Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Printable Finding Aid

Search All Finding Aids

Archival Collections

Manuscript Collections
Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids
Title:The Second Wave: A Magazine of the New Feminism records
Dates:n.d., 1971-1984
Call Number:M19

Historical Note

The Second Wave: A Magazine for the New Feminism was produced by the Boston-based organization Female Liberation. The magazine's title was taken from a Kate Millett statement that the first wave of feminism in the early twentieth century, which lost much of its force with the achievement of women's right to vote, was reborn as a second wave of feminist action in the early 1960s.

The magazine was produced solely by women for a female readership. Originally established as a vehicle for Female Liberation's political philosophy, its history is inextricably linked to that of its parent organization which worked to unite and inform women about feminist issues, mainly through publishing. In the late 1960s, the organization began publishing the Journals of Female Liberation, presenting some of the first theoretical and consciousness raising feminist articles. The Female Liberation Newsletter provided news, analysis, and feminist meeting information for nearly 1,000 women in the Boston area. Female Liberation began planning The Second Wave in 1970, and the first issue was printed in the spring of 1971. In February 1974, Female Liberation disbanded as a result of conflicts between members who belonged to the Socialist Workers Party and the majority who did not. The Second Wave was the only Female Liberation publication to continue after the parent organization dissolved.

After the Socialists left Female Liberation in 1974, The Second Wave became a free-standing publication. Its politics, apart from the general commitment to feminism, remained somewhat amorphous. The magazine staff worked as a collective, so each woman was involved in the editorial decisions, layout, business dealings, and clerical work. All staff members had equal authority, and all were given the opportunity to develop new skills, leaving room for individual talents, interests, and dislikes. The eclectic character and rapid turnover of staff helped create a diverse magazine.

The Second Wave was based on ideological conflict, which helps explain why the collective members refused to define the magazine within any feminist party context. The magazine published poetry, stories, graphics, and articles that expressed a wide range of feminist viewpoints. Through this variety of literary media women showed both the pleasure and struggle in the discovery of feminism, providing a comprehensive and intelligent look at the spectrum of ideas in the women's movement.

Originally, the production work was done outside the collective, which gradually assumed responsibility for all aspects of production, including typesetting, layout, and design by 1975. The collective published its final issue in June of 1983. Due to financial difficulties, the issue was less than half the normal size and contained an urgent plea for monetary support.

History, The Second Wave: A Magazine of the New Feminism. M19. Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections. Box 2, Folder 25.

Newman, Holly. "In Review: Magazines, The Second Wave". The Militant, October 15, 1971. M19. Box 2, Folder 31.

Lindsey, Karen. "Beyond Ms. - Boston's Feminist Magazines". The Boston Phoenix, August 27, 1974. M19. Box 2, Folder 31.