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Finding Aid for the Diana Press records, 1970-1994 (Collection LSC 2135)
LSC 2135  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Title: Diana Press records
    Collection number: LSC 2135
    Creator: Diana Press.
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 6.6 linear ft. (16 document boxes, 1 half document box)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1972-1979
    Date (inclusive): 1970-1994
    Abstract: These records trace the history of Diana Press, a lesbian/feminist printing and publishing house started by Coletta Reid and Casey Czarnik in Baltimore, Maryland in 1972, and relocated to Oakland, California in 1977. Most notably, Diana published works by Rita Mae Brown and Judy Grahn, and reprinted Dr. Jeannette Foster’s pioneering Sex Variant Women in Literature. Plagued by financial troubles, a crippling incident of vandalism, and disagreements within the leadership, Diana ceased publishing in 1979. The collection contains a rich assortment of administrative materials; author and project files; manuscripts and poetry; press and distribution materials; and a sizeable amount of correspondence. Items date from 1970 to 1994, with the bulk of materials dating from 1972-1979.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Diana Press records (Collection LSC 2135). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Provenance unknown, 2012. This collection is part of an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) and the UCLA Library.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Courtney Dean in 2013 in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Jillian Cuellar.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia. 

    Biography/History

    Diana Press was a women’s print shop and feminist publishing house began by Coletta Reid and Katherine “Casey” Czarnik in Baltimore, Maryland in 1972. Originally an instant print shop, the first publishing effort took place in 1973 with Rita Mae Brown’s Songs to a Handsome Woman. Over the next three years Diana Press grew into a full service publishing house, releasing an assortment of feminist books and calendars, most notably works by Rita Mae Brown and Judy Grahn; The Lesbians Home Journal- an anthology of stories from celebrated lesbian magazine The Ladder; and a reprinting of Dr. Jeannette Foster’s pioneering Sex Variant Women in Literature.
    In 1976 Diana joined the Feminist Economic Network (F.E.N.), a skill and resource sharing organization of women’s businesses later embroiled in controversy over the purchase of a Detroit woman’s building. In March of 1977, the operation moved to Oakland, CA, merging with the Oakland Women’s Press Collective. Also at this time Diana leadership was expanded to include Laura Brown of the Oakland Feminist Women’s Health Center.
    On October 25, 1977 Diana Press was hit by a crippling act of vandalism which destroyed thousands of copies of books and damaged essential printing equipment. Losses were estimated to total as much as $100,000. The feminist community responded with letters of support, donations, and benefits, but coupled with an already shaky economic base, Diana was ultimately unable to sustain the financial impact of the incident. Works by the likes of Judy Chicago, Kathy Zozachenko, Elizabeth Gould Davis, Pat Parker, and Judy Grahn, which had been scheduled for publication, were never released.
    Diana Press faced continuing troubles following the vandalism. Leadership disagreements came to a head, and Casey Czarnik and Laura Brown left the press in the summer of 1978. A lawsuit filed by Rita Mae Brown against Diana in 1978, alleging a breach of contract related to accounting and publicity, incited controversy within the feminist media. Rumors circulated of an additional suit by Jeanette Foster, though one was never officially filed.
    In a 1979 statement by current leadership Coletta Reid and Kathy Tomyris, Diana Press announced that they were ending all publishing efforts and would regroup as a commercial feminist print shop, citing backlash from their F.E.N. affiliation, the vandalism, leadership disagreements, and the dissolution of Coletta and Casey’s long term relationship.
    Despite being plagued by misfortune and controversy, Diana Press is a notable example of a feminist alternative and challenge to the established publishing world.

    Scope and Content

    The Diana Press records span the existence of the operation throughout the 1970s, documenting its storied history through a wealth of administrative materials; author and project files; press and publicity materials; poetry and manuscripts; and a sizeable amount of correspondence. Also included in the materials are assorted newspaper clippings; catalogs and periodicals; and distribution materials and ephemera from community events and organizations. The breadth of correspondence is particularly rich, including both letters to and from Diana, and documenting everything from requests for catalogs to major disagreements with authors. A particular highlight of the collection is the assemblage of letters of support from the feminist community following the vandalism of the press in 1977. Also notable are the manuscripts which went unpublished due to lack of funding, such as Judy Chicago’s Revelations of the Goddess which exists here in draft and typeset versions. Items in the collection date from 1970-1994, with the bulk of material dating from ca. 1972-1979.
    Throughout the collection many original folder titles used the Venus symbol to designate the word “women.”

    Organization and Arrangement

    This collection has been arranged in the following series:
    • Series 1: Correspondence, 1970-1981
    • Series 2: Author and Project Files, 1972-1982
    • Series 3: Manuscripts and Poetry, 1975-1981
    • Series 4: Press and Publicity Materials, 1973-1994
    • Series 5: Administrative Records, 1970-1991
    Contents are arranged alphabetically.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Diana Press --Archives.
    Women's Press Collective --Archives.
    Publishers and publishing --United States --Archival resources.
    Feminist literature --Publishing --United States --Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    manuscripts for publication.
    correspondence.

    Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Diana Press records
    June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive at UCLA.
    June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives.
    University of California, Los Angeles. Library.

    Related Material

    Barbara Grier periodical collection (Collection 2130).   UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.
    Barbara Grier-Naiad Press collection, 1956-1999.   San Francisco Public Library.
    HerBooks Feminist Press Archive, MS 37,   Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.
    Shameless Hussy Press records, MS 92,   Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.
    Women's Press/Up Press Records, 91-23,   The Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.