Printing the Revolution
Fly by Night, an entirely women-owned and operated print shop, was one of the first to break down gender barriers in grassroots publishing and center marginalized voices through their work. Every aspect of Fly by Night, from its creation to its management, was done collectively and collaboratively. Formed in 1974, the all women’s printing collective was remembered by Robin Birdfeather, a former Austin activist, as “the escape hatch for Texans with modern ideas such as women’s equality.” According to founding member, Alice Embree, the women of Fly by Night were initially attracted to the physical labor of manual print work because it was “a non-traditional skill for women.” The operators wanted to further support and develop the women’s community, while also contributing to broader civil rights movements. When asked what type of content they would print, the Collective advertised that they “accept any and all non-sexist and non-racist printing jobs.” Their biggest project was the Cyclar Women’s Calendar, which aimed to uplift the emerging women’s community. Fly by Night was also one of the only print shops in Austin that would print political posters at the time. Alice Embree recently reflected on the Collective saying: “We imagined a press run by women and we pulled it off. That was the most meaningful impact we had.”
Picture Description: Printers Missy Bondy and Suzanne Gott work on a project at Fly by Night’s headquarters.
Photo by Danny Schweers, 1975, in The Rag; Courtesy of New Journalism Project.
“My favorite part about being involved in FBN is proving that women work successfully as a collective, networking with other alternative political groups & providing a printing service to them”