Welcome to the DYKE, A Quarterly online annotated archive. We invite you to discover the depth and scope of our files.

DYKE A Quarterly, DYKE IS OUT publicity flier signed copy
DAQ announcement flier. ©Liza Cowan, Tomato Publications


 DYKE A Quarterly of Lesbian Culture and Analysis, was published in 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 dismayed 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.

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 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.


DAQ #5, 1977. Lesbian Hoboes by JR Roberts with illustrations by Roberta Gregory

 DYKE, A Quarterly #5, 1977,  featured this historical essay by JR Roberts, with illustrations by Roberta Gregory. Click images to enlarge.

"While reading the book, Sisters Of The Road: The Autobiography of Box Car Bertha (1937) I came across more than a dozen references to Lesbians during the 1920’s and 1930’s. While this life story of Bertha Thompson, as told to Dr. Ben L. Reitman, presents a negative and stereotypical view of Lesbians, it does provide the only references I have uncovered so far which document the existence of numerous and visible Lesbian hoboes during this period. After peeling away the stereotypes there wasn’t much substance left, so I began an investigation to learn more about their lives as women and as Lesbians during those Depression years. This article is the result of that beginning investigation, an investigation which I now consider an on-going project."


DAQ Lesbian Hoboes, JR Roberts, illustrations by Roberta Gregory ©Tomato Publications 1977, DYKE A  Quarterly



DAQ Lesbian hoboes JR Roberts illustrations Roberta Gregory ©tomato publications Dyke a quarterly 1977 pp 38, 39


DAQ Lesbian Hoboes JR Roberts, illustrations Roberta Gregory ©Tomato Publications DYKE A Quarterly 1977 pages 40 and 41


DAQ lesbian hoboes jr roberts,illustrations by Roberta Gregory. ©Tomoato Publications Dyke a quarterly 1977 pp 42 43

DAQ lesbian hoboes JR Roberts,illustrations by Roberta Gregor ©Tomoato Publications Dyke a quarterly 1977 pp 44 45


DAQ lesbian hoboes JR Roberts, ilustrations by Roberta Gregory ©Tomato Publications Dyke a quarterly 1977 pp 46 47

DAQ lesbian hoboes JR Roberts, illustrations by Roberta Gregory ©Tomato Publications Dyke a quarterly 1977 pp 48 49


DAQ lesbian hoboes JR Roberts, illustrations by Roberta Gregory ©Tomaoto publications Dyke a quarterly p 50


JR Roberts (aka Barbara Henry) is a Lesbian Librarian who founded The New Alexandria Women's Library in Chicago,within the Lesbian Feminist Center, in 1974. She is also the author of Black Lesbians,  An Annotated Bibliography, Naiad Press 1981. Forward by Barbara Smith. 



Roberta Gregory lives in Seattle Washington and is responsible for a lot of comics over the years. Best known for "Bitchy Bitch" and "Bitchy Butch" characters and is currently working on Mother Mountain and True Cat Toons. Visit Robertagregory.com and truecattoons.com

She was also a contributing artist to DYKE, A Quarterly. 


The Future Is Female - the button

The future is female liza cowan design liza cowan archives liza cowan photo
the future is female, 1974


Labyris Books was the first feminist bookstore in NYC. It was owned by Jane Lurie and Marizel Rios, fresh from their experiences at the takeover of the 5th Street Women's building. The slogan of the store was "the future is female" and in 1974 they asked me, Liza Cowan, to make this button for them. At the time, I was running a feminist button business, White Mare Buttons. It's hard to believe that I still have a bunch of these left...but I do. They are great, don't you think? And the slogan is just as fresh today as it was in 1974.

From The Vaults: Chai Labyris rubber stamp

Chai Labyris rubber stamp ©liza cowan for White mare 1978


White Mare, Inc. was a feminist Lesbian button company owned and operated by Liza Cowan, co-editor of DYKE, A Quarterly. This image of the Chai inside a Labyris was very successful, so White Mare made it into a limited edition rubber stamp in addition to two runs of buttons.  

This design combines several powerful words and symbols: the Star of David (a cross -cultural geometric symbol- here indicating Judaism,) the Chai, the Hebrew number 18, which is good luck and other resonating numerology .The Labryis, the double headed axe, symbol of Matriarchy and Amazons. The circle sitting atop the Labyris, turns it into a Venus or women's symbol. 


