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The Sharon Cheslow Punk Flyers collection, 1979-1991

 Collection 0221-SCPA
Sharon Cheslow (b. 1961, Los Angeles, CA), an American musician, artist, author, and educator, is a notable figure in Washington, DC punk rock history, particularly in terms of the scene’s rise in prominence internationally. She was both an eyewitness and participant during the bedrock years of DC punk (late 1970s through early 1990s). The Sharon Cheslow Punk Flyers collection contains items that span the period of May 1, 1979 to December 30, 1991; the bulk of the material dates from 1980 to 1990. The collection includes 484 punk flyers (393 originals, 91 photocopies) created and collected during 1979 through 1991. Nearly all of the flyers in the collection are promoting shows in the Washington, DC area and feature punk bands from the DC area.

Dates

  • 1979-05-01 through 1991-12-30
  • Majority of material found within 1980-1990

Use and Access to Collection

The collection is open for research use.

Duplication and Copyright Information

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Extent

0.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents of Collection

The Sharon Cheslow Punk Flyers collection contains items that span the period of May 1, 1979 to December 30, 1991; the bulk of the material dates from 1980 to 1990. The collection includes 484 punk flyers (393 originals, 91 photocopies) created and collected during 1979 through 1991. All but a few of the flyers in the collection are promoting shows from DC punk bands in the DC area. Some of the photocopies were produced by Cheslow during her research for the book Banned in DC. This collection also contains approximately 45 original flyers for Cheslow’s DC bands, including Chalk Circle, who hold the distinction in DC punk rock history as the first all-female band. A spreadsheet for the collection, with additional metadata created by Cheslow pertaining to the archival materials, is available to researchers. Also available to researchers is a list Cheslow compiled of women involved in the DC punk scene that recorded from 1976-1990.

Historical Note

Sharon Cheslow (b. 1961), an American musician, artist, and author, is a notable figure in Washington, DC punk rock history, particularly in terms of the scene’s rise in prominence internationally. She has also worked as an instructor, archivist, and librarian. Born in Los Angeles, her family relocated to the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC in 1967. Cheslow was both an eyewitness and participant during the bedrock years of DC punk (late 1970s through early 1990s).

As a musician and singer/songwriter, Cheslow was a member of several groups in DC and California, including Chalk Circle, who hold the distinction in DC punk rock history as the first all-female band. During her DC years, Cheslow also performed extensively with the art-punk band Bloody Mannequin Orchestra. In the early 1990s, she was in Suture, an early Riot Grrrl band that was a side project of Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna. Concurrent to her work as a musician, Cheslow also created the fanzines If This Goes On (with Colin Sears, the drummer in Bloody Mannequin Orchestra and, later, in the highly influential Dag Nasty) and Interrobang?! With Cynthia Connolly and Leslie Clague, she co-authored the first book on the DC punk scene’s history, Banned in DC: Photos and Anecdotes from the DC Punk Underground (79–85) (Washington, DC: Sun Dog Propaganda, 1988).

During the 1980s, Cheslow was a student at UMD and a disc jockey at WMUC, the campus radio station. Eventually, she completed her undergraduate education in interdisciplinary arts at Mills College in Oakland, CA, after relocating to San Francisco in 1990. She undertook graduate work in music at the California Institute for the Arts, and later in 2015 earned a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She has lived in Los Angeles since 2005. Since her move to California, Cheslow has been in the bands Red Eye and The Electrolettes, and has composed collaborative experimental/electronic music under the name Coterie Exchange.

While living in the DC metro area, Cheslow amassed a personal collection of original flyers mostly pertaining to DC bands, including her own work. The collection includes 484 punk flyers (393 originals, 91 photocopies) created and collected during 1979 through 1991. Some of the photocopies were produced by Cheslow during her research for Banned in DC.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into one series:
  1. Flyers

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Purchased from Ms. Cheslow in April 2016 with support from the Robert Smith Fund for the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library.

Related Material

Sharon Cheslow official website

D.C. Punk and Indie Fanzine collection, Special Collections in Performing Arts, Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, University of Maryland.

Jason Farrell collection, Special Collections in Performing Arts, Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, University of Maryland.

Skip Groff papers, Special Collections in Performing Arts, Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, University of Maryland.

Jeff Krulik papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries. (finding aid)

Paul Bushmiller collection on punk, 1979-1992, Special Collections in Performing Arts, Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, University of Maryland.

DC Punk Archive, DC Public Library.

Sharon Cheslow Interrobang?! oral history interview by V. Vale, V. Vale Collection, UCLA Library Special Collections.

Bibliography

Cheslow, Sharon. Interrobang?! Anthology on Music and Family: Writings and Interviews. San Francisco, CA: Decomposition, 2008.

Connolly, Cynthia; Clague, Leslie; Cheslow Sharon. Banned in DC : photos and anecdotes from the DC punk underground (79-85), 1st ed. Washington, DC: Sun Dog Propaganda, 1988.

Processing Information

Materials arrived archivally processed and described at the item-level by Sharon Cheslow. Only the storage container was introduced by SCPA. All items remain in their original enclosures as they are archival and clearly labelled by Ms. Cheslow. Novara made some minor adjustments. No preservation action for this material was required.
Title
Sharon Cheslow Punk Flyers collection, 1979-1991
Status
Completed
Author
Sharon Cheslow and Vincent J. Novara
Date
Pre-accession by Sharon Cheslow; post-accession April and August 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States