Some Significant Dates in the History of Zines

100s - Use of codex (leaf-form of papyrus book) comes into use

105 - Paper refined and popularized in China by Ts’ai-Lin. Invented at least two centuries earlier in China.

1041 - Printing with movable type in China

1151 - First papermill in Europe (Spain).

1403 - First book printed with movable type in Korea

1450 - Gutenberg prints first book (the Bible) with movable type in Europe.

1500s - Appearance in the British Isles of inexpensive ballad literature printed on one sheet of paper and folded twice or more to make a small pamphlet.

1690 - First papermill in what is now the US (Philadelphia).                       

1699 - Chapbooks (cheap books) became a primary source of prose, religion, folktales, poems, politics and music for the so-called lower classes in the British Isles.

American revolution pamphlets; most notable being Common Sense by Thomas Paine published in 1776

The US Constitution and Bill of Rights including the First Amendment

Pamphlets associated with western expansionism in North America

Emancipation and Civil War pamphlets

1856 - Invention of aniline purple, a synthetic dye, by William Perkins. Made possible duplication technologies of 1870s and 1880s such as the hectograph, Thomas Edison’s Electric Pen, Cyclostyle, and the Mimeograph

First perfected typewriter by Remington

1885 - First pop-up book (an anatomical study)

Late 18th/Early 19th - Women’s suffrage pamphleteering

Early 19th - Co-op ownership pamphlets

Early 19th - DIY Movement in Europe – a reaction to industrialization and Victorian bric-a-brac; sometimes referred to as the "arts and crafts movement."

1900 - Invention of rotary stencil machines

1926 - Hugo Gernsback launched Amazing Stories, the first magazine devoted exclusively to publishing original stories of scientific-based fiction. This magazine featured a special letters section where readers could discuss the scientific basis of the published stories..

1926-1930 - Science fiction associations and discussion groups formed 

The Comet published by the Science Correspondence Club believed to be the first fanzine

1930 – 1960 - mimeograph duplicating machine available

1944 - Xerography invented

1960 - IBM Selectric Typewriter (multiple typefaces)

1960s /1970s - zines characterized by a synergy between outspoken political commentary, literary experimentation, heartfelt critiques of rock and roll music, influence of drugs on visual communication, revolution in layout and design

Mid 1960s - inexpensive offset printing used to create alternative newspapers associated with the political unrest of the time, underground comics

1966 - Paul Williams – Crawdaddy (rock and roll mimeo); Mojo Navigator

UPS (Underground Press Syndicate) founded. Founding members include the Los Angeles Free Press, the East Village Other, the Berkeley Barb, San Francisco's Oracle, Detroit's Fifth Estate, Chicago's Seed, and Austin's Rag.

Artists interested in creating "artist’s books" at a high point.

Artists Richard Kostelanetz and Henry Korn publish Assembling, a compilation of artists' writings and images.

1966 - Mail art exhibit at the Whitney

1970s - artists' magazines devoted to genres such as Surrealism, Fluxus, Situationists, Neo-Dada

Mid-1970s - Punk rock zines begin to emerge to supplant mainstream music press

John Holmstrom, along with "Legs" McNeil and Ged Dunne, published the small-circulation fanzine / comix magazine Punk.

Sniffin' Glue made its appearance as the leading British punk music fanzine. Sniffin' Glue featured sloppy hand lettering, uneven typewritten interviews, and darkly reproduced pictures.

Late 1970s - innumerable punk fanzines published

Late 1970s - Birth of the DIY movement and indie music scene

1980s - copy machines and zine publishing combine, Kinko’s copy shops appear on street corners

early 1980s - Mike Gunderloy publishes mimeographed list Factsheet Five. Within a few years turns into a 124 page magazine that proceeded to consume his entire life.

1981 - Bikini Girl – "I found freedom in high heels" – inspired Summer Star, Jig Saw, Girl Germs

1990s - Riot Grrls movement with zines like Queenie, Heck, Yummi Hussi, Literal Bitch, and Conscious Clit; Mad Planet and Kikizine by Sarah Dryer are featured in Seventeen

1990s - emergence of cyberpunk zines

1990s - Zines created with desk top publishing programs, ezines distributed via the WWW, zines distributed via CD-ROMs

Zined a video documentary by Marc Moscato

Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is founded in Portland, OR

Zine Librarian Zine #1 by Greg Meins is published in Portland, Or. This zine marks the first attempt to document the creation, mission, and organization of zine libraries nationally.

1990s - Stolen Sharpie Revolution: A DIY Zine Resource by Alex Wrekk published by Microcosm

2004 - A Hundred Dollars and a T-Shirt documentary of zinesters in Portland, Oregon released

2005 - Zines and DIY Democracy exhibit at Knight Library, University of Oregon


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Duncombe, S. (1997). Notes from the underground: Zines and the politics of alternative culture. New York: Verso.

Friedman, R. S. (2002) A brief history of zines. [WWW document]. URL

Perkins, S. (2002). Approaching the 80s zine scene. [WWW document]. URL

UMI Research Collections. (2002). Pamphlets in American history. [WWW document]. URL