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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Iowa City Women's Press records

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1973-1985
Creator: Iowa City Women's Press
Extent: 2.25 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0220
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Iowa City publisher and printer of lesbian and feminist books that existed from 1973 to 1985.

Access: The records are open for research.

Use: Copyright has not been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The records (donor no. 305) were donated by Sandy Pickup in 1995 and succeeding years.

Preferred Citation: Iowa City Women's Press records, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

From 1973 to 1985 the Iowa City Women's Press (ICWP) published and printed material pertinent to women's lives. Beginning with $2000 and only a few part-time volunteers, the Press expanded to six owner/workers and a much larger facility. By 1984 annual sales totaled $130,000. However, the Press was faced with economic competition from well-capitalized print shops using laser and computer technologies and producing books more cheaply than ICWP. The ICWP was forced to cease publication in 1985.

The Iowa City Women's Press records date from 1973 to 1985 and measure 2.25 linear feet. The records are arranged in five series: Administration (1977-1985), Photographs (1981-1984 and undated), Printed works published by Iowa City Women's Press (1972-1985 and undated), Printed works published by other women's presses (1978-1981), and Artifacts. 

The Administration series (1977-1985) contains minutes from the staff meetings of November 1984 to July 1985 including discussions leading up to the decision to close the Press. The financial records from 1977 to 1984 reveal the challenges facing the operation of the Press. Advertisements and publicity, correspondence, and various works of art and cartoons complete the series. Also included are posters printed for the Women's Coffee House, which was administered by the Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) of Iowa City. (See Box 9 of the WRAC records for further information.) In the minutes of the ICWP references are made to the Lesbian Alliance, which was housed by WRAC. ( See Box 10 of the WRAC records for further information.) 

The Photographs series (1981-1984 and undated), includes photographs of women working at ICWP (ca. 1981) and at a Midwest conference for women printers in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1984 and the photographs for Black Lesbians: an annotated bibliography (1981).


The bulk of the collection is devoted to printed works in Printed works published by the Iowa City Women's Press (1972-1985 and undated) and Printed works published by other women's presses (1978-1981). In addition to bound volumes, The ICWP series also includes collections of women's poetry in Brainchild 4 (1977) and Womanspirit (1984); Maize, A Lesbian Country Magazine (1983-1985); two calendars depicting women's interests and the cycles of the moon; and layouts, photographs, and text for a book, The Greasy Thumb Auto Mechanics Manual for Women, by Barb Wyatt and Julie Zolot (1976). A smaller number of bound volumes comprises the series.  Printed works published by other women's presses. 

Artifacts consist of two ICWP signs.
Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) records (IWA)

Browse by Series:
Series 1: ADMINISTRATION
Series 2: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 3: PRINTED WORKS PUBLISHED BY ICWP
Series 4: PRINTED WORKS PUBLISHED BY OTHER WOMEN'S PRESSES
Series 5: OVERSIZE

