JOHN WILCOCK: First Meeting of the Underground Press Syndicate

The first meeting of editors from around the country, merged together as The Underground Press Syndicate — and the early gestation for what will become the protests at the Pentagon building. From John Wilcock, New York Years, by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall.

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Free Press – A pictorial history of underground newspapers 1965-1975

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Free Press: Underground and Alternative Publications 1965-1975

by Jean-François Bizot (editor)


2006, 264 pages, 9 x 1.1 x 13.5 inches (softcover)

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The mid-1960s were an exciting time for art, music, youth culture, society, and politics, all of which were transforming at dizzying speed. The left wing underground press of the time reflected these mind-boggling changes in their design, content, and distribution methods. Underground newspapers from around the world joined the Underground Press Syndicate, sharing articles and illustrations free of copyright restrictions.

These papers gleefully taunted the establishment by promoting recreational drugs, recreational sex, black power, gay rights, women’s liberation, anti-authoritarianism, and anti-war activism. The covers of the papers were bold, experimental, and subversive. When I was designing bOING bOING (the late 1980s/early 1990s zine) I was inspired by the precious few samples of The East Village Other, The Realist, and The Gothic Blimp Works that I could find in used bookstores. I wish I’d had a copy of Free Press back then! Almost every page of this book has a full-color photo of a cover or interior page from dozens of well-known and obscure newspapers from the era. Though much of the design is amateurish and ugly, there are examples of brilliance, too, making this a worthy reference for designers.

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