This post was contributed by Joyce Gabiola, LGBT History Research Collection librarian.
It is with great sadness that University of Houston Libraries Special Collections bids a heartful farewell to a longtime community activist in the LGBTQI+ community and one of our collection donors, Jean Arden Eversmeyer (1931 – 2022). Arden was widely known for founding the Lesbians Over the Age of Fifty (L.O.A.F.) social organization in 1987 and creating the Old Lesbians Oral History Project (OLOHP) ten years later to ensure that the narratives of her friends and other older lesbians across the nation (and beyond) would be preserved in history in their own voices and their own words.
Because Arden donated the L.O.A.F. Records to Special Collections, we are able to look through some of the organization’s earliest scrapbooks that Arden put together with thoughtfulness and care for the women with whom she built community, fostered meaningful friendships, and nurtured a sense of belonging. She has made an enormous impact on LGBTQ+ history across several decades and for some of us, an impact in our lives personally. Over many years, Arden brought people together to preserve, share, and reflect on LGBTQ+ community history, so today we are sharing and reflecting in her memory.
Below are two images from Arden’s early reflections leading up to the founding of L.O.A.F. These are her words from her narrative.
Thank you, Arden, for sharing your heart with the community.