TOPIC: archiving Feed

Archives. Just Do It!


Women_s history in The Digital World Screen Shot
Women's History In The Digital World at Bryn Mawr. Screen Shot.
At DYKE, A Quarterly (as if it were a place, haha) we always thought about preserving the magazine for the future. One of our goals was to make DAQ long lasting and to become a historical artifact and future resource. We used good paper and ink on purpose. The one thing we forgot about was keeping enough of the original print copies. You give away one, then another without thinking about it much for a few decades and then suddenly, you have only a copy or two and you're not sure if there are any copies at all, anywhere. Poof, suddenly the history trajectory looks quite different. 

But then along come digital technologies and we have a new way to collect and literally share/transmit our stories and images. Wow. 

A few weeks ago the editors of DYKE, Penny House and Liza Cowan, went to the wonderful conference at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, USA, Women's History In The Digital World. The conference was produced by Jennifer Redmond and the rest of the amazing crew at The Albert M. Greenfied digital Center for the History of Women's Eductation LINK, a part of the college.

Liza did a powerpoint slide show and talked  about our process of archiving, digitizing and presenting the archive online. The other presenters in our node were Margo Hobbs Thompson and Michelle Moravec.  We networked through twitter, by the way. 

DYKE A Quarterly image from powerpoint Archiving Dyke A  quarterly
Slide from talk: DYKE goes to the MOMA and The Schlesinger Library

We had a fabulous time, meeting so many amazing women,  and sitting in  presentations which were fascinating and sometimes way over our heads, tech-wise - which is good, we think. It's always good to know what you don't know, and to connect with resources for learning it. And how wonderful it was to be in rooms full of smart, articulate, kind and generous women, many of whom were presenting materials from various archives, libraries and institutions around the country, as well as sharing so much great information - technical, anectdotal and historical.

Presenter Michell Moravac, was moved to tweet a day or two after the conference,  "Was #WHDigWrld  the 1st @Birksconference of Digital Women's History?" Michelle's  link
HERE is a link to the conference.  Several of the presentations are available with a link to the visulal portion of the presentation as prepared by the presenters. How convenient, educational and fun, right?

The DYKE, A Quarterly power point is HERE. And if you are interested in digitizing YOUR collections...DO IT.
We discovered that compared to so many institutions and archives, the DAQ digital archive is put together with tins cans and string. But it doesn't matter. It still works. So, for a start in digizing, if you haven't already done so, CHECK HERE Digital Scholarship in The Humanites,   from the blog Exploring the Digital Humanities.

DYKE A Quarterly No, 6, 1978, Back Cover

We proposed an issue on Lesbian media. It was going to be issue No. 7. The magazine folded before we could publish it, which is a great shame. Irene Young took these amazing photographs so at least we have this stunning graphic.

DYKE A Quarterly No.6 Back Cover, photo by Irene Young, lesbian buttonsDYKE A Quarterly, No. 6.1978. Back Cover. Photos by Irene Young. ©Tomato Publications 1977, New York


Women's Buttons in DYKE A Quarterly. Send us a button* of a photo of buttons to be used in a photo essay on Women's Buttons in DYKE #7, Lesbian Media.

This issue will feature essays, interviews, resource lists and graphics on different forms of Lesbians communications: magazines, newspapers, letters, posters, buttons, fliers, video, films. We are looking for articles and news for this issue

DYKE pays for everything it prints. Remember we will always print non-theme related articles, so don't hesitate to send other work,

A subscription to DYKE, A  Quarterly costs $8.00 for four issues. A single copy costs $2.25 in women's and gay stores. $275 by mail. Please address all correspondence, submissions and make checks payable to: Tomato Publications, 70 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014.

*Please send us a button or a photograph of your favorite woman's buttons. Please tell us the size and colors of the buttons if you send us a photograph. Please tell us, if you know, when it was made, who designed it, what is the event, place, group action or idea that it describes. We would prefer to keep the button if you have doubles, be we can arrange to return them to you if you request. We will not return photos. Please send clear, sharply focused, black and white prints. No slides please. Thank you.

Photographs:  Irene Young


Lesbianism is Revolution, button, circa 1970LESBIANISM IS REVOLUTION

1" purple and white, designed by Denny Covallo for Gay Women's Liberation Front, New York City Circa 1970







DYKE button circa 1974, photo irene young ,dyke a quarterlyDYKE

1" purple and white

circa 1974


Stars and dykes forever, button, delia davis and denise wong, photo irene young, circa 1973STARS AND DYKES FOREVER