More about White Mare buttons HERE


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. 

Issue #6, Summer 1978. Lesbians & Animals, Editorial

dyke a quarterly. Lesbians & Animals, editorial by Liiza and Penny. Summer 1978

DYKE A Quarterly #6. Lesbians & Animals, editorial. Summer 1978



We love animals. We believe that women traditionally have had, and still have, a special relationship with animals. The relationships between women and animas can be satisfying, healthy, consciousness-raising, productive and life sustaining. We are interested in exploring the biological  emotional and behavioral connections between women and other species. 

Between us we have to geldings (castrated male horses) nine castrated male cats, tow spayed female cats, and one spayed bitch. We love our animas and think they are as important as our lovers and friends. We think that relationships with animals are as mutually viable as our involvements with women. Some people, some Lesbians included, feel the domestic animal is, because of domestication, oppressed; they feel that, “human/animal relationships are power relationships with the human having total say over the course and directions of that relationship as well as over the very life of the other creature.”* A comparison is often made between the relationships of animas and people to those between husband and wife or slave and slave-owner. It is said that people use animals a a substitute for human relationships, to fill out their otherwise emotionally empty lives. 

Certainly it is true that some people, women included, abuse animals. However, we think that animal and pet liberationists make no distinction in their arguments between abuse and care or between coercion and cooperation. Many children are abused, too, but the solutions is not tat no one have children. 

The solution to animal abuse is for people to understand and respect animal’s needs and natures. Animal liberationists make too fuzzy a distinction between domestic and wild animals. To be against domestication itself is, at this point, meaningless. From the beginning of human history animal domestication, the interdependence between people and animals, has shaped our cultures, our architecture, our art, in short, the development of our world. 

Whether we approve of it or not, through human history we have been dependent on animal power and animal products. Fields have been cleared for food production by people and animals working together. Horses, camels, elephants, oxen and dogs, among others, have provided overland transportation. Animals have been eaten, and their hair and hides used to make clothing, shelter, tools and musical instruments. 

Until the Industrial Revolutions, animal labor and human labor were among the main sources of energy in the world. For centuries, war technology was based on animals: horses, camels and elephants. Cats protect people from diseases carried by rodents, and protect food from rodents. In the fourteenth century the bubonic plague killed twenty five million people. This plague was possible because men, associating cats with witches and the devil, killed almost the entire cat population of Europe. This the disease, carried by rodents, spread unchecked.

Life without domestic animals is unthinkable. Nowadays modern technology is dependent on machines and computers. But is this a state to be desired? Agribusiness and centralized food processing has lowered the nutritional value of food in this country and elsewhere. It has also made food into a corporate business, and made small farming untenable. Also, by so extensively removing horses and oxen from the land, we lose one of the best fertilizers that Mother Nature can provide: manure. 

Domestic animals have developed to what they are now because of human intervention. They have been bred by humans to work as animals and companions. These domestic breeds no longer exist in a wild state. Animal liberationists claim that by domesticating animals we are perverting them from their natural, wild state. But there is no wild state of, for example, a Golden Retriever, just as there is not wild, i.e. more true, more natural state of a Yankee farmer. Domestic animals have co-evolved with humans. 


We think that it is natural and healthy for people to enjoy and want the companionship of animals. It is a further exploration of nature. We know that our lives, and many people’s lives, are enriched by pets. Having close relationships with animals is not an imitation of human relationships. Some people prefer to have relationships with animals instead of people and we consider this an honorable choice. To include animals in one’s daily life can be a mutually gratifying and healthy experience. Recently therapists have been working with domestic animals and mentally disturbed and retarded children with beneficial results for both. 


Cruelty to animals is a worldwide problem. We are going to discuss here the abuse we have seen done by Lesbians. The abuse we have witnessed came not from cruelty, not from neurosis, but from ignorance and irresponsibility. We have seen many Lesbians who are reluctant to discipline and train their dogs. Dog psychology is different from women’s psychology. By not understanding their dog’s nature, some women accord them the same rights they feel women should have: complete freedom of choice, total mobility, not enforced discipline or reproductive freedom. This is s distortion of a dog’s nature. Anthropomorphizing is exactly what Walt Disney does. 

