holly ACLU

Holly speaking at an ACLU event


Art & Activism: History

Click each of the titles below to read about it.


If you have letters, photos, posters, etc. that have to do with me and my work, please consider donating them to the collection at:

The Schlessinger Library on the History of Women in America;
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study,
Harvard University,
10 Garden St.,
Cambridge, MA 02138,
Tel: 617-495-8647

Please include a note that says, "I, ......, release all ownership and rights to the enclosed material. It is my wish that, if and when appropriate, these materials be considered for The Holly Near Collection because the material contains specific reference to Holly Near and her work."

Other Contributions
After many meetings among women who have been part of the feminist and lesbian music community, it has been suggested that artists, producers, technicians, fans, etc. send their historic papers to Schlesinger at Radcliffe or to Smith. Both have strong archives and are interested in holding this material. Before sending, contact the archive directly and discuss the process with them.

Don't throw items away until you think it through. A handwritten contract that describes the sound equipment, or lack thereof, can be of great historic importance; similarly, an informal snapshot from early ground-breaking events in your community with a description of the event, date, etc.

Honors and Awards

Holly has received numerous awards for her work for social change, including these honors from the following organizations.

  • 2008: Impact Fund, San Francisco (May)
  • 2007: Key to the City of Chico (March)
  • 2005: City Council of Oakland: Congratulating Holly Near for nomination as one of the "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize
  • 2002: Women of Voice and Vision, Scripps College, celebrating 75th Anniversary (Feb. 28)
  • 2001: Jeanine C Rae Culture Award For the Advancement of Women's Culture; Women in the Arts, Inc., Indiana
  • 2000: The Legends of Women's Music Award (Lesbians of Achievement, Vision, and Action)
  • 1999: Ukiah High School Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Class of 1967 (June 19)
  • 1997: NARAS Governor’s Award to Redwood Records—“For your outstanding contributions to the cultural fabric of our community. Your vision and struggle to crate a better world has enriched all our lives.”
  • 1996: Gala Choruses Legacy Award in recognition of unique contributions to the Lesbian and Gay Choral Movement
  • 1994: Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (LACAAW) Humanitarian Award
  • 1994: American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California celebrates Freedom of Information “…by honoring Holly Near for the tremendous commitment you have shown toward fighting for equality and and justice for others.”
  • 1993: Bay Area Theater Critics Circle, Outstanding Achievement Award, for "Fire in the Rain, Singer in the Storm"
  • 1993: Naird Indie Award—Honorable Mention to Redwood Records for “Musical Highlights” from the Play “Fire in the Rain” in the category of Soundtrack/Cast Recording
  • 1993: Unity Award, The National Conference Fairfield Region
  • 1991: “Hot Wire” Readers’ Choice Award Near for outstanding contributions to Women’s Music and Culture
  • 1989: World College West, honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
  • 1989: July 7 declared Holly Near Day by Art Agnos, Mayor of San Francisco
  • 1989: Indie Award in the category of Women’s Music for “Sky Dances”
  • 1988: Cable Car Awards: Outstanding achievement by a recording artist, “Don’t Hold Back”
  • 1987: Southern California Women For Understanding presents Lesbian Rights Award to Holly Near, Pioneer in Women's Music
  • 1987: National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, Award of Distinction
  • 1987: California Senate Lesbian Rights Award
  • 1987: Sixth Annual Woman's Building (San Francisco) Vesta Award
  • 1986: City and County of San Francisco Certificate of Honor
  • 1986: The Women's Foundation "Woman of Note" for Outstanding Achievements in Music (Nov. 2)
  • 1985: Biko-Rodney-Malcolm Coalition for Holly Near's principled stand against racism
  • 1984: Cable Car Award: Outstanding achievement by a recording artist, “Journeys”
  • 1984: Key to the City of Fresno
  • 1984: LACAAW Humanitarian Award
  • 1984: Naird Indie Award for "Lifeline", a recording with Ronnie Gilbert
  • 1983: City and County of San Francisco Certificate of Honor
  • 1983: Detroit City Council Testimonial Resolution honoring Holly Near
  • 1979: Bammie (Bay Area Music Award ) Best Independent Label Album, “Imagine My Surprise”
  • 1967: Bank of America Achievement Award to Holly Near in the field of Fine Arts (May 19)

Holly also received honors from the following but we don't have the details. Do you?

  • The National Lawyers Guild
  • The National Organization for Women
  • BAM Magazine Lesbian Rights Awardholly racehorse

Among her other recognitions, a racehorse, "Ms. Holly Near," was named after her!


1000 Peace Women

1000 peace women logoWhat a brilliant idea, to have 1000 Peace Women nominated for The Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. And I am thrilled to have been one of them.

At the San Francisco press conference (simultaneous press conferences happened all over the world), the nominated women in attendance all agreed that we symbolize thousands more and that we hold very dear our opportunity to represent all of those women in this acknowledgement of the work women do in the world for peace.

Read more about this remarkable organization.

Holly & Ronnie: A Timeline

We're Not The First and We're Not The Last

In 1983, Amy Banks (Redwood Records) compiled and edited an informal history and timeline of Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert; this was updated in 1986 by Melissa Howden. Please click here to view the timeline.