Books by women, for women, about women: an oral history of everywomans books in Victoria, B.C., 1975-1997




Antoniazzi, Taylor

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Everywomans Books was a non-profit feminist bookstore established in Victoria, B.C. in 1975. The store closed in 1997 due to financial problems, but it was the last remaining non-profit feminist bookstore run by an all-volunteer collective in Canada. From the beginning, the collective pursued its vision to create a comfortable, safe space for women to access vital information that was hard to find anywhere else. Though creating and maintaining the bookstore was a thoroughly feminist endeavour, the bookstore itself was not a centre of political activity in the community. Its animus was to provide the literature that would raise women’s consciousness, impel their identity formation, foster bold, independent thinking and jolt women into political action. This thesis draws on oral history interviews with collective members and customers of the bookstore and the Everywomans Books archival materials housed in the Women’s Movement Archives at the University of Victoria. It analyzes how the bookstore’s location in a smaller, more racially homogeneous and less radicalized city allowed the collective to avoid many of the tensions that divided feminists in major urban centres. This thesis argues that the project of running a feminist bookstore mostly involved mundane tasks, yet the ordinary, everyday work of the women who poured their time and energy into keeping a small, local bookstore open and making feminist literature available in their community was life-changing for many.



second-wave feminism, feminist bookstore, Victoria, B.C., women's writing, Women's Movement Archives, oral history, feminist literature, women's bookstore