Prototype cover sketch for DYKE A Quarterly. 1975

DYKE A Quarterly  prototype cover drawing by Liza Cowan and Alix Dobkin. September 1975


"DYKE The punchy magazine for today's Dyke."

I'm fairly sure that Alix Dobkin, Penny House and I (Liza Cowan)  were sitting at The New York Women's Coffeehouse when we made this sketch, one of several we made as we were beginning to conceptualize the magazine. 

DYKE No.3 worth $16 according to amazondotcom seller.

I don't know. I think it's worth more.   I don't say anyone should purchase from the company that changed the meaning of Amazon from warrior women to vulture capitalists, but it's rather amusing to see back issues turn up in venues like this. 


dyke a quarterly No. 3 at amazon dot com for
DAQ No. 3 at Amazon dot com


First issues should be worth more, as indeed this one seems to be. Here we have an asking price of $28.00


 dyke a quarterly No. 1, at amazon dot com
DYKE A Quarterly No. 1 at Amazon dot com




DYKE A Quarterly, No. 4, front and back covers

In issue No. 4 we broke form to publish a poster instead of a magazine. Along with the gorgeous 4-color poster, designed by Debbie Drechsler and printed by Tower Press, we sent a magazinelette, envelope sized, with letters and responses. Our readers were baffled. 


Dyke a quarterly, no.4, front and back coversDYKE A Quarterly, Issue No. 4. cover. Illustration by Debbie Drechsler.


I was halfway through college, studying graphic design, when I started doing drawings for the New Women's Times, the feminist paper in Rochester, N.Y. It wasn't a conscious decision - I still don't know what I was thinking when I called them, but within six months, I developed a strong feminist consciousness, declared myself a Lesbian and left school. Now, I do odd jobs to make money and spend as much time as possible trying to visually describe what it means to be a feminist Lesbian.

Doing a poster to celebrate DYKE magazine's first anniversary felt as natural as doing more personal drawings. Basically, I wanted to say that any and all of us can be Lesbians, and are. Also, I wanted to show the real strong pride that we should all feel about ourselves. 

Debbie Drechsler.


Typewriter marks end of original story

Debbie Drechsler is still working as an illustrator. See her website HERE

Signed dyke a quarterly flier for poster issue illustration by liza cowan
Flier for DYKE A Quarterly,Wanted: Poster Design. Illustration by Liza Cowan

More about our decision to change format HERE

DYKE A Quarterly, No 3, 1976, Back Cover

Dyke No3 p 52
DYKE A Quarterly, Issue #3, 1976,  Back Cover Drawing by Liza Cowan

Text from issue

DYKE, a quarterly magazine of Lesbian Culture and analysis, is searching for an original poster design by a Lesbian. We will select a poster design which we will print and distribute as our first anniversary issue. Winter 1976-1977

Influence of Aspen Magazine

220px-Aspen3 It had always been our intention to vary the format of DYKE, A Quarterly. We were influenced by Aspen Magazine, founded in 1965 by Phyllis Johnson, a former editor of Women's Wear Daily and Advertising Age. In 1965 we were still Juniors in high school, but someone in one of our familes or a frend's family had a subsciription, which we'd gleefulley read.

"Each issue came in a customized box filled with booklets, phonograph recordings, posters, postcards - one issue even included a spool of Super-8 movie film.

"While wintering in Aspen, Colorado, she got the idea for a multi media magazine, designed by artists, that would showcase 'culture along with play.' So in the winter of  1965 she published her first issue. 'We wanted to get away from the bound magazine format, which is really quite restrictive,' said Johnson

"Each issue had a new designer and editor. 'Aspen,' Johnson said, should be a time capsule of a certain period, point of view, or person.' " Aspen stopped publishing in 1971.  SOURCE

Aspen Vol 1 #3 1966, Andy Warhol and David Dalton


The DYKE Poster

We decided that our first foray into a different format would be a poster. We both loved the poster format. There were Lesbians working as poster designers at the time, notably The Chicago Women's Graphics Collective whose work we admired greatly.

Poster by The Chicago Women's Graphics Collective

Rather than commissioning a poster from the Graphics Collective, we decided to open it up to our readers as a competition. We advertised with a flier, sent around the country to individuals and Lesbian venues, as well as the back page of Issue No. 4.


The graphic on both is by Liza Cowan, using an resist technique of poster paint and India Ink. And yes, it was supposed to look somewhat like a WANTED poster.


Dyke poster design
Flier for DYKE A Quarterly Poster Issue. 1976, design and drawing by Liza Cowan.



DYKE A Quarterly, No 3: Cover, Alice Austen

DYKE A Quarterly #3 Cover, - Alice Austen

DYKE A QUARTERLY ISSUE No.3, Photo on cover by Alice Austen. Design by Liza Cowan

We probably first saw  Alice Austen's photographs  at an exhibition of her work at Richmond College in Staten Island, NY. Alice was a pioneer 19th Century photographer who was born and raised in Staten Island. By now everyone pretty much accepts that she was a Lesbian, or a woman who loved women. DYKE A Quarterly was the first periodical to write about her as such.


Alice Austen, from Alice's World by Ann Novotny. Photo 1891

 The text reads, Alice Austen, The Darned Club, Staten Island, New York, October 29, 1891. Left to right: Alice Austen and friends Trude Ecceston, Julia Marsh, and Sue Ripley.


Alice's world Ann Novotny We were smitten with Alice Austen's work as it tied in nicely with our project of bringing art and history to our readers. At the time we were putting together the article for DYKE, we met with Ann Novotny, who was writing a book about Alice. She gave us several prints (reprints...not originals) to work with. Our treatment of this one is based on another love, Japanese Woodblock prints. The staff at Tower Press, the all woman print shop in NYC where we printed the magazine, helped us realize our vision. 


Utigawa Hiroshige, apricot garden, woodblock print Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) Apricot Garden.


Dyke alice austen chop

We made the title using Letraset presstype, hoping to make it look like a  Chop mark, or seal. 

DYKE, A Quarterly No 2: COVER

DYKE A Quarterly-No2 cover
DYKE A Quarterly, Cover, No. 2

The women on the cover all worked at Bread and Roses, the women's restaurant in Cambridge MA. There is a lengthy interview with them inside the magazine.

LIFE magazine March 1, 1943Many of our readers had trouble with the cover of issue #2. We meant it as an homage, a reference, and a spoof on LIFE Magazine. The iconic red banner, the typeface...all should have been an easy tip off. Surprisingly few of our readers got it.

We, on the other hand, thought it was both clever and funny.


LIFE Magazine, March 1, 1943