Sandra Butler grew up in a 1940s suburb and was raised to be a conventional woman, mother, and wife. After the ending of a precipitous marriage, she and her two young daughters were catapulted into the changing world of the 1960s. Immersed in the antiwar and civil rights movements, she found her political and psychological foundation in the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s. She began college in her mid-thirties, which led to graduate study, four books, two films, and decades of organizing, and community building.
Her first book, Conspiracy of Silence, The Trauma of Incest, was published by Volcano Press in 1978. The second, Cancer in Two Voices, coauthored with her partner Barbara Rosenblum and published by Spinsters, Inc. in 1991, was the winner of the Lambda Lesbian Literary Award. The third, It Never Ends: Mothering Middle-Aged Daughters, was co-authored with Nan Fink Gefen.
Each book has centered on the need to move issues relevant to women and girls still in the shadows into the public sphere. Conspiracy of Silence brought attention to issues of incest and sexual violation; Cancer in Two Voices frankly explored how a lesbian couple navigates the death of a partner; and It Never Ends identified the necessary recalibration of authority, autonomy, and independence as both mothers and daughters age.
The Kitchen is Closed: And Other Benefits of Being Old is a collection of personal essays about life in the slow lane. She writes about not only the limitations aging imposes but the freedoms it allows.
Butler served on the founding editorial board of Persimmon Tree: An Online Magazine of the Arts by Women Over Sixty creating a much needed resource for older women writers.
As the mother of two daughters, surrounded by the women who have accompanied her life for the past forty years, a library that is always in danger of overflowing onto every available surface, a jazz collection that begins in the 1940s and slows down in the 1980s, and tremendous gratitude to be alive in this moment, this site is a glimpse, just a glimpse, into parts of the first eighty-five years of her life.