|Writer Deb Cooperman and friend Ruth at reading they |
did at Mama Bears
Location: 6536 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, California, USA
Closed: March 2003
Here is how they described themselves in 1999:
Mama Bears Women's Bookstore is one of the oldest feminist bookstores in the world. We feature a wide selection of books and gift items of interest to women.
Certainly that's modest and straightforward enough. Fortunately we have more to go by. Here is the write-up from when Mama Bears won the Best Independent Bookstore honor from Best of the East Bay 2001:
|Leaflet for Max Dashu event at |
As it turned out, that last sentence turned out to be highly prophetic. The following announcement appeared in SFGate in March 2003:
Mama Bears, the sweet, little women's bookstore on Telegraph Avenue, is calling it quits after 20 years, but don't despair -- a new sweet, little women's bookstore is opening up in its stead.
Initially, Sarah Cohen, 26, was planning on buying Mama Bears from Alice Molloy and Carol Wilson, whose feminist bookstore roots go back a good 30 years. But the deal fell through when the two parties couldn't agree on a price, and Molloy and Wilson began liquidating their stock of books for, by and about women. They have temporarily moved across the street to a rental space at 6434 Telegraph Ave., and that's where they they plan to sell off all their books at a 40 percent discount.
A lot of forlorn women have been dropping in, e-mailing or telephoning to express their disappointment that the store is going out of business, but Molloy won't have it: "Hey, we're excited," she said. "We're retiring!"
Molloy is thinking about turning the Mama Bears Web site into a political forum. Wilson has plans to volunteer.
A beautiful tribute to the store was posted on Facebook under Remembering Our Feminist Sisters:
|6536 Telegraph Avenue today|
They sold Lesbian, Feminist and Goddess/Women's spirituality books and it there I have amassed my huge collection. They also sold Lesbian and women's artwork, magazines, Lesbian/Pride jewelry, had author lectures and signings and small intimate women only concerts there as well as rituals.
At night we could have strictly women only events and during the day open to all.
Every Thanksgiving and sometimes on Christmas Day too tgey cooked up a big turkey or on Xmas Day a ham..for Dykes in the community who had no family or no place else to go. Everyone else poylicked the side dishes and it was a wonderful sense of community and bonding and service they did for the community.
There were also sodas and snacks and tabes so anytime during the day womyn could come in and socialize with each other or with them if they weren't too busy. I always amassed a stack of books and while snacking would peruse through them to see which ones of the bunch I really wanted.
Indeed Mama Bears was a Lesbian and women's community institution. Alice and I had many a political discussion. She considered herself to be an anarchist Feminist. I considered it my home away from home....the 3 were very sad when the end came and I missed them. Especially Alice and Carol. I don't know if they are all still alive or not...they pretty much disappeared after the bookstore closed....