Helix (newspaper)

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Dec. 1, 1967 issue (volume 2, number 6)

The Helix was the first underground newspaper in Seattle, Washington, founded and edited by Paul Dorpat; among its writers were Tom Robbins, later known as a novelist, and Walt Crowley, who served as a cartoonist, writer, and editor.

After a series of organizational meetings held at the Free University of Seattle, the Helix first appeared on March 23, 1967. A member of both the Underground Press Syndicate and the Liberation News Service, it published a total of 125 issues (sometimes as a weekly, sometimes as a biweekly) before folding on June 11, 1970.[1] The first issue was produced by Paul Dorpat with $200 in borrowed capital, out of a rented storefront on Roosevelt Way N.E. After being turned down by the first printers they approached, they found a printer in Ken Monson, a Democratic Party activist and communications director of an International Association of Machinists local representing Boeing workers, who had acquired a printing press. 1500 copies were printed of the first issue. By the fourth biweekly issue sales had reached 11,000 copies. After the first two issues a "split-font" rainbow effect was sometimes used to print psychedelically colorful front covers; issues averaged 24 pages, with illustrations and graphics clipped from old magazines and having little to do with the adjoining copy crammed into the interior pages.[2]

After the death of the Helix several attempts were made by different groups in Seattle to start a new paper to take its place, including the Puget Sound Partisan, Sabot, the Flag, the Sound, and the Sun, but none succeeded in recapturing the spirit or the success of the Helix.[3]

Crowley and Dorpat later went on to be two of the three founders of HistoryLink, along with Crowley's wife Marie McCaffrey.[4][1]


  1. ^ a b Walt Crowley (January 1, 2000). "Helix, Seattle's first underground newspaper, debuts on March 23, 1967.". HistoryLink.org. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  2. ^ Crowley, Walt. Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (University of Washington Press, 1995), p. 63, 71.
  3. ^ Rites of Passage, p. 186.
  4. ^ Long, Priscilla (January 20, 2005, last updated September 21, 2007). "Crowley, Walt (1947-2007)". HistoryLink.org. Retrieved September 23, 2007.