Alma Routsong was born in Michigan in 1924. She served in the WAVES (the U.S. Naval Women’s Reserves) during WWII and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in art. She moved to New York City in the 1960s and became involved in the gay and lesbian activist community. She became well known for her novels involving lesbian themes. She began to use the pen name of Isabel Miller, which is a combination of the anagram “Lesbia” and her mother’s maiden name. Between 1968 and 1971 she worked as an editor at Columbia University, and from the mid-1970s until 1986 she was a proofreader for Time Magazine.
Routsong was arrested during a police raid of the DOB, of which she was a member of the New York Chapter. She eventually moved to Poughkeepsie with her partner, where she died of ovarian cancer in 1996.