1" red, white, blue,

designed by Delia Davis & Denise Wong

New York City, 1973


Amazon warrior button,DYKE A Quarterly , photo by Irene Young, lesbian buttons


1" black and white

drawing from Greek Vase

California, circa 1975





Tykes and dykes button, photo irene young, dyke a quarterlyTYKES & DYKES

1 1/2" black and white

designed by Tykes & Dykes

New York City, circa 1976



Lesbians ignite, button, photo irene young, dyke a quarterlyLESBIANS IGNITE

1" red and white

?Philadelphia circa 1974

Photos by Irene Young. ©Tomato Publications 1977, New York

SIDE TRIP: White Mare Buttons

I just ran across this image of White Mare buttons by Liza Cowan (that's me.) My hands holding a bunch of the buttons I produced while Penny and I were publishing DYKE, A Quarterly. White Mare was, of course, a regular advertiser in the magazine. Buttons cost a mere 50¢ each and I sold quite a few. When Penny, Alix and I would go on tour I always sold them, and I sold in women's bookstores as well.


feminist and lesbian Buttons by White Mare, Inc. Liza Cowan archives

White Mare Buttons, ©Liza Cowan/White Mare, Inc. Image made on Mita 500D copier circa 1978.

I wrote about my buttons in SeeSaw, my art blog. Here's what I said.

Many lifetimes ago, in the 1970's, I used to design, publish and distribute buttons. Not sewing buttons, but the kind you pin onto your coat, or shirt, or backpack. Badges, they call them in England. I'd collected political buttons as a teenager and had quite an impressive bunch of them. I loved the smooth roundness of them, the graphics, and how they had to deliver their message in an instant. Like little billboards for your clothing.

I liked to use symbols from Greek and Celtic antiquity, probably because they were accessible in books, and because the education we got in the nineteen fifties and sixties presented Mesopotamia and Greece and Egypt as the only places that existed in ancient times. Africa didn't exist- except for Egypt - in our racially biased educational system, even in the private progressive school I went to. Robert Graves' highly annotated book The Greek Myths led me to his book The White Goddess, A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, and those were my two most insprational sources.

The first button I made was "A You're An Amazon" based on the song by Alix Dobkin (which was, in turn, a riff on "A You're Adorable" by Buddy Kaye and Sid Lippman) The moon and stars connected it to imaginary Amazon space. At the time, Amazons occupied a huge portion of Lesbian imaginary space until the other Amazon (.com) colonized the name and the pretty much corrupted the powerful symbolic association to an all woman civilization.

The triangle with a little groove etched in it that I found in pictures of carved rocks in Greece became the basis of my second design, "I like older women". I was twenty four  at the time, but the message seemed really important, surrounded as we were, even then, by media images of the perpetual child/woman.

The Labyris, double headed ax, was the ubiquitous symbol of matriarchy, which feminist Lesbians worldwide had chosen as their symbol,  I chose to pair it with the Star Of David, to connect my two identities. If you look closely, the Star of David is in the circle which tops the Labyris, turning the whole affair into a women's symbol. I thought it was quite clever. When jewelers started making pendants with the same design, I took it as a compliment. Several jewelers, when I told them I'd actually made up the design, said they thought it was ancient.

I asked a friend to design "Mother Nature Is a Lesbian" for my company. It was a huge seller, but truth be told, I never liked the design. The trees were nice but too much of a couple. The colors, light green, dark green and light blue, were pleasing, so that was good. But the typeface drove me nuts. There, I've said it.

Medusa, the Gorgon who could turn men to stone if they looked at her, was another ubiquitous symbol of women's rage and power. Greek Goddess Athena featured the head of Medusa on her shield. Greek bakers put Medusa on the oven door to keep people from stealing the bread. I thought it would be nifty if we in the modern world could also wear Medusa as our aegis. I hired cartoonist Roberta Gregory to design this one.

And last is the White Mare, Celtic symbol of The Great Goddess. She was etched large on cliffs in England, I named my company after her. White Mare, Inc. If only I'd started an internet bookselling company we'd be ordering from and I'd be rich.

And I'd share it with you.

Support lesbian art button ©Liza CowanSupport Lesbian Art. Handmade button made to sell at festivals. ©Liza Cowan




SIDE TRIP: Women In Print: Voices From The Radical Feminist Press


Here's more good news about preserving our herstory. From the website of Women In Print

Women in Print: Voices from the Radical Feminist Press (1960-1985)is an oral history project attempting to restore to the record those feminist presses founded between the year 1960 to 1985. Though these presses are not lost in the memory of those who ran them and those generations that read many of the presses’ books and journals, I find little to no mention of many of these presses on the internet; many of the books, themselves, are out of print. Additionally, I hope to create a space where the stories in long form can unfold, where individuals can speak of their experiences, as individuals and collectives: what happened and what it means.

