"We started when feminism was in full flower," remembers Jane Troxell, one of the many owners of the respected DC lesbian feminist bookstore Lammas. Founded by Winsett and Leslie Reeves in 1970, Lammas originally served as a jewelry and craft shop on 8th St SE. In 1973, the store moved to 312 7th St SE and became the District’s first LGBT bookstore as well as lesbian community center. Over the years, different owners changed the function of the bookstore space, but always retained its commitment to lesbian causes and issues. Mary Farmer used the venue as a performance space, hosting concerts and staged readings of new works by lesbian and upcoming women writers.
In the 1990s, Jane Troxell, Rose Fennell, Marge Darling and Susan Fletcher invited numerous speakers to the store, including Alice Walker, Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade), Gloria Steinem, and Lily Tomlin. Though catering to women of all sexual orientations, the bookstore responded to the stereotype of it being an exclusively lesbian space. In 1997, Lammas ran an ad in local papers that read: "Lammas: We're Not Just for Dykes."1 Still, Lammas lesbian allegiance was always clear, opening its doors to activist groups like the Lesbian Avengers and holding fundraisers for numerous women’s organizations. Lammas closed in 2001.
From left: owner-manager Mary Farmer, Susanna J. Sturgis, and Tina Lunson, celebrating Lamma's anniversary in 1983.
1. Carolyn Ruff, “Bookspaces,” Washington Post↩