Grumley, Michael

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Michael Grumley, an author and illustrator, was born on July 6, 1941, and raised in Iowa. He received a BA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1964, followed by graduate courses at City College of the City University of New York and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, where he studied with Kurt Vonnegut. At Iowa, he met the writer Robert Ferro (1941-1988) who became his life partner and co-author; they primarily lived in New York, but spent periods of time in Rome and London. Grumley was affiliated with a literary group known as the Violet Quill, whose seven members are regarded as one of the strongest collective voices of the gay male experience in the post-Stonewall era. Grumley died in New York from AIDS-related complications on April 28, 1988 .

From the description of Michael Grumley papers, 1910-1988 (bulk 1963-1988). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702194345

The illustrator and writer Michael Grumley was born in Davenport, Iowa, on July 6, 1941, and raised in nearby Bettendorf, Iowa, with his three brothers Charles, Terry, and Timothy. He attended the University of Denver and Mexico City College before earning a BA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1964, after which he took a seasonal position with the Johnson's Wax Pavilion at the New York World's Fair. He returned to work at the fair the next summer, and when it closed in October 1965, Grumley applied to City College of the City University of New York for graduate study in literature. He enrolled at CUNY in January in 1966, but transferred in February 1967 to the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he studied writing with Kurt Vonnegut and took film courses. While at Iowa Grumley met fellow Workshop student Robert Ferro (1941-1988; MFA 1967), and by semester's end, the two had begun their life together. Known to their friends as "the Ferro-Grumleys," the couple lived primarily on New York's Upper West Side for twenty years, but also spent periods of time in Rome and London. Another favorite place was the Ferro family's oceanfront home in Sea Girt, New Jersey, where they regularly entertained friends and family.

During the early 1980s Grumley worked part-time at Endicott Booksellers, a neighborhood store, otherwise devoting much of his energy to his research and writing projects. Four of his five published books dealt with disparate topics, but all explored alternative theories and lifestyles. The first, Atlantis: the Autobiography of a Search (Doubleday, 1970), was co-written with Robert Ferro, and presented a dual first-person narrative of their trip to the Bahamas in the Ferro family's yacht. His second, also for Doubleday, was There Are Giants in the Earth (1974), a study of legends surrounding Bigfoot (Sasquatch). Grumley provided the text to accompany Ed Gallucci's photographs for Hard Corps: Studies in Leather and Sadomasochism (Dutton, 1977). His After Midnight (Scribner, 1978) profiled a group of people employed on night shifts, including workers in a zoo, hospital, baby powder factory, and on a shrimp boat. Grumley wrote reviews and essays for periodicals such as Stagebill, Philadelphia Gay News, and New York Native, where his weekly column, "Uptown," was regularly featured between 1980 and 1984. Additionally, he contributed illustrations to a number of publications such as Black Men/White Men: a Gay Anthology (Gay Sunshine Press, 1983). His final work, Life Drawing: a novel (Grove Weidenfeld, 1991) was published posthumously.

Michael Grumley and Robert Ferro were affiliated with a literary group known as the Violet Quill, whose seven members, as men writing for men, are regarded as one of the strongest collective voices of the gay male experience in the post-Stonewall era. Authors Christopher Cox, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, Edmund White, George Whitmore, Ferro, and Grumley met several times in 1979, 1980, and 1981 to read aloud from their works in progress. Also on the agenda were discussions of how they could work together to promote recognition, acceptance, and publication of gay literature beyond the boundaries of their own community. Of the VQ writers, Michael Grumley and Robert Ferro were the first to die from AIDS-related complications, both in 1988 at age 46, Grumley on April 28 and Ferro on July 11; they were followed by Whitmore in 1989 and Cox in 1990.

From the guide to the Michael Grumley papers, 1910-1988, 1963-1988, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Ferro, Robert. Robert Ferro papers, 1963-1988. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Grumley, Michael. Michael Grumley papers, 1910-1988 (bulk 1963-1988). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Robert Ferro papers, 1963-1988 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Michael Grumley papers, 1910-1988, 1963-1988 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Barbrook, Marguerite, 1903- person
associatedWith Cleaver, Diane. person
associatedWith Dinsdale, Tim. person
associatedWith Dinsdale, Tim. person
associatedWith Ferro, Robert. person
associatedWith Ferro, Robert. person
associatedWith Gibson, Morgan, 1929- person
associatedWith Gordon, Robert, 1932- person
associatedWith Gotfryd, Alex. person
associatedWith Holiday, F. W. (Frederick William), 1921-1979. person
associatedWith Iowa Writers' Workshop. corporateBody
associatedWith New York World's Fair (1964-1965) corporateBody
associatedWith Ross, Nancy Wilson, 1901-1986. person
associatedWith Turolla, Pino. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Bimini Islands (Bahamas)
Italy
United States
Bimini Islands (Bahamas)
Italy
Subject
AIDS (Disease)
Authors, American
American fiction
Atlantis
Atlantis (Legendary place)
Gay men
Gay men
Gay men
Gay men's writings, American
Geographical myths
Labor
Labor
Labor movement
Labor movement
LGBTQ resource
Loch Ness monster
Primates
Sasquatch
Violet Quill (Group of writers)
Working class
Working class
Yeti
Occupation
Activity

Person

Active 1910

Active 1988

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