarks voted unanimously to put the Archives of Lesbian History on the list. Landmarks will hold a public hearing at a later date.
By: strong cassidy (Cassidy is an intern at CityLaw and a student at New York Law School, class of 2024.)
LPC: Archives of Lesbian History, 484 14e Street, Brooklyn (LP-2262) (June 28, 2022).