Independent Eye

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The Independent Eye is an underground newspaper, founded in Yellow Springs, Ohio in February, 1968. by Alex Varonne with help from Jennifer Koster Varonne, his wife. The main purpose of the newspaper was to oppose the Vietnam war. .[1] The first four monthly issues were mimeographed pamphlets, and in June 1968 it became a broadsheet.[2] HQ moved to Cincinnati in January 1969. First a monthly, later a biweekly, eventually a monthly (following an arson fire on Labor Day, 1970), it carried News of the war and of the war resistance movement. There were also some stories about the people and events of Cincinnati, Ohio and the surrounding area.

During the heyday of the Eye, as its devotees called it, leadership duties were shared by Alex Varrone, Jennifer Varrone, Monty Sher and Ellen Bierhorst Sher. Alex was founding editor. And business manager; Monty helped with initial community organizing support. Ellen managed the make up and lay out team out of the Sher's home in Clifton, the Lloydhouse. Frankie Gerson, later the founder of Cincinnati's Free Store, was the star newspaper peddler, selling more copies than anyone else on the streets Downtown.

The paper featured cartoon art by Ted Richards, photographs of Melvin Grier (later on the staff of the Cincinnati Post) and articles by Paul Clark (later on the staff of the Cincinnati Enquirer), among others. The staff split and several members formed the Queen City Express, a newspaper that focused on younger readers.

The schism in the staff had to do with the issue of violence in the peace movement. One faction, led by Ted Richards, advocated that the paper call for "off the pigs" – in other words vilification of all law enforcement personnel. Horrified by this position, the Shers withdrew from participation in about 1971. The paper then moved to an apartment on Vine Street just south of McMillan.

Years later it was rumored that Ted Richards had been an 'agent provocateur' in the employ of the FBI or the CIA.

After the Shers and, later, the Varonnes had withdrawn, Michael Wood (brother of Northside Community leaders Maureen and Peggy Wood) took over leadership in the 70's.

Regular publication halted in 1974-1975. The Independent Eye began publication once again in 2005.

Ellen Bierhorst Sher donated a complete archive of the early years to the public library – or perhaps it was the historical society – sometime in the 1990s.


  1. ^ About this newspaper: Independent Eye, Chronicling America, Library of Congress, retrieved August 30, 2010.
  2. ^ "The Alternative Press Used to Be Considered Dangerous" by Lew Moores. CityBeat, April 7, 2004. Retrieved August 30, 2010.