For more than 40 years, the Lesbian Herstory Archives has combated lesbian invisibility by literally rescuing history from the trash.

US | 2018 | 61 minutes | Color | DVD | English | Order No. W191242 |


Founded in the 1970s in a New York City apartment, The Lesbian Herstory Archives is now the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians. For more than 40 years, the all-volunteer organization has striven to combat lesbian invisibility by literally rescuing history from the trash.

Frustrated by misogyny and homophobia within academia, Deborah Edel and Joan Nestle co-founded the archives for those conducting research, both professional and personal. Over the years, the organization has witnessed many of the major milestones in LGBTQ+ history and has weathered several storms. Today, with its founders in their seventies, the archives are facing new challenges, including a change in leadership and the rise of digital technology.

Exploring the fascinating origins of the organization, THE ARCHIVETTES is a tribute to second-wave feminism and intergenerational connection, as well as an urgent rallying cry for continued activism in a politically charged moment.


"THE ARCHIVETTES makes clear that The Lesbian Herstory Archives is more than a repository, more than a compendium of stuff; it's also a "rescue squad" for those stories, and its members are action heroes... A defining mantra of feminism, "The personal is political," resonates loud and clear in Rossman's sensitive, discerning chronicle."

Sheri Linden The Hollywood Reporter

"History books are generally written by and about men, with women’s contributions omitted or minimized. As underrepresented as women are in these texts, lesbian women are altogether absent. The Lesbian Herstory Archives is “home to the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities,” making it an indispensable resource."

Women and Hollywood


  • Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature​, Reeling 2019, The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, Stamped Film Festival
  • Best Feature, Fargo-Moorehed Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Best LGBTQ Documentary, Ocktober Film Festival
  • Outfest - Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
  • New Fest: The New York LGBT Film Festival
  • GAZE Film Festival
  • Fresno Reel Pride Film Festial
  • Out on Film - Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
  • Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival
  • All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival
  • Out! For Reel
  • Florence Queer Film Festival
  • Queer Porto International Film Festival


Megan Rossman

Megan Rossman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and assistant professor and chair of communication at Purchase College.

Rossman’s films have screened at festivals including DOC NYC and Outfest. Her film Love Letter Rescue Squad won best student documentary in the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival American Pavilion in 2017. She has also worked as a multimedia journalist at The Washington Post and as the director of video at Teach For America.

In 2011, she won a regional Emmy for her video Unfinished Business: Earth Day, 40 Years Later. In 2009, Rossman collaborated on “A Mother’s Risk,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. (10/19)



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