WHO WE ARE

Lenn Keller

Founder
1951-2020

Lenn was a community archivist, historian, curator, DJ, filmmaker, photographer, public speaker, writer, and mother. She graduated from Mills College, and was an independent scholar in multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural and historical research. Lenn hailed from Chicago and lived in the SF Bay Area for over 40 years. She was identified herself as a proud, Black butch and was active in many of the vibrant communities that she was a part of. She documented, archived, and exhibited Bay Area activist and marginalized communities, with an emphasis on lesbians of color and LGBTQ communities. 

Lenn was deeply concerned about the lack of sufficient representation and outright erasure of the history of lesbians, especially the history of lesbians of color. She was acutely aware of how a lack of knowledge of ancestry leaves people without a sense of roots and continuity. She dedicated the last six years of her life to founding and nurturing the Bay Area Lesbian Archives. We are deeply grateful to Lenn for her vision, her passion and her brilliance, and we continue to honor her legacy.

Rebecca Silverstein

Director

Rebecca was born and raised in New York and settled in San Francisco in 1976. She came out as a lesbian feminist while helping to organize the S.F. Conference on Violence Against Women. She is a co-founder of Mothertongue Readers Theater, a feminist collective in the Bay Area, and she worked at the MoonRise Café, a lesbian collective and women’s space in Sonoma County, California. Rebecca is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and was Board President of Gaylesta, an LGBTQ psychotherapy association in the Bay Area. 

 

Rebecca is also a poet, essayist and photographer, who believes in the power of cultural work and personal storytelling to help bring about individual and societal transformation.

Sharon De la Peña Davenport

Advising Archivist

Sharon is a radical lesbian feminist. Her life work as an archivist and poet is instructed and inflected by being a lesbian. An independent, professional archivist, Sharon’s contributions include the papers of the Third World Women’s Alliance, the Alliance Against the Oppression of Women, and the papers of Aileen Hernandez (with Lenn Keller), accessed at Smith College, Northampton, MA. She has also been a research assistant and copy editor for books and exhibitions by Tirza True Latimer, Renate Stendhal, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, and Arlene Goldfarb.

 

Sharon was a co-founder of the lesbian owned Brick Hut Café (1975 – 1997) in Berkeley, CA. She is the mother of Bart Davenport, a musician living in Los Angeles, CA. Sharon has published two books of poetry, Mountain Singing and Between Us. She has presented casual exhibitions of her watercolors at cafes and cafeterias. She earned a BA from Smith College and an MA from San Jose State University.

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Nancy Rupprecht

Board Secretary

Nancy considers herself bi-coastal, having been born in New York and relocating to California in 1957 with her father and grandmother after the death of her mother. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a MSW degree in 1971, and in 1972 became one of the founders of the first feminist therapy collective in the Bay Area. The collective practiced psychotherapy for 4-5 years and taught a “Women and Madness” class at SF State and Sonoma State. They also helped several other feminist therapy collectives get started.

 

Out of a desire to be self-employed, and because progressive women at the time felt unrestrained in their career pursuits, Nancy took automotive classes and was hired as an apprentice mechanic at an independent garage in Berkeley. In 1977, Nancy and another woman mechanic opened an all-women shop called Labyris Auto Repair in downtown San Francisco. Over eleven years, they employed and trained over 50 women until its sale in 1988. Nancy opened a solo shop in Berkeley called Grandma’s Garage, in her grandmother’s memory, where she worked until 2011. For the next ten years, Nancy taught auto technology at Contra Costa College.

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Kerby Lynch

Board Member

Dr. Kerby Lynch is a critical Black studies scholar of human geography, political economy, and intellectual history. Kerby holds a BA in African American Studies with a concentration in Gender and Sexuality and most recently completed her Ph.D. in Geography, both from the University of California at Berkeley. Kerby's dissertation was titled "In the (After) Life: Black Queer Spatialities under Regimes of Displacement, 1963-1989," which surveyed the spatial practice of redlining in San Francisco during the 1950s until the 1980s. The focal point of Kerby's research aims to understand how political and economic determinants of the urban inform Black queer subjectivity in the city. Kerby currently serves as a Program Manager for Ceres Policy Research and conducts community-based research on community reinvestment, Afri-centric public health models, and gender-based state violence.