Provided by Amy Caffrey

Began March 1984 by Mary Jeffries, Amy Caffrey, Marilyn Cook and Karen Hester.

The name Sisterspirit was decided via a brainstorm discussion in Amy’s living room in May 1984

Incorporated and non-profit status June 28th, 1984.

We sold books to SJSU Women’s Studies Dept out of the back of our cars until we had a permanent location.

We held multicultural dances and coffeehouses at “Jonah’s Wail – SJSU Campus Christian Center basement” until we had a permanent location.

We rented SJSU’s Concert Music Hall for larger concerts for the first several years.

We began May 25th 1984 with Summer Friday night Coffeehouses….for the first 2 Summers.

By Fall 1985 we were having coffeehouses/ concerts on Saturdays almost every weekend.

Because we could not find a place we could afford on our own – we began renting space from the DeFrank Center on Park Ave June 27th, 1986.

We moved with DeFrank Center to Stockton Ave November 1990 and moved again to current location on The Alameda. With only a few problems & issues, we continued to rent from DeFrank until we closed our doors August 2016.

By 1998 we were still going strong as a bookstore, but we were doing mostly Book signings and a concert once in a while.

From 1984 – 2016 Sisterspirit was the ONLY all volunteer run bookstore in the country.

Beginning in 1984 we provided:

  • Bimonthly Newsletters
  • Listings of bestsellers & new releases by women authors
  • Book reviews
  • Benefits we held were for
    • No on 64
    • AIDS Awareness
    • Nicaraguan Women
    • Get Out the Vote
    • For Sharon Kowalski
    • Lesbian Health
  • Concerts
  • Coffeehouses
  • Informal Open Mic
  • Movie Nights
  • Women’s Berlezk
  • Book Readings and Signings
  • Plays by local women playwriters
  • Comedy
  • Dances
  • Local and well-known bands/musicians
  • Improv Theatre

From 1984 – 1997 some of the more well-known artists, authors, etc.

Better-known Musical Artists

  • Melissa Etheridge (known as “Melissa!”)
  • Holly Near
  • Cassleberry & Dupree
  • Alix Dobkin
  • Vicki Randall
  • Margie Adams
  • Gayle Marie
  • Jean & June Millington
  • Linda Tillery
  • Cris Williamson
  • Robin Flower
  • Rhiannon
  • Teresa Trull
  • Gwen Avery
  • Woody Simmons
  • Tret Fure
  • Nancy Vogl
  • Washington Sisters
  • Diedre McCalla
  • Debbie Fier
  • Diane Davidson
  • Linda Hirshorn
  • Sonia Rutstein (songwriter for Disappear Fear)

Better- known Authors & Playwriters

  • Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Judy Grahn
  • Sally Gearhart
  • Katherine Forrest
  • Deb Price
  • Urvashi Viad
  • Z Budapest
  • Pat Califia
  • Rosemary Curb & Nancy Manahan … “Lesbian Nuns”
  • Sonia Johnson
  • Pat Bond
  • Joann Loulan
  • Susie Bright
  • Tori Osborn
  • Deborah Abbott


  • Karen Williams
  • Renee Hicks
  • In 1993 All Out Comedy Group
    • Karen Ripley
    • Tom Ammiano
    • Scott Capurro
    • Marilyn Pittman


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