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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Zine Machine Collection
MsC 885
Collection Dates: 2001-2009

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Acquisition and Processing Information: The first installment was donated to Special Collections by Jessica White in November 2008. Additional donations were made by Rachel Williams in 2009.

Photographs: None









Scope and Contents

This collection contains zines, mini-comic books and other amateur and/or independent publications, copies of which were placed in the Zine Machine in the Main Library, University of Iowa.

The nature of zines precludes a simple description of their subject matter: zines are expressions of their authors' individual creativity and worldviews, and thus the subject from zine to zine, or even within an individual zine, can vary greatly. Subjects may include music and/or other cultural activities, or any number of social and political issues. For some, the subject of the publication is, simply, the life and mind of the creator.

Zines may include drawings, essays, poetry, articles, interviews, or numerous other types of artistic and literary expression.

Biographical Note

The Zine Machine started life in 2001 as a class project for "Structure of the Handmade Book", offered by the UI Center for the Book. The Machine, originally called the "Book Drop", was a vending machine stocked with books produced by the students and bookbinding kits that they made themselves.

In the summer of 2006, the Book Drop was reborn as the "Zine Machine". Operated by UI graduate student Jessica White, the machine was repurposed to vend zines, mini-comic books and other independent publications. A portion of profits from sales of the ZM's contents benefits the UI Friends of the Library.

As of this writing, the ZM is still in operation, and is located on the 1st floor of the UI Main Library near New Acquisitions. It is currently operated by UI Art Education Professor Rachel Williams.

Historical Note

The term "zine" (derived from the word "fanzine") refers generally to an small, informal, non-professionally produced publication. By their very nature zines are hard to define exactly, but distinguishing common characteristics of zines include a small circulation (sometimes via subscription but often distributed informally among interested parties) and a raison d'etre that stresses free expression over profit.

Zines are graphic expressions of their authors' social, cultural, and political interests and concerns. They are creative outlets devoted to individual and idiosyncratic self-expression. A zine can be about pretty much anything: politics, music, sex, gender relations, sports, pop culture - the list is virtually endless.

Zines have a long and storied tradition as instruments of social and political change, as cultural relics, and as outlets for expression by underground or marginalized populations. The first zines in America arguably were the many political broadsides produced prior to and during the American Revolution, the most famous of these being Common Sense (1776) by Thomas Paine. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries authors, essayists and political activists rejecting or rejected by the mainstream media as it then existed self-published their own opinions and creative works (a famous literary example from Britain would be that of the Bronte siblings - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne - who as children wrote and "published" numerous stories of their imaginary literary worlds). Zines began to flower with the late 19th-century development of the "amateur press association" movement, in which groups of amateur printers obtained their own personal printing presses and created small magazines as products of their hobby.

Zines first really entered the cultural milieu as a specific and noticeable phenomenon in the 1930s, when the emerging science fiction fan community started creating "fanzines" as forums for their own stories and opinions on published and broadcast SF works. Fanzines became popular tools used by geographically disparate fans to communicate with one another before the emergence of the Internet in the 1990s. Zines are still primarily associated with science fiction fandom today because of their immense and ongoing popularity among fans. Special Collections has a number of collections consisting of fanzines and works of fan fiction from a number of different media properties.

The zine was taken up in the 1970s by the burgeoning punk music movement as a method of expressing its disdain for the mainstream music and social scenes. The punk movement favored a strong anti-establishment, anti-corporate music way of life, and members created zines devoted to bands and artists who shared their worldview and were overlooked by standard publications and media outlets. Zines became an additional way for punk music fans and artists to circumvent "the system". The popularity of zines was helped along during this decade by the advent of  the increasing availability of cheap photocopying (and, starting in the 1980s, the personal computer).

Following in the footsteps of punk, members of the emerging 1990s "riot grrrl" underground feminist movement - an amorphous melding of female-driven music, concern with the complexities of female identity, and a new consciousness of institutional, social and cultural sexism - adopted zines as forums for their own forms of self-expression. Riot grrrl zines often moved beyond the music itself and concerned themselves with feminist political and social issues such as discrimination, sexual abuse, eating disorders, and concerns over body image.

Many zines are marked by stories of intensely personal experiences relating to these issues, which reinforce the traditional concept of the zine as a uniquely individual creation, a truly DIY (Do-It-Yourself) product born directly out of the author's personal vision and unmarked by editors, publishers, reviewers or any outside parties.

Zines, although to some degree superceded by the arrival of blogs, continue to thrive today as methods of personal expression in print, and as places for exploration of new social issues, including environmentalism, consumerism, and globalization. Many, however, continue to devote themselves to more "traditional" subject matter - i.e. underground music, radical politics, or science fiction and fantasy fandom.

