Grumbach, Doris.

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Doris Grumbach is a novelist, biographer, and literary critic. Her published works include a biography of Mary McCarthy, THE COMPANY SHE KEPT (1976), the novel CHAMBER MUSIC (1979), and the memoir COMING INTO THE END ZONE (1991). She has served as literary editor of THE NEW REPUBLIC and on the faculties of the College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY), American University (Washington, DC) and the Writer's Workshop of the University of Iowa. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in numerous literary magazines, newspapers, periodicals and on National Public Radio.

From the description of Doris Grumbach papers, 1938-2002. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122485836

Doris Grumbach, the novelist, biographer and literary critic was born on July 12, 1918 in New York City to Leonard William and Helen (Oppenheimer) Isaac. She spent her childhood in Manhattan. In elementary school she was an outstanding student, skipping many grades until she entered high school at age eleven. At this young age, however, she was not adequately prepared for secondary education; she lost her self- confidence, developed a stammer, and on the advice of her teachers took a year off. After reentering high school she placed little effort into her studies and spent more time in the theater than in the classroom. Despite her poor grades she won a citywide short story contest in her senior year. This caught the attention of Rudolph Kagey, a professor at Washington Square College of New York University who campaigned for her admission.

She excelled in college, majoring in philosophy and earning election to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1939 she entered the graduate program in English at Cornell University where she received a Master of Arts degree in medieval literature the following year. It was at Cornell that she met her husband, Leonard Grumbach, who was earning a doctorate in neurophysiology. The two were married on October 5, 1941 and settled in Manhattan. From 1940 to 1941 Grumbach worked for Lowe's, Inc./MGM writing subtitles for films distributed abroad. She then worked (1941-42) as a proofreader for Mademoiselle magazine, and for Architectural Forum (1942-43) in several capacities, from proofreader to associate editor. During this time her husband was drafted to fight in World War II. In 1943 Grumbach decided to join him in California, but then soon left to join the Navy as an officer in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).

After the war the Grumbachs moved around the country as Leonard pursued his career as a professor of physiology. They also started their family which eventually included four daughters, Barbara, Jane, Elizabeth, and Kathryn. The family finally settled in Albany, New York where Leonard Grumbach taught at Albany Medical College. In 1957 Grumbach also began teaching junior and senior English at the Albany Academy for Girls. In 1960 she took a position as professor of English at the College of Saint Rose where she remained for eleven years. It was during this time that Grumbach began her writing career. Her first books, The Spoil of the Flowers, and The Short Throat, The Tender Mouth, were published in 1962 and 1964, respectively.

In 1971 after raising her children, Grumbach left her husband and spent a year in Saratoga Springs, New York helping to set up the external degree program at Empire State College. She then accepted a position at The New Republic as literary editor. Moving to Washington, D.C., she worked for the magazine for two years writing a column entitled "Fine Print". When the magazine was sold she lost her job. She remained in Washington, however, and accepted a position as professor of American literature at American University. She also began a nonfiction column for The New York Times Book Review, and her column "Fine Print" was picked up by the Saturday Review . During this time Grumbach continued to write books. In 1976 she published a literary biography of Mary McCarthy entitled The Company She Kept, and in 1979 she published her first novel Chamber Music which established her reputation as a novelist. Other books followed: The Missing Person (1981), The Ladies, and The Magician's Girl (1987). During this period Grumbach also taught at the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa where she helped young writers develop their literary skills. She also provided numerous book reviews for the "Morning Edition" of National Public Radio, and the televised "McNeil-Lehrer Newshour."

In the mid-1980s Grumbach resigned her professorship at American University. She remained in Washington, however, for five more years during which time she and her partner in business and in life, Sybil Pike, opened a bookstore for used books entitled Wayward Books. In 1990 Grumbach and her partner moved their bookstore and themselves to Sargentville, Maine where Grumbach has continued to live and to write. Her more recent publications have included her memoirs, Coming Into the End Zone (1991), Extra Innings (1993), Fifty Days of Solitude (1994), and The Book of Knowledge (1995).

From the guide to the Doris Grumbach papers, 1938-2002, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Grumbach, Doris. Doris Grumbach papers, 1938-2002. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, 1932-2005 Houghton Library
referencedIn May Sarton Papers, 1846-1995, 1920-1995 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Olsen, Tillie. Papers, 1930-1990 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Grumbach, Doris. Office files of The American Poetry Review, 1974. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Focus on Women. [Show nos. 1-438]. [videorecording] / Produced in the studios of Cox Cable New York. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Jordan, June, 1936-2002. Office files : of The American Poetry Review, 1974-1980. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Doris Grumbach papers, 1938-2002 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Sage Colleges. Archives. Honorary degree recipient for 1980, Doris Grumbach. The Sage Colleges Libraries
referencedIn Jordan, June, 1936-2002. Papers, 1936-2002 (inclusive), 1954-2002 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Olsen, Tillie. Tillie Olsen papers, 1930-1990. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Cheuse, Alan. Papers of Alan Cheuse [manuscript], 1991-1992. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf White, William, 1910-1995. Papers of William White [manuscript], 1875-1987. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Focus on Women. Videotapes, 1983-1993 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Lebowitz, Martin, 1921-1993. Martin Lebowitz papers, 1929-1996. Library of Congress
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American University (Washington, D.C.). corporateBody
associatedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992. person
associatedWith Cheuse, Alan. person
associatedWith College of Saint Rose (Albany, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Gurganus, Allan, 1947-. person
associatedWith Iowa Writers' Workshop. corporateBody
associatedWith Jordan, June, 1936-2002. person
correspondedWith Lebowitz, Martin, 1921-1993. person
associatedWith MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, N.H.). corporateBody
associatedWith McCarthy, Mary, 1912-1989. person
associatedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith Olsen, Tillie. person
associatedWith Olsen, Tillie. person
associatedWith Sarton, May, 1912-1995. person
associatedWith White, William, 1910-1995. person
associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony) corporateBody
associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony). corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Authors, American
Authors and publishers


Birth 1918-07-12





Ark ID: w6mk6gqr

SNAC ID: 68660813