In October 1975, a two-page spread in The Rag featured the wide range of activities taking place in Austin’s women’s community: a Women’s Community Calendar, Cyclar, (image is featured above); a peer counseling center, Womenspace; a women’s printing collective, Fly By Night Printing Collective; the Women’s Health Organization; Common Woman Bookstore, and a Women’s History in Texas calendar by People’s History of Texas focused on the untold history of Texas women.
For the full article, visit the digital archive in the Independent Voices collection of Reveal Digital. Over three hundred issues — not quite the entire run — are scanned at this site. The articles are on pages 9-10 of the October 24, 1975 issue at the Independent Voices site.
The Rag article announced that the Common Woman Bookstore Collective would open its store in December 1975 at 2004 ½ Guadalupe, and had taken its name from lines by Judy Grahn, poet and member of the Women’s Press Collective, Oakland, California.
The same article described the Fly By Night Printing Collective as a one-year-old alternative press collective with four women printers, and plans to maintain regular hours at 901 West 24th Street, accepting any and all non-sexist and non-racist printing jobs. Plans to move to the Bread and Roses Center were also announced. Fly By Night was the predecessor of Red River Women’s Press (featured in a separate post on Collective Impressions).
The Women’s Community Calendar, Cyclar, was described as a collective effort to give a sense of the emerging women’s community and further develop the meaning of “women-identified women.” Photographer Robin Birdfeather and artist Rita Starpattern were credited with conception, design and direction. Cynthia Roberts and Melita Abrego of Fly By Night Press were credited with layout, publicity, and printing. The Rag article says, “In fact, this calendar has been put together by women from scratch to finish.”
Women/Space was described as a peer counseling and referral center for women in the Austin community. “As a feminist group we believe that women in this society share common pressures, problems, and feelings, and that exploring these with other women is a valuable way to expand self-awareness, get in touch with personal resources, and find alternatives to life situations. Women can find strength and support in other women.” Women/Space was described as having a three-fold thrust. Individual, non-sexist counseling – including abortion, birth control, and lesbian counseling – was available free, on a walk-in basis, every weekday evening in the Women/space room at the University Y.
The Rag article described the Women’s Health Organization, (see separate post), this way: “W.H.O. in Austin has encouraged women to use knowledge as a major weapon against fear by becoming familiar with various diseases and conditions in the vaginal area, and when professional care is necessary, to insist on better treatment from the male-dominated medical profession.”
The Women’s History in Texas calendar, described in The Rag article, was the first project of People’s History in Texas, a non-profit that has gone on to produce film documentaries on Texas history. The calendar explores women’s role in Texas history (i.e., Black women in Texas, women in the Texas labor Movement, Chicanas, pioneer women in Texas, and women in athletics), with original historical analysis, artwork and photography.