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Bloodroot Collective records

 Collection
Call Number: MS 1955

Scope and Contents

The records document the Bloodroot Collective, particularly the lives and roles of its two remaining members, Selma Miriam and Noel Furie, who maintained the materials. The records consist of correspondence, writings by members and other feminist thinkers, restaurant reviews, photographs, legal and financial records of the bookstore and restaurant, event flyers, and topical files.

Series I documents the political philosophy and personal side of the collective. The correspondence, writing, and personal files of Noel Furie and Selma Miriam are of particular interest. The correspondence offers evidence of community between Bloodroot Collective members and feminist luminaries, like Chrystos, Andrea Dworkin, Audre Lorde, and Adrienne Rich; often the collection includes photographs of these women, taken during their visit to Bloodroot. The writings illuminate political positions, and the personal files of Noel and Miriam, though sparse, provide additional information about them, including their lives beyond the collective. Series II documents the business side of the collective, namely the restaurant and bookstore. Particularly useful are the reviews and publicity materials, which document how the restaurant was received and events held. The resource files contain flyers, copies of essays, booklets, and other small publications that provide a snapshot of independent feminist publishing of the 1970s and 1980s.

Dates

  • 1957-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1978 - 2010

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to Yale University for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Selma Miriam and Noel Furie, 2009 and 2010.

Arrangement

The records are arranged in two series: Series I. Bloodroot Collective and Series II. Bloodroot Restaurant and Bookstore

Extent

10 Linear Feet (14 boxes )

788 Megabytes

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.1955

Overview

The Bloodroot Collective is a lesbian-feminist collective that formed in Westport, Connecticut, in 1977 and opened Bloodroot, a vegetarian restaurant and feminist bookstore, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The records document the Bloodroot Collective, particularly the lives and roles of its two remaining members, Selma Miriam and Noel Furie. The records consist of correspondence, writings and creative works by members and other feminist thinkers, oral histories, restaurant reviews, photographs, legal and financial records of the bookstore and restaurant, event flyers, and topical files.

Biographical / Historical

The Bloodroot Collective, a feminist-lesbian work collective formed in 1977, grew out of a women's cooperative exchange hosted by Selma Miriam in her Westport, Connecticut, home between 1975 and 1976. The collective opened Bloodroot, a vegetarian restaurant and feminist bookstore, at 85 Ferris Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut, in March 1977. At the suggestion of animal rights activist friends, the group decided to focus on providing seasonal vegetarian food. Bloodroot is named after a native northeastern wildflower whose root system supports several vertically furrowed blooms, each stamen independent yet fundamentally connected, a system reflected in the collective's organization.

The original members of the collective were Betsey Beaven, Pat Shea, Samm Stockwell and Selma Miriam. Beavan, Shea and Miriam lived together and worked full-time at Bloodroot. Stockwell left the collective in 1977 and Noel Furie, then a part-time worker, was invited to join. Pat Shea left the collective in 1984, Beaven in 2001. Liz Seaborn was a collective member between 1985 and 1995. The women, committed to the practical and political dimensions of a feminist work collective, formed intense relationships: as lovers, friends, co-workers, and political cohorts.

In the 1970s and 1980s the restaurant was a hub for feminists and lesbians. It hosted many notable feminist performers and writers. In 1980 the Bloodroot Collective organized a feminist press (Sanguinaria) to publish The Political Palate cookbook series: The Political Palate (1980), The Second Seasonal Political Palate (1984), The Perennial Political Palate (1993) and Addendum to the Political Palate Series (1997). The cookbooks contain vegetarian recipes and feminist essays on various topics. In 2007, this time as Anomaly Press, the Bloodroot Collective published The Best of Bloodroot, a two volume series of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Many of the feminist concerns raised in the cookbooks have been explored further by Furie and Miriam in publications such as Heresies, Lesbian Ethics, and Sinister Wisdom, and in vegetarian magazines. Bloodroot continues as a feminist space and vegetarian eatery.

The two remaining members of the collective are Selma Miriam and Noel Furie. Miriam, born Selma Miriam Davidson, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to immigrant parents in 1934. After graduating Bassick High School, she attended Tufts University and studied biology. She married and had two children. Miriam, then Selma Bunks, hosted a women's cooperative exchange at her Westport home, attended women's rap sessions in New Haven in the mid-1970s, and became active in Connecticut NOW (National Organization for Women). In the late 1970s, Miriam divorced, came out as a lesbian, and decided to operate Bloodroot full-time as a feminist work collective. She has co-owned Bloodroot since 1977 and is a cook, fiber worker, gardener, and writer.

Furie, born Noel Seymour, was born in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1944. As a child and adolescent, Furie modeled for national advertisement campaigns and later worked as a waitress in New York City. She married in the mid-1960s, moved with her husband to Bridgeport and had two children. Then Noel Giordano, Furie worked as a photographer's assistant and later began her own photography business, Noel Giordano Photography. Motherhood and housewifery swept Furie into a depression. At the suggestion of a friend, she began attending women's rap sessions. In the late 1970s Furie divorced, came out as a lesbian, and began working part-time at Bloodroot. She joined the collective as a full-time member in 1978 and later adopted the surname Furie. Furie has worked as a community organizer in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and is a cook, gardener, and photographer.

Separated Materials

The Bloodroot cookbooks: The Political Palate (1980), The Second Seasonal Political Palate (1984), The Perennial Political Palate (1993), Addendum to the Political Palate Series (1997), and The Best of Bloodroot (2007) were added to the Manuscripts and Archives reference collection.

Processing Information

The records were held at Bloodroot and in the homes of Selma Miriam and Noel Furie. The records from all three areas were integrated based on the wishes of the creators.
Title
Guide to the Bloodroot Collective Records
Author
compiled by Kristin Baxivanos and Mary Caldera
Date
September 2009
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • September 2014: Finding aid revision description not supplied.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)