Archives and Special Collections
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Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids

Printable Finding Aid. Back to Browsing Version.

Collection Overview
Title:The Second Wave: A Magazine of the New Feminism records
Dates:n.d., 1971-1984
Location:71/1
Call Number:M19
Volume:0.90 cubic ft. (3 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The records of The Second Wave were donated as a part of the Women's Movement Archives, by the Cambridge-based Women's Center in November 1997. Included are the administrative files and artwork of the magazine as well as a issues of The Second Wave Magazine from 1971-1983.
Historical Abstract:The Second Wave: A Magazine for the New Feminism was produced by the Boston-based organization Female Liberation. The magazine was produced solely by women for a female readership. 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. 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.
Arrangement:Arranged in one alphabetical sequence.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • The Second Wave
  • Women's Educational Center (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Female Liberation, Inc.

  • Feminist literary criticism
  • Feminism -- Periodicals
  • Women -- Periodicals
  • Women's rights
  • Women's periodicals, American

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Processor:Finding aid prepared by Ken Risley, December 1997

Scope and Content Note

The records of The Second Wave were donated as a part of the Women's Movement Archives, by the Cambridge-based Women's Center in November 1997. The folders are arranged alphabetically, except for the artwork, which is arranged topically.

The history file (Folder 25) contains a copy of the magazine's Articles of Incorporation and historical notes on both Female Liberation and The Second Wave. This material offers background information on the parent organization and the magazine. Additional background information can be found in the newspaper clippings and reviews from the early 1970s (Folder 31). The collective meeting minutes from October 1975 through May 1984 (Folders 9-14) and the office activity log books (Folders 28, 29) document the weekly concerns and responsibilities of the staff. An instruction booklet (Folder 26) for the in-house production of a magazine compiled by the collective at The Second Wave's office in Cambridge offers a more detailed description of the staff's job titles and responsibilities (Folder 27).

A financial statement for the 1976 fiscal year and operating budget for the 1977 fiscal year (Folder 23) convey a sense of the fiscal constraints that ultimately led to the magazine's demise.

The bulk of the correspondence (Folders 15-22) is from the early 1970s. Correspondence includes letters soliciting funds through benefits and lectures (Folder 15) and donations (Folder 17), letters to public figures (Folder 21), and subscriptions (Folder 22). A letter signed by Jane Fonda (Folder 21) explains that she was too busy to come to Boston for a Female Liberation/Second Wave fund-raising event. Other correspondence can be found in the advertising (Folder 1) and submissions (Folder 33) files.

The artwork related to the magazine (Folders 2-8) is a collection of photographs, negatives, drawings, and graphics. The photographs that were used in the magazine (Folder 3) and other related pictures are grouped together. Whenever possible, credit is noted on the back of the photograph with a reference to the issue and page it appears on. There are groups of photos depicting Women's Liberation Day (Folder 4), Boston Gay Pride March, and New York's Christopher Street March (both in Folder 5, all three ca. 1971).

The index compiled by Cambridge resident Susan Steinway (Folder 38), contains an introduction and subject, author, and review indices. The index is not comprehensive, as editorials, artists, and poets are omitted. The index covers every issue except the last (volume 6, #1.5). The copies of The Second Wave (Folders 39-59) consist of four issues per volume, except for volume six which includes only two issues: vol. 6, #1 and vol. 6, #1.5 (final issue, dated June 1983). There is no copy of volume 5, #3 in the collection.

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.

Bibliography

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.
Return to Top
BoxTitleDate
1Advertisingn.d., 1972-1981
1Artwork: Graphicsn.d.
1Artwork: Photographs (6 folders)n.d., 1971
1Collective Meeting Minutes (6 folders)1975-1984
Correspondence
2Benefits/Lecturesn.d., 1971-1972
2Distributionn.d., 1971-1973
2Fund Raisingn.d., 1971-1973
2Letters to the Editorn.d., 1972-1975
2Mailing Listsn.d., 1973
2Media and Press Associationsn.d., 1971-1975
2Public Figures1971-1972
2Subscriptions1971-1979
2Financial Statements1976-1977
2Grant Information1977-1982
2Historyca. 1977
2Index1971-1981
2Instruction Bookletca. 1972
2-3Issues (21 folders)1971-1983
2Job Titles and Responsibilitiesn.d.
2Office Activity Log Book (2 folders)1974-1981
Publicity
2Flyersca. 1972
2News Clippings/Reviews1971-1982
2Purnell, Jennifer: Journalca. 1980
Submissions
2Correspondence1971-1974
2Journals (2 folders)1976-1984
2Manuscripts (2 folders)n.d., ca. 1974