about

18 August 2021: At least for now, I have decided to stop updating a butch archive. This means that new items are not being added and some links may lead to paid rather than free viewing options (because some collections that were made free during the early months of the pandemic have reverted to requesting pay). However, a butch archive remains a treasure chest of butch life, and still reflects a moment in my own butch conciousness. I hope visitors continue to find things that thrill and/or comfort them here. I still welcome emails from those of you who want to draw my attention to some exciting new corner of butch culture, or simply to discuss what you have found in the archive.

a butch archive was made by me, Darcy Leigh, during lockdown in Spring 2020. It is based on the principle, well-known by teenage girls, that we can all be archivists or curators in our own bedrooms, with whatever we have to hand.

a butch archive is many things:

  • an archive of my butch consciousness
  • the butch archive I’ve been searching for: centring stone, fat, butchness beyond North America and butch liberation as trans liberation
  • a way of continuing my search for these things
  • a way of exposing what’s still missing
  • a stone refusal to reveal all the juicy details of how every item ended up here (not least those that aren’t explicitly related to butches)
  • a never-finished work-in-progress, with items regularly being removed, added or re-categorised. Let me know if there’s something you think I should see or change.

a butch archive is not an archive of all of butchness (as if such a thing were possible or desirable).

The majority of items in this archive are free online. Register with the Open Library (which is very quick and easy) to get the most out of it. Some items are out-of-print (due to sadly lost feminist publishers), cost money (because still-working artists need to get paid) or are wildly overpriced (because academia is exclusive). If you are having trouble getting hold of anything for any reason at all, please get in touch and I will do my best to help.

Thank you to everybody who has ever made butch culture and/or made it freely available! Especially the Open Library, Queer Zine Archive, Digital Transgender Archive, Lesbian Herstory Archives, and the Arquives. Butches, femmes and their friends are rad archivists, anarchists, communists and zinesters. We also just love print culture and free stuff.

Find my own writing about butchness (and more insurrectionary transfeminist publishing) at Easter Road Press.

All photos were taken by me (Darcy Leigh), of items in my posession, unless otherwise specified.