This is a project that attempts to highlight the literary, social, political dimensions of the presses. Most of the presses on our list-in-progress were founded in the ’70s, so we welcome suggestions re: earlier presses. I am interested in the particular nature of production (printing) as well as changing politics during this time period. The audio interviews with transcripts will be archived at the Schlesinger Library. I hope to photograph covers of the books or journals mentioned in the interviews, as well.
Beyond The Pale by Elana Dykewomon
Beyond The Pale by Elana Dykewomon

Through the miracle that is social media, I heard about this project from Elana Dykewomon on facebook with a link to this article by Andrew Leland from the Oakland Standard, experiments in work and play by the oakland museum of california

 The social upheavals of the late 1960s and ‘70s brought about a profusion of alternative publishing and radical media across the U.S. In addition to political posters and underground newspapers, this period marked the flourishing of a radical feminist press in the United States. All-women collectives published broadsheets, magazines, novels, and posters, and in some cases worked to seize the means of production for the entire publishing process, from editing and writing to printing and distribution, in a separatist attempt to unlink themselves from a male-dominated society.

Suzanne Snider, a writer and oral historian based in New York, is collecting an oral history of this movement. Recording narratives for Women in Print: Voices from the Radical Feminist Press (1960-1985), Snider traveled across the country, beginning with Oregon and California. The Bay Area, which was a center for the radical feminist press, was an obvious stop on the trip. “I could do a whole project here in Oakland,” she said on a recent visit, “but I want the oral history to cover the movement in Texas, New Mexico, Oregon,” and elsewhere.

Among the women Snider came to Oakland to interview was Elana Dykewomon. Dykewomon’s first book, Riverfinger Women, “blew my mind,” Snider remembers. “She was twenty-four years old when she wrote it. It was published by Daughter’s Inc,” a pioneering lesbian press. Despite its nearly forty-year vintage, “it’s one of the more contemporary novels I’ve read,” Snider said. In addition to Riverfinger Women, published in 1974, Dykewomon (who changed her surname from Nachman in 1976) has published six other books, including the Oakland-centered novel Risk (Bywater Books 2009). Dykewomon also brought the lesbian feminist journal Sinister Wisdom to Oakland (where it was based from 1987–2009), and recently retired from many years of teaching writing at San Francisco State University.

Once completed, the Women in Print project, featuring interviews with more than 40 women, will be archived in the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. (The first twenty interviews will be deposited this month.) In the next months, Snider will begin fundraising through Kickstarter in order to continue the project. More information on the project is online at

Check out the article and  audio links HERE.


DYKE at The Museum Of Modern Art and The Schleisinger Library.

Pile of advertising political fliers for DYKE A  Quarterly ©
Good news on the archiving front. DYKE A Quarterly is now housed in two prestigeous institutions. Really...we couldn't ask for more.

An entire set of the magazines, including the poster, are now at The Museum Of Modern Art, in their Library. They are available to scholars and researchers and the general public by appointment. Here's the LINK to the library. 

An entire set of the magazines as well as all the collateral materials - that's the letters, layout boards, mock ups, fliers, and whatever fascinating bits of paper we saved over the years- is now housed at Radcliffe College at The Schlesinger Library. Here's a LINK.

SIDE TRIP: Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archive Exhibition

Jobs = rights for women, Toronto, international women's day from The Body Pollitc may 1979International Women's Day, from The Body Politic, May 1979. Part of the CLGA exhibit.

This exhibit sounds great. If you are in or near Toronto, I hope you can go.

The Canadian Lesbian Gay Archive Celebrates

 the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day

with a

Special  Exhibition 

34 Isabella  Street. Toronto, ON.

 March 3 - May 12, 2011.

Admission is free.    

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women's  Day, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives presents "International Women's Day: Toronto Women and  the Struggle for Equality," opening March 3rd at 7:30 PM. Curators Michelle Schwartz and Roberta  Wiseman have drawn from the CLGA's own collection of  posters, flyers, photographs, and ephemera to  create an exhibition of the history of International Women's Day in Toronto from the 1970s to the  present.

"...the exhibition has been designed  with the aesthetic and ambience of the early women's centres of the 1970s and 1980s, with bulletin  boards, banners, and slogan­ adorned walls. "  

 Leading off the International Women's Day celebrations in Toronto, the exhibition has been designed  with the aesthetic and ambience of the early women's centres of the 1970s and 1980s, with bulletin  boards, banners, and slogan­ adorned walls.

   "International Women's Day: Toronto Women and the Struggle for Equality" is the second in the CLGA's  inaugural series of juried exhibitions to be presented in the CLGA's new gallery space at 34 Isabella  Street. The exhibit opens on March 3 and runs until May 12, 2011. Admission is free.   

  Founded in 1973, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) is a registered charity that collects and  preserves materials that chronicle LGBTQ history for future generations to study and enjoy. Housed  within the collection are thousands of documents, artifacts and photographs, as well as a world­ renowned international periodicals collection and an extensive refer ence library. The CLGA's collection is  now one of the largest of its kind in the world and is used by the educational, literary, media and legal  communities as they seek to understand, document, relay, film and protect the stories and rights of  LGBTQ people. Please visit us online at