Fleischmann, Joan Collection on East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO), Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO), and Others,
Span Dates: 1963-1994
Bulk Dates: 1963-1969
Volume: .5 linear feet
The collection contains primarily organizational records collected over several decades by Homophile activist Joan Fleischmann. These organizations include the East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO), the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO), the Daughter of Bilitis (New York), the Mattachine Society of New York, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Lesbian and Gay Caucus, as well as Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) (Mountville and
Reading, Pennsylvania) and Dignity (Philadelphia). Among the materials of note are meeting minutes, programs, and presentation transcriptions from the East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO) and materials related to the Reminder Day pickets co-sponsored by Mattachine Society of New York.
Joan Fleischmann (1933-2013) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to biological mother Margaret Monahan, and was adopted by George and Gertrude Fleischmann of Berks County, Pennsylvania. The family moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, where Joan received a traditional Catholic education. After 10th grade, Joan enrolled herself in Reading Public High School, and graduated in 1951. After high school her parents moved to Sun Harbor, New Jersey, and Joan got a job working in Atlantic City. She
attended West Chester State College and in 1955 received a BA in education, and was certified to teach English and social studies. Joan's first professional job was teaching high school English in Summit, New Jersey. She eventually lost that job after refusing the advances of a man, who then revealed to the school principal that Joan was a lesbian. Her second teaching job was at Perkiomen Valley High School in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where she worked until her retirement in 1993.
Joan became involved in the homophile movement in the late 1950s, first with Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) (New York City), and later with the Mattachine Society (Philadelphia), the Janus Society (Philadelphia), and the Eastern Conference of Homophile Organizations (ECHO). She was caught up in the infamous Radnor Raid in 1960 and served as Secretary of DOB (New York) and both Secretary and
Vice President of Mattachine (Philadelphia). She served as the Coordinator of the first ECHO conference held in Philadelphia in 1963. Joan wrote columns in the national lesbian magazine The Ladder, as well as for Clark Polak's Drum magazine, and the Janus Society Newsletter. She marched in the first Reminder Day picket at Independence Hall in 1965. Sometime after 1965 she left the homophile movement.
Throughout this time she used the pseudonym of Joan Fraser for most of her activities as a homophile activist.
In the 1970s she became involved with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and was active in both its Gay Caucus and its Committee of Gay and Lesbian Concerns. She is listed in Who's Who of American Teachers and was a board member and legal advocate for the Women's Center of Montgomery County. She was also active in the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) and the gay Catholic organization Dignity. After retirement from teaching Joan moved to Florida and joined the
board of the Stonewall National Museum and Archives and chaired the Program and Services committee for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida.
Joan Fleischmann's partner of 27 years was Jean C. Barron (1933-2014).
Excellent online finding aid available.
William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
Dignity | MCC | Pennsylvania | Philadelphia | Mattachine Society | Daughters of Bilitis (DOB)