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


 


What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear: The Lesbian History Exploration,1975.

Letter from Liza Cowan to the Lesbian History Exploration collective march 22 1975 about the slideshow what the well dressed dyke will wear Dyke a Quarterly

 

 

Early in the Spring of 1975, I was preparing for my slde show, "What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear" for the upcoming Lesbian History Exploration, a small national conference to be held outside of Los Angeles. 

The Good Taste Collective was organizing the Exploration. Here is some correspondence from me, Liza, to the collective. I only saved my responses, not their inquiries.

Snapshots of Liza Cowan and Alix Dobkin 1975 Potter Hollow NY
Alix Dobkin and Liza Cowan, Spring 1976. Three Maple Farm, Schoharie County, NY


 

White Mare Archive to Lesbian Hirstory Exploration

To: Good Taste Productions

From Liza Cowan 3/22/76

Private correspondence

Page 1

Dear Good Tasters,

My slide show is coming along ok, I guess. I took about 200 pictures at the NY Women’s Music Festival, and none of them came out because I didn’t know that the shutter speed had to be at 60 for the flash to be in synch. So consequently I have lost most of my contemporary Dyke fashion slides. I took some pictures at the Lesbian Feminist Liberation/ New York Radical Feminist Lesbian Speak Out, but there was no picture taking allowed inside so I had to take them outside and didn’t get too many. We are going to Washington, D.C in 2 weeks + I’ll get more there.

I think that my first showing will be at the exploration. I wish I had about another year to finish, because I’ll be taking pictures in California + everywhere we go, and it

Page 2

will get better and better. But anyway, it’s good now, too. I will show slides of the Older Lady Dykes (Gertrude, Alice, Natalie, Romaine, Sylvia, Colette, et al) also before and after (coming out, Dykes in drag (in ladies clothes) and contemporary dyke duds. Also I will play appropriate music, and preface the whole thing with a short talk about the power of clothes.

I don’t know how long it will run. I hope it will be at least 15 minutes (I’m very upset about losing all those contemporary dyke slides.)

It will be light and amusing, fun to watch. I decided not to get into any heavy analysis and history because it’s too talkie. I think a slide show should be more fun.

I will need a screen + cassette play back machine. I have a projector.

I’m thinking of changing the name to “How We Look” or “What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear – how we look 1900-1975.

[I shaved my head yesterday]

See you soon, love, Liza Cowan


What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear: Amazons

Before there was DYKE, A Quarterly, there was COWRIE, Lesbian/feminist. It started off as the publication of a local women's group in New York City, Community of Women, COW. Although Community of Women was not strictly a Lesbian group, COWRIE quickly became a Lesbian magazine, independant of COW, taken in this direction by the editors, Liza Cowan and Carol Hardin. 

It was here that Liza Cowan's series, What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear originated. Vol. 1 #4 was the Amazon issue, with cover of Amazons and inside, the essay on Lesbian Clothing. Here it is, the original text and graphics: 

 

COWRIE LESBIANFEMINIST VOL 1 #4 FRONT COVER ©LIZA COWAN
COWRIE, Lesbian/feminist. Vol 1 #4, December 1973. Cover design ©Liza Cowan

 

 Look at Greek vase paintings in a book or at a museum, you can always spot an Amazon by the way she looks. Greek patriarchal women are very femme, they wear loose, flowing chitons and are very nice to the men who share their space on the vases. The Amazons wear bold, striking pants, tunics and weapons, and are busy killing the men.

 I spent a lot of time last week tracking down Amazon clothes. The Metropolitan Museum Clothing Institute had nothing. No hints, no leads. A curator at the American Museum of Natural History told me that Amazons never really existed. Katherine Springer of the Greek and Roman department at the Metropolitan Museum was helpful. She told me about a book called Amazons In Greek Art by Deitrich Von Bothmer, which I got at the library and had to spend an hour just figuring out how to read it.  I called her back to ask a question, which she answered, and handed the phone over to her boss, none other than Deitrich Von. B. He told me he wouldn’t do my homework for me, that I obviously wasn’t an expert at anything, etc. etc. So here I am, back where I started, with a few feminist sources and some pictures of Amazons painted by Greek men.

 It is incredible the way our heritage is denied us. I never studied about Amazons in school. My twelfth grade Ancient History textbook never even mentions them. In order to write about Amazon clothes I first have to bust my ass trying to find information about Amazons themselves, information which isn’t readily available, and what is available is mystified, obscured and held by men who don’t want to part with their precious knowledge. Information Imperialism! (There is one excellent book, Mothers and Amazons, by Helen Dinar) We should have learned about our Amazon foremothers before we learned about George Washington. We are never taught about women. Every book that mentions Amazons (excluding Dinar) says they were a mythological race of women. The concise English Dictionary calls them “ A fabulous race of women warriors, masculine women” Men cannot stand the idea that women preferred to live without them.

 The Amazons were a strong, powerful group (or groups) of women identified women who lived according to their own determination, without men. They were forced to fight for survival against a growing patriarchy. Their existence has been documented as early as 1760 BC, when Queen Euripyle captured the Amorite capital in Babylon. They lived in many different places, migrating frequently, conquering new lands. There were Amazons all around the Mediterranean area, in southern Russia, north of the Black Sea, in Asia Minor and in northern Africa. There were two major groups, the Libyan (Libya being the place we now refer to as Morocco) and the Thermodontines. The only pictures of Amazons are those on Greek Vases (and some sculptures,) usually depicting the great war between the Athenians and the Thermodontine Amazons, whose territory extended from the Saramatian Planes to the Aegean Sea (which is roughly southern Russia, the Balkan countries, Greece and Asia Minor. This is the story of that war:

 

COWRIE MAGAZINE VOL 1 #4 WHAT THE WELL DRESSED DYKE WILL WEAR ©LIZA COWAN 1973
COWRIE, Lesbian/Feminist. Vol 1 #4, What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear, ©Liza Cowan

 

In the 13th century BC, a group of Greek men (Heracles and Theseus, according to one version) sailed to Themiscyra, the Thermodon capital on the southeastern coast of the Black Sea, to steal the belt of Hippolyte, the Queen. It was a gold and crystal sword belt, one of the Scythian insignia. It symbolized virginity, which meant unmarried rather than unfucked. It was more than the belt they were trying to steal. Patriarchy was trying to conquer and dominate Matriarchal authority. Stealing the belt was a symbol of this intended domination. If Amazons surrendered their virginity, they surrendered their independence, as every Lesbian/feminist knows.

