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Guide to the Barbara Grier Periodical Collection, 1972-1992
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • General Note
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Title: Barbara Grier Periodical collection
    Collection number: 2130
    Collector: Grier, Barbara, 1933-2011, collector.
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 33 document boxes (13.2 linear ft.)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1980-1989
    Date (inclusive): 1972-1992
    Abstract: Barbara Grier was a well known writer, publisher, and lesbian-feminist activist. Her carefully assembled periodical collection contains a wide range of feminist and LGBT newspapers, magazines, journals, and small press publications.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Barbara Grier periodical collection (Collection 2130). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7160341 

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Provenance unknown. This collection is part of an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) and the UCLA Library.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Courtney Dean in 2013 in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Jillian Cuellar. Processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia.

    General Note

    This collection forms part of the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives Collection.


    Barbara Grier (November 4, 1933-November 10, 2011) was a well known writer, publisher, and lesbian-feminist activist. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she spent most of her life in the Midwest, splitting time between Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. An anomaly for her time, Grier came out early, in 1945 at the age of twelve, reportedly announcing the fact to her mother after researching homosexuality at her local library. At sixteen she began collecting lesbian-themed books, which she dubbed Lesbiana, a passion she maintained throughout her life. In 1967 Grier, along with Lee Stuart, published The Lesbian in Literature, an attempt to compile a bibliography of all known lesbian-themed books as well as books with lesbian characters. Two subsequent editions were published in 1975 and 1981.
    In her early years, Grier wrote for several homophile publications including ONE and Mattachine Review; however, she is most remembered for her work with The Ladder, the monthly magazine published by the Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian organization in the United States. Writing under the pseudonyms Gene Damon, Vern Niven, and Lennox Strong, Grier began contributing copy to The Ladder in 1957, and continued until 1968 when she assumed the role of editor, and then publisher, in 1970. Under her guidance, the magazine grew in size and readership, espousing increasingly radical feminist ideals, until its contentious dissolution in 1972.
    In 1973, Grier co-founded Naiad Books, which later became Naiad Press, the preeminent lesbian book publisher that advanced the careers of writers such as Katherine Forrest, Sarah Schulman, Lee Lynch, Isabelle Miller, Barbara Wilson, and Valerie Taylor. Conceived of as a movement press, Naiad is credited with opening up lesbian writing to the world, publishing over 500 books of romance, history, poetry, erotica, and science fiction, as well as reprinting canonical out-of-print lesbian works by authors such as Jane Rule, Ann Bannon, Gale Wilhelm, and Gertrude Stein. Naiad’s controversial 1985 non-fiction publication Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence was banned in Boston and resulted in numerous talk show appearances for Grier. Bella Books purchased Naiad’s book list when Grier and her partner Donna McBride retired in 2003.
    In 1992 Grier donated 14,000 books she had fastidiously assembled over the years, along with various correspondence, magazines, and ephemera, to San Francisco Public Library’s James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center. Known as a mover and shaker and a force to be reckoned with, Grier is considered to be central figure in lesbian culture. She died at the age of 1978 in Tallahassee, FL.
    “Barbara Grier.” San Francisco Public Library. Accessed February 22, 2013. http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000134701.  
    Brownworth, Victoria. “In Remembrance: Barbara Grier.” Lambda Literary. Posted November 11, 2011. http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/rem/11/11/in-remembrance-barbara-grier/  .

    Scope and Content

    The Barbara Grier Periodical Collection represents a rich assemblage of feminist and lesbian themed newspapers, magazines, journals, and small press publications. This collection was compiled by Grier and donated to the June Mazer Lesbian Archives. Spanning the years 1969 to 1992, the bulk of the collection is from the 1980s and features periodicals from large United States metropolitan areas as well as smaller towns. Several titles come from Canada, and one from England. A notable strength of the collection is the range in type of periodical- ad heavy weekly LGBT newspapers such as Pittsburgh’s Out, newsletters from organizations like Seattle’s Lesbian Resource Center, bibliographic resources including the University of Wisconsin’s Feminist Periodicals, and personal publications such as Dorothy Feola’s Women’s Network. Many issues appear to be complimentary copies mailed to Naiad Press, and some feature reviews of Naiad publications. The number of issues collected for a particular title varies.
    The collection also contains a minimal amount of other materials: Barbara Grier’s correspondence, dealing primarily with Naiad book reviews and advertising; Naiad press clippings and materials relating to the “Lesbian Nuns” controversy; a 1985 audio cassette recording with Barbara Grier; and an inventory of periodicals in the collection. It should be noted that not every publication listed in the inventory is represented in the collection.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Publications are organized alphabetically by title. Additional materials appear at the end.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    The collection contains one audio cassette that must be digitized prior to use.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Naiad Press --Archives.
    Feminism --Periodicals.
    Gays --Periodicals.
    Lesbians --Periodicals.
    Bisexuals --Periodicals.
    Transgender people --Periodicals.

    Genres and Forms of Material


    Related Material

    Barbara Grier-Naiad Press collection, 1956-1999.   San Francisco Public Library.