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Arlene Elster Papers
2002-11  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The bulk of the collection contains newspaper clippings and articles about the porn industry in general during the 1970's and Elster's Sutter Cinema in particular. Also included in the collection are advertisements for the theater and films produced by Leo Productions, documents related to the Erotic Film Festival, and materials from sexual liberation groups such as COYOTE, The Sexual Freedom League, the Psychedelic Venus Church, and the Adult Film Association of America. The collection provides a history of the politics surrounding pornography in San Francisco, with an emphasis on San Francisco's adult film industry, during the 1970's.
Background
Arlene Elster owned and operated the Sutter Cinema in San Francisco between 1970 and 1975. She was the first, and possibly only, woman to operate an adult theater. Elster was trained as a medical technologist and holds a degree in Biological Science from the University of Texas. She grew up in Port Arthur Texas, eventually making her way to San Francisco where she worked in the research department of the Irwin Memorial Blood Bank. She met Lowell Pickett while doing volunteer lab work at the Haight Ashbury Clinc where Pickett was an administrator. During this time she began exploring creative endeavors, including photography and eventually partnered with Pickett in the adult film business.
Extent
2 manuscript boxes 15 1/2W x 10 1/2 H x 5D
Restrictions
Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
Availability
Collection open for research.