Pterodactyl ("Ptero") was an underground newspaper published in the late 1960s. Issues were priced 15¢ in/20¢ out, later 25¢ in/35¢ out. Ptero's motto was "still flying high" and was "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created."
Ptero tackled national issues (1968 Chicago Democratic Convention), campus events (Dick"The Kid" Melman being elected Homecoming Queen in October 1968), the nascent women's liberation movement, and drugs, often quite pointed and irreverant. The politics of this newspaper were decidely far left, often reporting on activities of radical organizations such as Black Panthers and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
Ptero was printed off campus at contract printers who were not always too happy about printing the content, as discussed below.
In the fall of 1969, four Grinnellians (students/alumni/friends) were arrested for selling the Nov. 11, 1969 issue of Pterodactyl in Cedar Falls. The report, "Four Ptero Venders Busted," described the bust under the Iowa's obscenity statute, listed the names of those busted, and described the Ptero content that was alleged to be obscene. That description proved too graphic and two words were redacted by the printer as shown on the S&B wiki page. The S&B was in high dudgeon and Michael J. Brandon's editorial described in detail his discussions with the printer over the incident. The Ptero issue itself contained
• several articles related to marijuana.
• reported on a student protest against the College administration's "...effort to stamp out drug usage on the Grinnell campus..." under the headline "Deans' Office Sucks Shit".
• Recounted the “homecoming disruptions,” that included theatrics, a display of the Viet-Cong flag during the national anthem, speeches by women condemning the concept of Homecoming Queen, and the OB-Squad’s cheers.
• Bob Hodierne’s photos from Vietnam.
• A 3 page “Part II” interview with Jerry Rubin from his visit to Grinnell earlier that fall.
• Book and record reviews.
• A sexually explicit short story by Pristine Pureheart.
• A page on masturbation
• A full page mock Playboy advertisement entitled "What Kind of Man Reads Playboy?" explicitly showing a crazed Grinnell student masturbating.
There was also a discussion of internal Ptero staff strife over editorial policy; whether editorial policy should be set by majority vote or "total freedom of the press for individuals. the latter option was accepted.
Also: "Other PTERO news.......we went through three more printers to get this one printed, which makes for a grand total of NINE printers since PTERO started. Moral of the story: The only person who has freedom of the press is the one that owns one! FUCK FUCK FUCK."
Turbulent times, indeed.