Ed Felien and Warren Hanson, two of the co-founders of Hundred Flower newspaperBY ED FELIEN

When I got back to Minneapolis I heard about some people around the University who were thinking about starting a newspaper. I met with some of them. They were much younger than me. One of them, though, had actual experience working on a newspaper in college. This was invaluable because I had no idea how it worked.  Dickie Dworkin became the managing editor, and I was sort of the de facto publisher because I put up the money and sold ads.  We needed an art director so Dickie and I convinced Warren Hanson to drop out of college at Augsburg and join us. Editorial decisions were made by committee. We had a meeting every Monday where we analyzed the last issue and talked about what would be in the next one.
I bought a house in the Powderhorn area of South Minneapolis, and we all moved in and set up a layout table in the basement. We would type copy on an IBM selectric typewriter (selectric because we had a choice of three fonts), cut out the copy and wax the back of it and lay it out on sheets. We used press on lettering for headlines. We would put all the layout sheets in a box and take them to a printer who would shoot a photograph of the pages and shoot a photograph of the photographs we had to fit in the holes we’d left for them. We figured out the sizes of the photographs by using a reduction wheel (what I called “The Magic Wheel”). By today’s standards for desktop publishing, we were very crude and amateurish, but considering that photo-offset printing was fairly new—many papers were still using linotype machines and lithography—we were actually cutting edge in 1970. We sold the paper for 25 cents. We let street dealers and head shops keep 10 cents for every paper they sold and we got 15 cents. It was almost enough to cover costs. And we were able to sell some ads. We printed 5,000 copies each week.
Before our first issue, we all went out to Georgeville for a weekend to talk about the paper. We hadn’t settled on a title for it. I said I wanted to call it Red Star Express. They all thought that was terrible. Then I suggested Hundred Flowers with the slogan under the masthead: “Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom, Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend.” They thought that was great. It sounded counter-cultural enough to satisfy flower children, and it was Maoist enough to satisfy me.
We agreed there would always be something counter-cultural in the paper. There would be at least two or three music reviews. We would try to be as local as we could be, and our politics would be heavy. My favorite type font for headlines was Cooper Black Italic, which I called “People’s Heavy.”
One of our first issues was our North Country issue where we called for secession.  In the center we published an update on the Declaration of Independence in which we talked about how the Vietnam War was illegal and unconstitutional and how it was no longer possible to reason with such tyranny. We argued that Minnesota and parts of North Dakota (the watershed areas of the Mississippi, Minnesota and Red River Valley Rivers) should unite with parts of Canada and form a new North Country. The North Country map was our cover illustration.
The lead story on page 3 was an analysis by Keith and me of the Minnesota 8.  Up to that point, Minnesota 8 referred to the eight students caught trying to destroy draft records. We wanted to indict the eight interlocking capitalists that ran Minnesota because they were the real criminals. Binger and Keating of Honeywell were connected to the Daytons and the banking corporations and to 3M. All the money that changed hands between these interlocking capitalists was stained with Vietnamese children’s blood from Honeywell’s anti-personnel bombs.

One Comment:

  1. Pingback: Hundred Flowers | 1960s: Days of Rage

Comments are closed