Related Materials

ATCA Periodicals and Zines Collection. Bulk dates: 1960 - 1980. 75+ ft.
This ATCA collection brings together journals, newspapers, zines, and similar formal and informal periodicals that are art-related or have artistic merit. The range of subjects is broad and include political and cultural issues, gender and sexuality questions, as well as music, film, poetry, and religion. MsC779. (Finding Aid)

BERGUS, NICK AND LAURA. Bergus Zine Collection, 1978-2002. 13.5 ft.
Zines collected by Nick and Laura Bergus documenting avant garde and popular music in the 1980s and 1990s. MsC834. (Finding Aid)

JOHNSON, BRENT. Brent Johnson Iowa Killed Buddy Holly Small Press and Zine Shop Collection, 1990-2005. 5.5 ft.
Collection of zines and other small press publications assembled by Johnson, an Iowa City native who operated the Iowa Killed Buddy Holly Small Press and Zine Shop in Iowa City. MsC 319. (Finding Aid)

PUBLIC SPACE ONE. Public Space ONE Zine Collection, 1977-2008. 2.2. ft.
Collection of zines donated by Iowa City-based art and performance venue Public Space ONE. Many zines relate to anarchist or radical politics, and many zines are from Iowa City-area authors. MsC370. (Finding Aid)

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS. Special Collections Floating Zine Collection, 1998-2010. 1.0 ft
Collection of assorted zines not tied to any particular donor or other collection. MsC331. (Finding Aid)

STEWART, SEAN. Sean Stewart Zine Collection, 1986-2009. 1.0 ft.
Collection of zines dealing with a wide variety of subjects, themes, and creative styles, collected by a Baltimore-based zine writer, editor and reviewer. MsC 353. (Finding Aid)

WOLFE, SARAH AND JEN. Sarah and Jen Wolfe Collection of Riot Grrrl and Underground Music Zines, 1991-1998, 2003. 6 ft. Collection of amateur publications arising primarily from the feminist riot grrrl movement of the 1990s, together with numerous zines documenting various independent/underground music scenes. MsC 878. (Finding Aid)

Box Contents List

Box 1

3:33 A.M. (2005)
           [Jessica White, auth.]

An Architecture-Anarchitecture

Art School Chronicles Years 1 - 3 (2005-2007)
           [Jessica White, auth.]

Brain Food #12 (n.d.)
           [Mike Toft, auth.]

Candy Box: An Adventure in Sweets from the U.K. (2009)
           [Chantel G., auth.]

Choose Your Own Moral Code: A Coloring Book (2006)
           [Jessica White, auth.]

Chord Easy, 5th edition (2004?)
           [Lisa Ahne, auth.]

Cryptozoa (2006)
           [Daniel Joshua Nagelberg, auth.]

Dingbat #1 (Summer 2007)
           [Heroes and Criminals Press, pub.]

Earthwards: The Undergraduate Literary Review #28 (2008)
           [University of Iowa, pub.]

Ethel Spunkmeyer's Little Book of Instructions #1 - 3 (2004-2005)
           [Jessica White, auth.]

Forest for the Trees (n.d.)
           [Zebulun, auth.]

Hilltop Erratum (Winter 2003/2004)
           [Haggard and Halloo, auth.]

hisWorld/herWorld #8 - 9 (2008)
           [Swashbuckler and Jellyfish, auth.]

How to Make A Great Tasting Cup of Coffee Using a Cafetierre

[Bea Drysdale, auth.[

Izzy Challenge #2 (October 2004)
           [B. Winter, auth.]

Jelly Cake: Bittersweet (2009)
           [Ben Castle, auth.]

Knotanotaknotanot. . .

Life in Tears (n.d.)
           [Zebulun, auth.]

The Life and Times of an Ex-Rabbit (2006)
           [Jessica White, auth.]

Lucky Creature Attacks! #2 (2006)
           [Lucky Creature, auth.]

Lucky Creature Attacks! #2 (Play!) (2007)
           [Lucky Creature, auth.]

Man Falling Backwards Down Stairs (2001)
           [Daniel Joshua Nagelberg, auth.]

Node Pajomo #1 (spring 2009)

The Non-Adventures of Trenchcoat and Kim #1 (August 2006)
           [Matt Chicorel, auth.]

Nova Feedback #7 - 8 (2008)
           [The Magic Plastic Cassette Factory, auth.]

Off-Line #27 (Winter 2004)
           [Claire E. Cocco and Vincent J. Romano, auth.]


[T. E. Winningham III, auth.]

Outta Control #2 (2006)
           [Christina McClelland, auth.]

Pajomo #2 (2008?)

Platypus (n.d.)
           [Possibility Space, auth.]

Proof I Exist #6 (March 2005)

Box 2

Sexual Violence Isn't Only On The Streets - Ask Before You Touch Me (n.d.)
           [UI Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, auth.]

Show Me The Money! (Spring/Summer 2009)
           [Tony Hunnicutt, auth.]

Spaghetti the Cat Only Wants To Go Outside

The Summer of It Never Existed. It Already Happened (2006)
           [Christina McClelland, auth.]

UAY Zine (June 2007)

Unspoken (n.d.)
          [Shawn Scott Smith, auth.]

Uptown Girl #39 - 43, #45 - 46 (2001, 2003)
          [Bob Lapski, auth.]

Uptown Girl #52 - 59 (2003)
          [Bob Lapski, auth.]

Zine Machine Flyers (n.d.)

Zine World #26 - 27 (Summer 2008-Winter 2009)

No title