There are too many homeless dogs and cats in the world, and too many animals with hereditary defects, such as diplasia, caused by unthoughtful breeding, so spaying and castrating is a must. 

Unfortunately many women think this is unfair to the animal, which it is not. 

A dog needs to be told what she can and cannot do. In the wild, with wolves for example, one wolf is dominant and in the pack there is a dominance chain. In domestication, the human must be dominant. Women, on the other hand, are not pack animals. Adult women do not need a pack leader. The confusion, and therefor the abuse, stems from women believing that a dog’s needs, and therefore the dog’s rights, should be the same as women’s rights. This is not the case. If a human is not the dog’s leader, then the dog, by her nature, will have to become the leader, a task she is not equipped to handle. Some women feel it is oppressive to discipline their dogs, but cute puppy behavior, if undisciplined, soon becomes obnoxious and destructive dog behavior. 

Is it a dog’s right to chew furniture? Is hist a dog’s right to shit in the house? Is it a dog’s right to run deep and kill sheep? Is it a dog’s right to knock down the neighbor’s garbage and shit on the neighbor’s lawn? Without training, discipline and care, a dog will do all these things and more. The result usually is that the dog will become habituated to obnoxious behavior and will have to be locked up all the time, passed from home to home, or even destroyed. 

Liza and Penny



End of original article. DAQ.


We designed and layed out each issue very carefully. This was before the era of the personal computer, so our production was very very laborious and time consuming. We started with thumbnail sketches, laying out the whole magazine in teensy squares on a grid on paper. Here's the page for Issue #6. You can see the layout for the editorial. 

Dyke A Quarterly thumbnail mockup for issue #6 1978

Flier for DYKE, A Quarterly. 1975


We sent out this flier/mailer in 1975. You can read about it here:


flier for DYKE, A Quarterly. 1975. New Magazine Begins
Flier for DYKE, A Quarterly. Photo of Penny House reading DAQ #1.


Please note that the description of DYKE #2 says "future issues will carry stories on bitch sexuality..." We were talking about dogs. It would never have occurred to us to use the word "bitch" to refer to human females. Today, however, we'd have to be much clearer. And still, we'd never use the word "bitch" to refer to human females.

Side Trip: White Mare Buttons

Buttons from white mare inc. liza cowan archives

DAQ editor Liza Cowan also had a business making and distributing feminist and Lesbian buttons, under the company name White Mare. White Mare advertised in DAQ, of course. These buttons are now collectors' items. If you have any, hang on to them or donate them to an archive. Please. 

Lesbian History Exploration, 1975. Part 2


Dyke a quarterly,  Blue London and anon woman in photobooth 1950's or early 60's
Blue London and unknown woman. Photo booth photo circa late 1950's. From What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear Slideshow, 1975


The Lesbian History Exploration was a small conference, held in the Spring of 1975 at a Jewish camp in Malibu, California. It was organized and produced  by Good Taste Productions, a Lesbian collective in Los Angeles. Among the collective were Alice Bloch, Jan Oxenberg, Evan Paxton, Nancy Poore, Jocelyn Cohen, Jan Aura and Nancy Toder.

I can't remember how Alix Dobkin and I heard about the conference, either it was a personal invitation or we saw a notice about it in one of the dozens of women's publications that circulated around the country in that era. We submitted our proposals, and then spent part of the winter preparing for our presentations, which would take place far from our home in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

DAQ dear exploration anthology collective
Dear Exploration...letter from Liza Cowan 1975


The Exploration Collective must have sent out a series of questionnaires, which not only did I anwer quite thoroughtly, but I also managed to keep copies of my letters in my posession until 2001, when I donated some of my papers and collections to The Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. 

In September of 2012 I visited the Herstory Archives to retreive the slideshow so I could digitize it, and I did manage to digitize much of it. I also retreived a cache of slides from The Lesbian History Exploration, which I'd also taken, but had no memory of ever having, much less having donated to The Lesbian Herstory Archives. Nonetheless, there they were in a manilla envelope with the letters.   Feeling daunted by the idea of scanning so many slides, I stashed them away for a couple of years, until I recently when I was sorting through part of my office and came across the envelope and peeked in. Et, Voila.

Title card from What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear slideshow. 1975. dyke finery. ©Liza Cowan