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SO CLAP! (Southern Oregon Country Lesbian Archival Project) Collection

Identifier: Coll 266

Scope and Contents note

The SO CLAP! collection is made up of seventeen different series of materials. The two largest and most comprehensive series (OWL Farm and OWL Trust) are divided into sub-series, including: administrative and legal documents, artifacts, correspondence, ephemera, journals, meeting minutes and notes, miscellaneous, publications and writings. The next several series (III-IX) emerge from the history of several individual farmlands in Oregon including: the Cabbage Lane series; and the Fly Away Home series which includes a herstory written by Bethroot Gwynn and poetry written at a writer retreat. The Rainbow’s End Series contains a piece on the death of Julie Hopp, a woman who lived on the land. There is also a series (X) from an Ashland based organization called Womensource that published a newsletter dedicated to the southern Oregon lesbian community and which dealt with information about the various lands and the women who lived on them.

The collection also includes a series of photographs. For preservation purposes, all the photographs were removed and put in one series that is organized by individual farm names. Many of the photographs are of women who lived on or visited the various farms during the 1970s. Proof sheets from the Photo Archives report and numerous slides are included.

The collection includes a substantial collection of networking materials including: newsletters subscribed to; organizations and individuals which were in contact with the southern Oregon rural feminists; and materials from other women's land organization nationwide. This section may aid the researcher to understand how these women were part of larger movements, such as the larger gay and lesbian movement and the larger back to the land movement.

Within the series a researcher can find writing about a particular community or by a women who lived on that particular land. There is also a series that includes miscellaneous information and writings that are not specific to one land in particular. For example, a researcher looking for writing explicitly about OWL Farm would look in the OWL Farm Series, but if more general writings are needed then the Writing and Miscellaneous series will provide more information.

The collection has a series (XIV) of information specifically regarding SO CLAP! Inc. The material is mostly administrative and legal information. It also includes information on how the archive was gathered and how the collection was put together.

Finally, there are the oversized items. This series (XIV) has several maps, including the OWL Farm boundary lands. There is a handwritten list of OWL Farms long-term projects and dreams. The Oversized Series includes signs from WomenSpirit Rites of Passage celebrations. There is also a SO CLAP! photo display with photographs of women on the various farms with hand-drawn artwork on the back.


  • Creation: 1974-1999


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

SO CLAP!, a non-profit corporation, was established in 1989 for charitable, historical and educational purposes. The corporation’s primary purpose was to create an archival collection to document the history of the lesbian and feminist back-to-the-land movement in southern Oregon which was in full swing by the early 1970s and which continues into the 21st century.

The earliest communities were organized by women who had their roots in the back-to-the-land-movement, the lesbian feminist movement and the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Hundreds of women have lived on the lands, have visited for varying lengths of time, have enjoyed the land for ovulars, festivals, camping and spiritual activities. All the groups struggled to establish and maintain a sense of community based on their vision and values and felt their failures on this level very acutely. The values of openness to all women and the desire to overcome the injuries perpetrated by class and racism in late 20th century U.S., values espoused in general by all the groups, led to intense personal struggles as women found themselves without privacy, without personal control of their money and time and in constant meetings to deal equitably with every problem that arose. Burnout was endemic. Yet, the collection provides a glimpse into the joy, personal growth and sense of community that many of the women experienced during their time on the land and the great nostalgia they still feel for that period of their lives.

The communities varied extensively in material resources and conveniences available, although all did without one or more of the modern conveniences such as electricity, running water, bathrooms, or central heating. The collection describes the sharing of skills and resources that women living on the land and in the surrounding communities contributed in their quest to change themselves and the larger society in order to implement their vision of a good life where women would be safe, creative and respected. The land was seen as the wild mother, a resource for creativity and healing, a place of safety for themselves and for women whose personal economic resources would never allow them the opportunity to live a rural life.


13 linear feet (29 containers) : 23 boxes, 6 folders

Language of Materials



SO CLAP! was a non-profit corporation established in 1989 to collect and preserve primary source material documenting the history of the lesbian and feminist back-to-the-land movement in southern Oregon. The collection contains correspondence, creative writings, autobiographical writings, financial records, publications, photographs, graphic materials, and ephemera.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I. OWL Farm
  2. Series II. OWL Trust
  3. Series III. Cabbage Lane
  4. Series IV. Copperland
  5. Series V. Fly Away Home
  6. Series VI. Golden
  7. Series VII. Groundworks
  8. Series VIII. Rainbow's End
  9. Series IX. We'Moon
  10. Series X. Womanshare
  11. Series XI. Womansource
  12. Series XII. Photographs and Information about Photographs
  13. Series XIII. Networking Materials
  14. Series XIV. Writings and Miscellaneous Materials
  15. Series XV. SO CLAP! Inc. Records
  16. Series XVI. Artifacts
  17. Series XVII. Oversize

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of the SO CLAP! Board of Directors.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the SO CLAP! (Southern Oregon Country Lesbian Archival Project) Collection
Revise Description
Finding aid prepared by Rachel Allen and Judith Osborne
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA