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Off Our Backs records

 Collection 0341-MDHC

Off Our Backs was a non-profit feminist news journal by, for, and about women, published from 1970 until 2008. It was the longest continuously published surviving feminist newspaper in the United States. The paper was run by a collective where all decisions were made by consensus. Although based out of Washington, D.C., the newsjournal covered local, national, and international topics pertaining to women's, feminist, and lesbian issues and culture. The mission of Off Our Backs was "to provide news and information about women's lives and feminist activism; to educate the public about the status of women around the world; to serve as a forum for feminist ideas and theory; to be an information resource on feminist, women's, and lesbian culture; and to seek social justice and equality for women worldwide." The collection includes material from the entire history of the newspaper, but the bulk of the collection dates from 1990-2006. The collection consists of correspondence, publications, financial records, personnel records, meeting minutes, subject files, directories, reports, drawings, photographs, posters, newsclippings, electronic records, microfilm, and memorabilia.


  • 1970-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1990-2006

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

This collection is unprocessed. This means that materials are in the same state we received them and have not been reviewed for content or condition. The collection may need to be screened prior to use. Please contact us before visiting the Special Collections reading room to view this collection. A preliminary inventory is available under the Inventories/Additional Information section.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


46.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The records of off our backs cover the period from 1970-2009; the bulk of the matierlas date from 1990-2006. The collection consists of original copies of "off our backs" newsjournal and publications, microfilm, financial records, graphics, correspondence, personnel records, meeting minutes, subject files, directories, reports, drawings, photographs, posters, clippings, electronic records, and memorabilia pertaining to the history of the collective and the publication.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by Karla Mantilla in 2010 in two donations. A third donation was made by Kay Lara Schoenwetter on February 26, 2018. A fourth donation was made by Melanie Maholick on December 7, 2018.

Guide to the Off Our Backs records
Minimally Processed
Elizabeth Novara
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742