 At any rate, the Greek men fell upon the undefended city and its Queen, while the other Queen was away defending the borders with her army.

 Amazons always had two Queens, one to administer and one to lead the armies. The men stole the belt, killed the remaining townswomen, and abducted Antiope, Hippolyte’s sister. When Oriethia heard the news, she came rushing back, but the men had already left, so she led her army to invade Athens.

They besieged the Acropolis, but were not victorious. Antiope (and maybe Hippolyte) fought alongside the Greek men, and the war ended with a compromise. Oriethia died of grief and shame. Few of the remaining Amazons every reached home again. They were discouraged and almost totally defeated.

 This war is the one that is usually portrayed on the Greek vases. Some others show the Amazons, led by Penthesilea, fighting the Greeks in the Trojan War. The earliest vase paintings were done in the 7th Century BC, most were done in the 5th Century BC, eight hundred years after the Thermodontine-Athenian War. But clothing styles didn’t change as rapidly as they do now, so there’s a good chance that the Amazon clothes depicted on the vases are accurate.

 There is no one Amazon clothing style. The clothes change with place of origin, but there was much migration and communication between locations. The most striking clothes are those that come from Asia Minor, around modern Turkey, near the Amazon capital, Themiscyra. They wore an outfit that looked like a body suit covered by a tunic. The front and back pieces were oblong, sewn together on the shoulders and down the sides, with openings left for the arms. There was a single seam in the arms sewn on the undersides. These coats were usually made of leather, and sometimes wool. They wore tight fitting knit hose with bold geometric designs, checkerboards, stripes, circles, stars and zigzags. 

COWRIE LESBIAN FEMINIST VOL 1 #4 WHAT THE WELL DRESSED DYKE WILL WEAR P.2 ©LIZA COWAN
COWRIE, Lesbian/feminist. Vol 1 #4, 1973. What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear. Text and image ©Liza Cowan

 

Some sources say that the Amazons were tattooed on their arms and legs, but this is unlikely. The shirts and tunics had tight sleeves, close fitting at the wrists, and were also boldly patterned with geometric designs. They frequently wore long soft red leather boots. The toes of the boots were often curled up, indicating a northern origin. Shoes like this are usually worn in snowy, rocky climates.

 They wore a variety of hats and helmets. One popular hat was from Phrygia (150 miles due east of Lesbos.) This was a tall conical cap, knitted in one piece or made of felt. It had a broad flap which hung over the nape of the neck and two other flaps which came to the shoulders and could be tied.

 In battle the Amazons carried crescent or double crescent shaped shields, emblems of the Moon Goddess, and they frequently wore the crescent emblem on their helmets. They carried bows and arrows, darts, javelins, nets and, of course, the Labyris, double-edged axe, symbol of the matriarchy. They wore armor made of red leather, and sometimes were greaves, armor for the shin area. Some pictures show them wearing no trousers, though I doubt that any self-respecting Amazon would ride into battle without her pants. She would be too vulnerable.  Some pictures show them wearing earrings. Their hair is shown tied back, or is hidden by the helmets.

There are no pictures of Amazons alone with each other, having fun, making love, eating, sleeping, building houses, training horses, playing with the children, or doing anything else but fighting. After all, men were not allowed to hang out with the Amazons so the only way they would have been able to see them was in combat. There are no remnants of Amazon art or artifacts (that I have found, anyway.) Probably everything was destroyed.

 Amazons were our great, great, great grandmothers. The patriarchy almost defeated them, but not quite. Here we are, the North American Amazons. Long live the Amazons.

 

Bibliography

Mothers and Amazons – Helen Dinar (available in paperback) The best book about Amazons so far.

 Amazons In Greek Art – Deitrich von Bothmer. Complete collections of Amazon pictures.

 Les Guerilleres,  Monique Wittig (paperback) not specifically about Amazons but gives, I think, a sense of an Amazon Community. 

COWRIE LESBIAN FEMINIST VOL. 1 #4  WHAT THE WELL DRESSED DYKE WILL WEAR P3 ©LIZA COWAN
COWRIE, Lesbian/Feminist Vol. 1 #4, 1973. What The Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear. Amazons. Text and illustration ©Liza Cowan

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 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



 

 



 


Side Trip: Intergalactic Women's Time

Amazons Allons-y. Intergalactic Women's Time © Liza Cowan
Intergalactic Women's Time

INTERGALACTIC WOMEN'S TIME IS FOR WOMEN. Only female DNA and female biopsychic energies pass through the portals. Females of all species are welcome.

INTERGALACTIC WOMEN'S TIME is a trip to the crucible of time/space where women and females of all species may gather around the intergalactic fires to commune and brainstorm for the enrichment of the multiverse.

INTERGALACTIC WOMEN'S TIME is a flight of imagination as real as a dream, as powerful as a fairytale, as beautiful as a lullaby, and as strong as love. 

INTERGALACTIC WOMEN'S TIME is everywhere and forever: past present and future. We welcome you today, tomorrow and yesterday.