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Margaret Rooks papers

Identifier: MS 0861

Scope and Contents

The papers of Margaret Rooks (1972-) span the years 1990 to 2005, with the bulk of material dating from 1991 to 1996. The papers include Feminist Zines, General Zines, Flyers and Announcements, Correspondence, School Papers, a Book, and an Audio Cassette.

The Feminist Zines span the dates ca. 1991-1994 and are comprised of seventy-seven self-published fanzines written by young women in the United States, traded or collected by Margaret Rooks. This series includes Rooks' self-published "Quit Whining" and "Quit Chumping" (1991-1993) along with zine flats. Of note are several rare zines that were seminal to the Riot Grrrl movement, including Riot Grrrl, Bikini Kill, and Girl Germs, as well as zines from the Western Massachusetts Riot Grrrl chapter. The Riot Grrrl counterculture movement grew out of the American punk rock music scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was popularized in the early 1990s. Many of the "zinesters" went on to create bands whose music was central to the Riot Grrrl movement, such as Kathleen Hanna and Tobi Vail's "Bikini Kill" zine. Issues addressed in the zines include pacifism, vegetarianism, pro-choice, protecting women from violence, rights abuse, feminism, Riot Grrrl, body image and consciousness, music, gender inequality, mental health, sexual identity, poetry, punk music, violence against women, and race. Arranged alphabetically.

General Zines, dating from 1987-1994 with the bulk dating from 1992-1994, are comprised of fanzines principally created by young men involved in the North American punk rock movement, all collected by Margaret Rooks. Some zines were mailed to Margaret, while others she bought or traded at record stores. The zines themselves, dedicated to some type of political interest, are usually created by photocopying appropriated images and an author's own written text or type with a certain cult following or circulation. Many of the 92 zines in this series are photocopied in black and white, with mixed typed and handwritten text by the authors. Some zines are printed on newsprint, or on industrial copy paper. A small few are printed in color. The issues espoused in the zines include reproductive rights, women's rights, peace, violence against women, vegetarianism, animal rights, and Palestinian rights. Arranged alphabetically.

The Flyers and Announcements series, ca. 1992, includes alphabetically arranged posters from concerts, workshops, lectures and protests. Organizations sponsoring many of the events include Positive Force DC, Bee Hive Collective, Food Not Bombs, D.C. Space, House of Ruth, My Sisters Place. The series also includes a Riot Grrrl Convention sub series comprised of flyers, programs, and posters from the Riot Grrrl Convention in Washington, DC July 31-August 2, 1992 and a Bikini Kill concert and events at Mount Holyoke College May 1, 1992.

The Correspondence (1990-2007) is organized into two series: Riot Grrrl and Zine, and Personal. The Riot Grrrl & Zine Correspondence (1991-2001, n.d.) consists primarily of correspondence from "zinesters" and musicians in the punk rock movement to Margaret. The correspondents are mostly admirers of Margaret's zine "Quite Whining" and generally discuss issues like promoting music and counterculture. Of particular note are three letters from Guy Picciotto of Fugazi (1991) and Dischord House, as well as correspondence with Hillary Carlip, who used some of Margaret's work in her book Girl Power: Young Women Speak Out. Letters are mostly handwritten on notebook paper, graph paper, postcards, index cards, and stationery.

Personal Correspondence (1990-2007) is comprised of letters Margaret wrote to her Grandmother "Dee Dee" in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Also includes letters from Margaret's parents regarding her decision to leave Mount Holyoke, finances, and political differences. Includes letters from her younger brother, David (b. 1978) as well as letters from friends. Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

School Papers (1994-1994) includes papers submitted for grades in Women's Studies, Education, Psychology, History, Anthropology, Biology. Of note are research materials and a History paper, "Definition Versus Redefinition: The History of the Riot Grrrl Movement" (May, 1996).

The Book series includes a single title; a signed copy of Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital by Mark Anderson and Mark Jenkins (2003.)

The Audio Recording, ca. 1993 and recorded on a cassette tape, is an interview with Mike D. of the Beastie Boys by Margaret Rooks as a disc jockey for WMHC 91.5 FM, the Mount Holyoke College radio station. A transcription of this interview was published in "Quit Whining."


  • Creation: 1987-2007
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1991 - 1996

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Use of the collection is governed by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S.C.).

Biographical Note

Margaret Virtue Rooks, the eldest of three children, was born in 1972 to Corry Rooks and James Rooks, Jr. in Bethesda, MD. A graduate of Sidwell Friends School (1986-1990), Rooks entered the Mount Holyoke College Class of 1994. In 1992, she took a medical leave, returning to Washington D.C., where she was involved in the early days of the underground feminist punk rock "Riot Grrrl" movement and began to publish her zine "Quit Whining." In 1994, Rooks returned to Mount Holyoke to major in Women's Studies. Her activities as a student included establishing a Riot Grrrl community in the Pioneer Valley and working as a student disc jockey for Mount Holyoke's radio station WMHC 91.5 FM. Rooks graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1996. She is a special education teacher in Chicopee, MA and lives with her husband Jeremy Smith in Holyoke, MA.


2.29 Linear Feet (5 full Hollinger and 1 half Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials



Margaret Virtue Rooks, b. 1972; Special Education Teacher. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1996. Papers include punk rock fanzines, correspondence, flyers, student papers, a book and an audio cassette tape primarily documenting Rooks' involvement in the Riot Grrrl movement in Washington, D.C. (1992-1994) and in Western Massachusetts (1990-1991, 1994-1996) and her undergraduate studies.


This collection is organized into seven series:

  1. Feminist Zines (1991-1994)
  2. General Zines (1987-1994)
  3. Flyers & Announcements (ca. 1992)
  4. Correspondence (1990-2007)
  5. School Papers (1994-1996)
  6. Book (2003)
  7. Audio Cassette (ca. 1993)

Processing Information

Processed by Alexandra Krensky, Jennifer Gunter King, and Alicia Couch-Edwards, 2009

Margaret Rooks Papers, 1991-2005 (bulk 1991-1996)
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Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA