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Center for Women's Studies and Services Records

Identifier: MS-0036

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the administrative and programmatic files of the Center for Women's Studies and Services (CWSS).

Series I: Administrative Files include budget and funding materials, personnel and training materials, grant proposals and research files, reports, newsletters, minutes and notes. The initial founding of the Women's Studies program at San Diego State University and the resulting break is well represented through departmental memos, meeting notes, and correspondence. The original proposal for a women's studies program, and several resulting revisions, is also present. Highlights include syllabi and promotional flyers for the first women's studies courses taught, minutes from the Women's Studies Committee and Women's Studies Board, and documents detailing personnel roles and conflicts within the early department.

Series II: Components Files are comprised of administrative and outreach files maintained by each of the CWSS components (Storefront, Educational and Cultural, Publications, and Feminist Counseling), spanning 1970 to 1986. Nearly complete runs of each of the publications organized by the Publications component are included in this series. Promotional flyers for a wide variety of cultural and educational programs are included, as well as course descriptions for the Feminist Free University for over ten years. The Feminist Counseling component is represented in this series by articles, statements of purpose, and descriptions of the radical feminist counseling concept written by its creators.

Series III: Vertical Files include newsletters, articles, flyers, pamphlets, clippings, reports, brochures, handouts, government publications, statistics, and worksheets on a variety of topics of interest to the Center throughout the 1970s and 1980s. These Vertical Files were compiled and used by staff for consultations, research, and outreach in Center operations.

Series IV: Periodicals holds a strong run of general feminist and activist newspapers, newsletters, and magazines from the 1970s and early 1980s. Local papers, such as Goodbye to All That and Feminist Communications are included in this series, but the strength of the series is the national scope of included publications. Issues and changes within the women's liberation and feminist movements are traceable over time throughout this series. Gay and lesbian issues of the 1970s are well represented by items in the Publications, as are women's health, international women's issues, and workplace rights.

Series V: Reel to Reel Tapes cover a radio series on rape awareness and prevention organized by CWSS in the late 1970s. This radio series featured victim's accounts of their experiences, navigation of the legal system, and cultural analysis, and was also broadcast in a Spanish language version.

Series VI: Scrapbooks include scrapbooks and photographs of events spanning twenty years of the Center's existence. A scrapbook documenting a fire at CWSS headquarters in 1980 is included, as well as one devoted to the Center's involvement in Project Choice.

Series VII: Oversized Materials include a complete run of The Longest Revolution between 1976 and 1983.

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available here:


  • Creation: 1947-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1969-1975


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

Established in 1969, the Center for Women’s Studies and Services (CWSS) was a multi-dimensional and non-profit organization that maintained educational, cultural, political, and service programs. CWSS was dedicated to advancing the cause of women’s rights and has a nationwide membership open to men and women. It was the first women’s liberation group in San Diego and the first women’s center in Southern California. The Center was founded after group of women broke away from what would become the Women's Studies program at San Diego State University, in order to focus on creating tangible social change related to women's issues.

CWSS was committed to developing and maintaining cooperative relationships with other community-based and nationally-oriented organizations. The Center actively participated in a variety of feminist, social service and inter-movement coalitions, and served as headquarters for the National Feminist Therapists' Association.

CWSS was comprised of four major components: Storefront, Radical Feminist Counseling, Educational and Cultural Programs, and Publications. Each component of the Center provided services and opportunities (via workshops, apprenticeships, consultations, programs, and direct experience) for women to obtain first-hand knowledge and training in the areas of management, creativity, and control. The academic component was formed on the San Diego State University campus and became the first official Women’s Studies Program in the nation.

The Storefront Component was a drop-in resource center offering crisis assistance, housing, child care, legal and medical referrals, vocational counseling and job referrals. It also has a 24-hour hotline for battered women and rape victims, affirmative action assistance, and open rap groups.

The Radical Feminist Counseling component provided crisis intervention for women, one-on-one counseling, group and family counseling, training for counselors, and community education on a wide variety of women's mental health issues.

The Educational and Cultural component included an annual Women’s Festival of the Arts, monthly Feminist Forum, community meetings, and special events, and organized the "Feminist Free University," a free education program for women throughout the 1970s and 1980s which offered three sessions with between 20 and 40 volunteer-taught classes in each session.

The Publications component supervised publication of the feminist newspaper The Longest Revolution, a poetry anthology titled Rainbow Snake, and other materials by and about women. It also maintained a feminist library and reading room.

CWSS became the Center for Community Solutions in 1996.


23.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Administrative Files

II. Components Files

III. Vertical Files

IV. Periodicals

V. Reel to Reel Tapes

VI. Scrapbooks

VII. Oversized Materials

Source of Acquisition

Center for Women's Studies and Services

Accruals and Additions

1981-001, 2001

Related Materials

Women's Studies Department Records

Center for Women's Studies and Services (CWSS) Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US