Hundred Flowers

Hundred Flowers was an underground newspaper published in Minneapolis, Minnesota from April 17, 1970 to April 4, 1972. It was produced by a communal collective, with the main instigator being antiwar activist and former Smith College drama instructor Ed Felien. The 16-page, two-color tabloid was published weekly (later biweekly) and cost 25 cents, circulating about 5000 copies. Hundred Flowers was a blend of antiwar radical activism with hippie counterculture, with special issues devoted to the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation movements and to the Black Panther Party. Founders, members of the staff collective and contributors included SDS/gay activist Brian J. Coyle (who later became Minneapolis’ first openly gay city council person), Warren Hanson (who later founded the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, and co-founded Fresh Air Community Radio aka KFAI-FM and Community Reinvestment Fund USA), Tom Utne (graphic artist & brother of Eric Utne, publisher of the Utne Reader), Richard Dworkin, Marly Rusoff (who later founded The Loft Literary Center), Ralph Wittcoff (a co-founder of the New Riverside Cafe), Rosemary Pierce, and many others. Ed Felien went on to serve on the Minneapolis City Council and to establish South Side Pride, a successful South side newspaper and news blog. For at least the first 8 months of its existence the core group lived in a staff commune. A financial breakdown published in an early issue reported that Hundred Flowers had to gross between four and five hundred dollars a week to break even, with about half the money coming from advertising and the other half coming from sales by casual street vendors, which were coordinated through three local head shops which served as distribution points. Half the money went to pay for printing and the other half paid the rent, utilities and food bills of the staff commune. After its 19th issue Hundred Flowers could no longer find a printer with the necessary web-fed press anywhere within a 150-mile radius who was willing to print the paper, and the staff were forced to go to Port Washington, Wisconsin to get the paper printed by William Schanen (‘by mid-1969, his was the only print shop between Iowa City and Kalamazoo willing to handle underground papers’), who was printing the Chicago Seed, Milwaukee Kaleidoscope and about half the underground papers in the Midwest. …”
Hundred Flowers

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