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Zines at Ely Library

Plain Text Zine History

A Brief History of Zines: From the 1920s to the Present

1920s: Harlem Renaissance

  • Zines as we know them today likely got their start around this time, when a group of Black creatives started a "little magazine" called Fire!!!

1930s: Science Fiction Fanzines

  • Science fiction fans started many different fanzines, which is where the term "zine" likely originates.

1970s: Punk Subculture

  • Zines became a more popular way within the subculture to connect with others in the community, especially as copying tech grew. 

1990s: Riot Grrrl Movement

  • Emerged out of DIY punk subculture at around the same time as the third-wave US feminist movement. They used zines as consciousness-raising and organizing tools. 

Today: Not Just One Subculture

  • Zines are more widely popular than just a single subculture! Zines are a great way for folks from marginalized groups to share their thoughts, stories, and build community. 

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