Doris Grumbach Collection, 1991-1996

Volume: 1 folder

Organization/Arrangement: Included in the Reference Collection

Biographical Note: Doris Grumbach was born on July 12, 1918 in New York City. In elementary school she was an outstanding student, skipping many grades until she entered high school at eleven. As this was such a difference from elementary school, Grumbach lost self-confidence and developed a stammer, so at the advice of her teachers she took a year off. When she returned to high school she spent a lot of time in the theater, and won a citywide short story contest. The story piqued the interest of Rudolph Kagey, a professor at Washington Square College of New York University, who campaigned for her admission.

She earned a degree in philosophy from the college and in 1940 received her MA in Medieval Literature from Cornell. From the early 1940s, Grumbach was a proofreader for Mademoiselle and Architectural Forum magazines, where she also worked as an associate editor. In 1941, she married Leonard Grumbach, and shortly after, in 1943, she served in the Navy for two years as part of the WAVES.

After the war the couple moved around the country as Leonard pursued his career as professor of physiology. They also had four children: Barbara, Jane, Elizabeth, and Kathryn. The family finally settled in Albany, N.Y., and in 1957 Grumbach began teaching English at the Albany Academy for Girls. From 1960 to 1971 she was professor of English at the College of Saint Rose. Grumbach published her first novel, The Spoil of the Flowers in 1962. This was followed by The Short Throat, The Tender Mouth in 1964. In 1971, she left her husband and spent a year in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. helping to establish the external degree program at Empire State College.

When she moved to Washington D.C. she accepted a job at The New Republic, writing a column entitled "Fine Print." After the magazine was sold in 1973, she took a job at American University, while writing a nonfiction column for the New York Times Book Review and her column "Fine Print" was picked up by the Saturday Review. In the late 1970s, after a long break, Grumbach returned to fiction, writing several novels about the lives of actual people, including Marilyn Monroe and Sylvia Plath – The Missing Person (1981) and The Magician’s Girl (1987), respectively.

During this time she also taught at the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa and provided book reviews for the Morning Edition of National Public Radio, and the televised McNeil-Lehrer Newshour. In the mid-1980s Grumbach resigned from American University and with her partner, Sybil Pike, opened a used bookstore called Wayward Books. In 1990 they moved the bookstore and themselves to Sargentville, Maine, where Grumbach has continued to live and write. Her most recent work includes Coming Into the End Zone (1991), Extra Innings (1993), Fifty Days of Solitude (1994), and The Book of Knowledge (1995).

Description: This single folder collection contains photocopies of interviews conducted with the author since her relocation to Maine in 1991 and are related to her subsequent publications which are reviewed in the interviews. Maine Women Writers Collection contains a complete collection of her publications.