Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Barbara Grier

Barbara Grier was born on November 4, 1933 in Cincinnati, OH. Her affiliation with the Daughters of Bilitis began in 1957, when she started to subscribe to The Ladder. Shortly thereafter she began writing book reviews for the publication, then served as poetry and fiction editor from 1966-1968, when she became the editor-in-chief. In this role, Grier included news stories, essays, prose and poetry that focused on the burgeoning women’s movement. When the DOB folded in 1970, she and DOB President Rita Lapore continued to publish The Ladder until this ceased in 1972, for financial reasons.

Grier met Donna McBride, the reference librarian at the Kansas City, MO public library and Grier's eventual partner, in 1971. McBride first knew Grier as a library patron who made frequent and numerous recommendations of books of lesbian interest that she wanted the library to buy. In January 1973, Grier and McBride, started Naiad Press, the “world’s largest [and foremost and longest-lived] publisher of lesbian books” -- by lesbians, about lesbians and for lesbians. It included romance novels, histories, erotica, volumes of poetry, science fiction and self-help guides, as well as mysteries, non-fiction and classics. Prior to Naiad, “lesbian literature was primarily written by men whose protagonists generally ended up in one of two ways: they married a man or killed themselves.” Grier and McBride kept their day jobs until 1982, when Naiad became their full-time work. In 1995 Grier donated her “Lesbiana" collection to the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center of the San Francisco Public Library.” Bella Books took over when Grier closed Naiad Press in 2005. 

Grier died of cancer on November 10, 2011 in Tallahassee, FL.

Barbara Grier (n.d.) In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Grier. 

Barbara Grier Obituary (2011, November 13). Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved from http://www.legacy.com. 

Brownsworth, V. (2011, November 11). In Remembrance: Barbara Grier. Lambda Literary. Retrieved from http://www.lambdaliterary.org. 

Gallo, M.M. (2006). Different Daughters—A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Movement. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers An Imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, Inc.

Grier, B. (1987, November 27). [DOB transcript of tape]. DOB Oral History Project, Daughters of Bilitis. Herstory Archives, Brooklyn, New York.

Grier, Barbara (1933-2011). (n.d.). In glbtq’s online encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.glbtq.com/literature/grier_b.html. 

Kallmaker, K. (2011). Barbara Grier, Reflections (blog). Retrieved from http://blog.kallmaker.com/2011/11/barbara-grier-reflections.html. 

San Francisco Public Library. Barbara Grier. Retrieved from http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000134701. 

Vitello, P. (2011, November 13). Barbara Grier, Publisher of Lesbian Books, Dies at 78. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com. 

Woo, E. (2011, November 13). Barbara Grier dies at 78; co-founder of lesbian publishing house. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com.

Note that there was an error in the tape numbering, and there is no tape 6 in the collection.