  • Series 1: ADMINISTRATION
  • Box 1:
  • Advertisements/publicity
    [shelved in map case: drawer 10]
  • Calendars: The Womens Liberation Calendar: A Yearbook for Manic Lesbians
  • Calendars: Sister Heathenspinsters Lunation Calendar, April 15 1980 to September 27 1981 - 1980-1981
    [shelved in map case: drawer 10]
  • Correspondence - 1981-1984
  • Financial records - 1977-1984
  • Meeting minutes - 1984-1985
  • Quotes, cartoons - 1977-1980
  • Posters, undated
    [shelved in map case: drawer 10]
  • Series 2: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 1:
  • Print shop - 1981
  • Midwest Women-in-Print conference - 1984
  • Miscellaneous, undated
  • Black Lesbians: an annotated bibliography - 1981
  • Series 3: PRINTED WORKS PUBLISHED BY ICWP
  • Box 2:
  • A Womens Poetry Reading, Action Studies Program, University of Iowa - 1972
  • Brainchild 4 - 1977
  • The Greasy Thumb Auto Mechanics Manual for Women: Cover - 1976
  • The Greasy Thumb Auto Mechanics Manual for Women: Introduction
  • The Greasy Thumb Auto Mechanics Manual for Women: Logo
  • The Greasy Thumb Auto Mechanics Manual for Women: Text, layout (folder 1)
  • The Greasy Thumb Auto Mechanics Manual for Women: Text, layout (folder 2)
  • The Greasy Thumb Auto Mechanics Manual for Women: Text, layout (folder 3)
  • Maize, nos. 1- 5 - 1983-1985
  • Womanspirit - 1984
  • Women Printers Newsletter - 1985
  • Box 3:
  • Aldridge, Sarah: All True Lovers - 1982
  • Aldridge, Sarah: The Nesting Place - 1982
  • Azpadu, Dodici: Goat Song - 1984
  • Azpadu, Dodici: Saturday Night in the Prime of Life - 1983
  • Brody, Michal, ed., Are We There Yet? - 1985
  • Carbrey, Anna, The Story of the itsy-bit - 1975
  • Cheney, Joyce, ed., Lesbian Land, - 1985
  • Clarke, Cheryl, Narratives - 1983
  • Costa, Carol, et. al., ed., Holding Her Own - 1982
  • Ettleson, Barbara, ed., Mothers, a photography exhibit of our own - 1978
  • Fairfield, Gail, Choice Centered Tarot - 1981
  • Box 4:
  • George, Mary Lee, What Can I Learn? - 1983
  • Kushner, Leah Pesa, Dragonchild - 1984
  • Lanning, Lee and Vernette Hart, Ripening, An Almanac of Lesbian Lore and Vision - 1981
  • Leffler, Ann, et. al., Academic Feminists and the Womens Movement - 1973
  • Linc, Deborah, Womens Wheels - 1982
  • Martin, Emil and Lucille, Lasagne - 1976
  • Miller, Dusty, Open Sesame - 1983
  • Potts, Billie, Witches Heal - 1981
  • Ressmeyer, Georgia Jo, Bernice - 1984
  • Roberts, J.R., ed., Black Lesbians - 1981
  • Scott, Claudia, Lesbian Writer - 1981
  • Schoenfielder, Lisa, ed., shadow on a tightrope - 1983
  • Sirius, Jean, And Every One of Us a Witch - 1979
  • Box 5:
  • Taylor, Valerie, Prism - 1981
  • Tengemana, Ayida, Ambrosia: A Montage of Inner Recordings - 1976
  • Tsui, Kitty, The Words of a Women who Breathes Fire - 1983
  • Van Deurs, Kady, The Notebooks That Emma Gave Me - 1978
  • Watson, Lynn, Alimony or Death of the Clock - 1981
  • Black Maria, women speak, 4:3-4 - 1984
  • Sinister WisdomVol. 20-24 - 1982-1983
  • Box 6:
  • Sinister Wisdom Vol. 25-26 - 1984-1985
  • Special issue: on being old and age - 1979
  • Spinster, a lighthearted lesbian [card] gayme, Lavender Lace - 1982
  • Series 4: PRINTED WORKS PUBLISHED BY OTHER WOMEN'S PRESSES
  • Box 6:
  • Grier, Barbara, The Lesbian in Literature, The Naiad Press - 1981
  • Grilikhes, Alexandra, on Women artists: poems, 1975-1980,Cleis Press - 1981
  • Sheen, Barbara, Shedevils, Metis Press - 1978
  • Shockley, Ann Allen, The Black and White Of It, The Naiad Press - 1980
  • Straayer, Arny Christine, Hurtin & Healin & Talkin It Over, Metis Press - 1980
  • Tanenhaus, Beverly, To Know Each Other and Be Known: Womens
  • Writing Workshops, The Print Center - 1978
  • Vivien, Renee, At the Sweet Hour of Hand in Hand, The Naiad Press - 1979
  • Vivien, Renee, A Woman Appeared to Me, The Naiad Press - 1979
  • Young, Donna, Retreat: As It Was!, The Naiad Press - 1979
  • Young, Donna, Spring Bouquet, San Francisco - 1978
  • Series 5: OVERSIZE
  • Box 6:
  • Artifacts (2 signs)