What is a zine? Merriam-Webster defines it as a “noncommercial, often homemade or online publication, usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter.” For fans of such publications, they are so much more.
DePaul’s collection of zines began in 1994, when the university hosted the first annual Chicago Great Lakes Underground Press conference. Following the event, many speakers and participants donated samples from their collections to Special Collection and Archives, part of the DePaul Library.
With the help of a zine fan, the staff of the archives organized the collection into eight categories: art, comic, literary, music, personal, resource special interest and social issue zines.
Zines can be about anything, from art to political movements. One zine in the collection chronicles the events in a small apartment building. Some only last a few issues; others are published regularly for years.
To date, 18 zine publishers have donated portions of their collections to the archives for research and safe-keeping.
One of them is Daniel Makagon, professor and chair of communication studies in DePaul’s College of Communication. He continues to contribute to the collection.
The zine collection is a valuable resource for student learning, as illustrated in DePaul Magazine.
Housing such collections is also one of the many ways that DePaul supports the Lincoln Park community.
It also supports researchers and special populations. For example, the archives lends zines from the collection donated by Anthony Rayson, an activist who focuses on incarcerated people, to those serving time in Illinois.
Alumni are welcome to visit Special Collection and Archives, located on the third floor of the John. T. Richardson Library in Lincoln Park.