The Daughters of Bilitis began as a small private social group for lesbian couples in 1955. Members quickly decided to expand their activities to the larger underground lesbian community. Unable to advertise their meetings in the newspaper, founding members Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon developed a newsletter that eventually grew into The Ladder (pictured above).
Advertized as “A Woman’s Organization for the purpose of Promoting the Integration of the Homosexual into Society,” the Daughters of Bilitis became a national organization with chapters in major cities. Chapter meetings were places where a woman could candidly discuss her sexual confusion, look for a new girlfriend, and dance on a Saturday night. The group was open to all women and its name referenced an obscure Sapphic poem, providing women a place to be open without being exposed.
Internal conflict and the development of feminist groups weakened the influence of the Daughters of Bilitis and the national organization disbanded in 1970. The Ladder continued publication until 1973 when it folded.
Thanks to vvf for the suggestion.