The Feminist and Lesbian Periodical Collection
Scope and Content Note
The Feminist and Lesbian Periodical Collection contains 482 lesbian and feminist periodical titles including 36 Oregon titles and 31 international titles. The entire collection spans from 1932 to 1997 with 80 percent of titles dated in the 1970s. There are 81 titles in this collection which include the first issue published.
These periodicals are divided into three lists for ease of browsing: by title, by state/city where published, and by date of first issue in the collection. Name changes are noted as "continued by". Dates not known are listed as "No Date" and approximate dates are listed as (1979)ca. Dates in bold indicate that the title contains a Vol. 1 No. 1 or equivalent. Date and issue ranges are not complete for all titles, but there are several complete or near-complete runs collected from publishers in Oregon, California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Directories, publishing records, fliers, and random ephemera are not included. All regular and irregular issues are included; no attempt has been made to correct date or volume inconsistencies.
The majority of periodicals in this collection were collected and donated by Ruth and Jean Mountaingrove of Wolf Creek, Oregon. During the late 1970s and 1980s, they lived on their rustic women's land where lesbians pursued writing and publishing among other arts. Together they published the periodical WomanSpirit, included in this collection. As outspoken, community-minded lesbians, Ruth and Jean were key in the development of the lesbian community in Southern Oregon. They became part of a nationwide wide web of women who created periodicals in order to maintain a record of the lives of lesbians and to build community through intellectual and artistic exchanges. This collection of periodicals was born out of the exchanges between Rootworks and other lesbian and feminist groups.
Diverse groups of lesbian and feminist publishers surfaced in the early 1970's with similar visions of building a more accurate, thorough history. This collection brings together themes of lesbian and feminist community building, political activism, separatism, and spirituality. A huge lesbian and feminist publishing wave began after 1969 as lesbians and feminists were participants in and influenced by Stonewall and civil rights events. There was a marked shift in the presence of gay and lesbian authorship as "they" turned to "we'. Long-distance consciousness raising and broadening of communities were two immediate effects of lesbian and feminist publishing and exchanging.
Periodical exchanges were informally established with the intent of communicating in the most cost-effective manner. Friends and publishers would send copies of the latest news to women with notes scrawled on the cover, some as brief as "Exchange, sister?" After several issues, some publishers found it necessary to solicit subscriptions and cease the exchange. The bulk of periodicals were assembled through many women's volunteer hours and donated services of mimeographing, sorting, stapling, addressing and stamping. For those who could afford the cost, printing houses did most of the job. Some publishers enlisted the aid of paid advertising, thus creating sometimes more aesthetically pleasing items while others completely banned advertisements featuring anything male-made on the premise of "by women, for women".
Universities and local women's centers doubled as publishing houses and contributed much needed financial support and stability toward putting out issues. However, the risks of publishing radical material coupled with financial burden lead many periodicals to quick ends by theft and sabotage. Surviving periodicals have established a place in lesbian-feminist history as records of social activity and community development as well united strength and determination.
This collection is intended as a general beginning point for research and does not contain certain titles which are noted as key works in lesbian and gay history such as: The Ladder, Just Out, etc. due to their availability. This collection does not duplicate holdings in the UO library for feminist and lesbian topics.