First even issue of Better Homes and Dykes. Check the page under the image for a transcript of the text.

First issue of Better Homes and Dykes, Fall 1974. Jo Rabenold Papers [IWA0191], Iowa Women’s Archives.

From the exhibit:

Better Homes and Dykes was a newsletter published by the Lesbian Alliance from 1974 through the early 1980s and was an example of a national movement of new lesbian-feminist newsletters, newspapers, and magazines that flourished in the 1970s. By publishing this newsletter, lesbians built community and made space for queer perspectives that were often overshadowed in more mainstream feminist rhetoric. Better Homes and Dykes was an important way for Iowa City lesbians to share news, opinions, and resources.   

Newsletter transcript:



We are real proud that this, the Better Homes and Dykes, finally came together for the first issue. Who are we? We are those of your [sic] that have been working women, old maids, housewives, unmarried aunts, women’s Libbers, students, career women, et al., who came together during one afternoon in April, 1974 at the University of Iowa “Women Here and Now” conference. No longer content with being in the Shadows of the Feminist Movement, much less shadows to each other, about twenty-five dykes, lesbians, gay young women, queers came together to form the Lesbian Alliance. We saw the lesbian community of Iowa City in need of some sort of organization and found that a structure was forming out of our experiences and inexperience; two co-chairpersons and numerous committees. The two chairpersons are elected at six-month intervals by all lesbians interested, and the committees come and go as the need arises.

The purpose of our organizing isn’t to replace individual or small group goals but to establish a better system of communication between the individual and various groups. We all, regardless of class, color or creed, have a common cause and need support from one another against a society that has never been worth identifying with and need a common base that all of  us can come to for information, social activities, political activities and support. We also see the Lesbian Alliance as a place women can come to who are just coming out, who live in isolated Iowa, or who are of necessity closeted.

The Better Homes and Dykes is for all lesbians here in Iowa City and elsewhere. We will publish all that we can intact without editorial rebuttal. Any articles, experiences, poems, prose, cartoons, one-liners or ads are appreciated, so get busy!


Aug. 29  Women’s Action Theater, try-outs for “Taming of the Shrew” 7:30, Wesley House basement.
Aug. 30  Women’s dance. Unitarian Church
Sept. 2   Labor Day picnic. Kent park. 11:00. Bring a sandwich, utensils, drink and a side dish. We’ll bring the ice.
Sept. 7   Rummage Sale
Sept. 12 Alliance meeting. 7:30, Wesley House Music Room.
Sept. 13 Women’s dance. Unitarian Church
Sept. 26 Cutoff for Counseling Committee workshops. $2 registration fee. Sign up at dances or LA meetings.
Sept. 27 Women’s dance. Unitarian Church
Sept. 28 Counseling Committee Workshop #1. “Assertive Training”. 1:30-4:30, 6:30-9:00, Music Room of Wesley House.


We’re really excited about the possibilities of a women’s theater, and it’s on its way. “Taming of the Shrew” will use mime to tell the story, with full production of the last scene.

It’s going to be a lot of work for a lot of people, and we hope you’ll be with us in November for the final performance.