AMAZON, published from 1972 to 1984, included news, interviews, photos, reviews and other features of interest to the new wave of feminists and lesbian-feminists who became active in Milwaukee in the 1970s. It was run by women, for women. The articles and calendar of events profiled many of the exciting organizations and activities, from political protests to women's concerts, taking place at that time.
The first issue started with the following statement: "The Amazon is thought carried into action. It begins at UWM as the first attempt to meet the needs of women to communicate with each other city-wide. Although much of the information is academic and oriented to students, the thrust is definitely toward the entire community. The hope is that eventually the paper will move off the campus and become representative of Milwaukee's womens' movement."
The paper became that and much more. AMAZON was an important communications tool for the Milwaukee women's community and served as a forum for the many new ideas and issues (like coming out of the closet, woman-run health care, the Equal Rights Amendment, and self-defense) that women, including many lesbians, were working on. Throughout its history, lesbians played important roles on AMAZON's staff and as contributing writers. The paper published such noted lesbian poets as Sue Silvermarie and Karen Snider. The paper eventually had a national following.
During its 12-year run, AMAZON carried three different subtitles. The first, from 1973-75, was "A Feminist Journal." The second, from 1976-78 was "A Midwest Journal for Women." The final subtitle, from 1979-84, was "Milwaukee's Feminist Press." Archived copies of AMAZON, available at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Library and at the Wisconsin Historical Society, are excellent sources of information on the activities and accomplishments of Milwaukee's lesbian-feminist community.
In late 2013- early 2014, the full run of Amazon became available online as a digital archive. The project was undertaken by Independent Voices, a web site subtitled "An Open Access Collection of an Alternative Press". The issues scanned are from the archives of ALFA, Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance, Atlanta, GA 30309. All of the issues are available at this link. The Cover Gallery on this web site has select pages from a few issues native on this site, but each cover also has a link to the above digital issue.
Credits: much information provided by Jamakaya, Publisher/Editor of AMAZON from 1979-82.
Concept and page design by Don Schwamb. Last updated: February-2014.