Coll. 072 - Older Lesbian Energy (OLE) Collection


Coll. 072 - Older Lesbian Energy (OLE) Collection


OLE (an acronym for Older Lesbian Energy) is a social organization for lesbian women over age 40. Founded in 1980 by Toni Schiff and Anita Fast, OLE grew out of Schiff's 1979 master's thesis for Goddard-Cambridge School of Social Change, "The Development of a Radical Lifestyle in Mid-Life." Schiff interviewed a number of middle-aged lesbians who told her they felt isolated and alone. In October 1979, with her thesis completed, Schiff invited these women and their over-40 friends to her home for a dinner party. Forty women showed up. In 1980, Schiff and Fast organized more social events, including a Labor Day Weekend retreat at Blueberry Cove campground in Tenants Harbor, ME. It was during this retreat that the group took the name OLE, which was conceived by member Ruth Lacasse in a contest. This inaugural Blueberry Cove retreat is considered to be the birth of the organization, which soon grew to include nearly 200 members.


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“Coll. 072 - Older Lesbian Energy (OLE) Collection,” Documented | Digital Collections of The History Project, accessed September 28, 2021,