THE ONLINE ARCHIVE:
DYKE A Quarterly of Lesbian Culture and Analysis, was published from NY City in the mid 1970s. Editors Liza Cowan and Penny House created a magazine that was as beautiful as it was radical, and as personal as it was political. After it ceased publication in 1978, it languished in private collections until, in 2010, curators from The Library of The Museum of Modern Art and The Schlesinger Library requested copies and papers.
While Cowan was doing graduate studies in anthropology in the 1990s, she was horrified to discover that scholars were depending on secondary source material to write about Lesbian Feminist activism of the 1970s. Cowan decided to produce the digital archive to provide primary source documents about Lesbian Feminism to scholars everywhere.
Rather than a limitation, a lack of knowledge about the techniques of academic archiving proved to be source of inspiration and creativity when Cowan decided to approach the archive as she had the magazine: as an activist, writer and artist. Although rigorous in presenting the scans and searchable transcriptions of the original materials, the DAQ archive presents another dimension as well.
The annotations to the original articles are written as personal essays and as research essays about the women or groups mentioned in the articles. Hyperlinks make this a useful tool for both scholars and for the non-academic reader. Because the archive is published in blog format, readers can respond with their own stories and links.
DYKE, A QUARTERLY, THE PRINT VERSION was created by Liza Cowan and Penny House. We had been best friends since we were four years old and had both recently come out as Lesbians. In 1975 we were in our mid twenties. Liza had moved to a farm in upstsate New York and Penny was living in New York City, where we had both grown up.
All over The United States Lesbians were getting together to make culture: music, literature, theater, art exhibits, film, poetry, and all kinds of media. We were right in the thick of it, enjoying every minute, and decided that making a magazine would be our contribution.
Announcement Flier. 1976. Second from Left, LIza Cowan. Second from right, Penny House. Far right, Alix Dobkin. Photo by Michelle. Design by Liza Cowan
This is the annotated archive of the magazine we created. We hope you enjoy reading the issues and taking a peek at some of what went on behind the pages: the sketches, ideas, layout guides, fliers, reviews, and even some of the angry letters. And, of course, it's filled with commentary and backstory.
Using the categories on the right, you can locate articles and images by issue or topic. We've tried to make this archive easy to use, and please remember that it is a work in progress.
We invite you to add your comments and memories.
Liza and Penny
Liza Cowan and Penny House, DYKE A Quarterly, 1978
DYKE A Quarterly is now available for research at The Museum Library of The Museum Of Modern Art in New York City. The issues as well as ephemera, letters, and collateral material are available for research at The Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College.
"the exciting news is that DYKE, A Quarterly ... is building an online archive. So far only a few issues are up, but it's like getting a breath of fresh air from the past. Put on your overalls and bandanna and beam yourself back to the past, Scottie." The Tenured Radical