Michael Grumley papers
Scope and Contents
The Michael Grumley Papers primarily contain his writings and supporting research material, with a small amount of personal correspondence and personal papers. More than half of the collection consists of his creative writings and drawings, spanning his college years through his career as a freelance author, many of which were not published during his lifetime. In addition to his one novel and his four books on the topics of Atlantis, Sasquatch, sadomasochism, and night workers, Grumley wrote columns and criticism for periodicals such as the New York Native and the Philadelphia Gay News. His files hold research notes, contracts, drafts, tear sheets, reviews, and fan mail.
While most of Grumley's writings explored alternative legends and lifestyles, he also composed short works of whimsy for both children and adults. In addition to preparing texts, he drew illustrations for several of his own projects, such as a proposed book on tarot, and created images to accompany other writers' words; also in the collection are more than one hundred of his stylized ink drawings. Equally important are Grumley's set of daily journals and engagement calendars which provide an intimate narrative of the activities, culture, and community of an American writer fully experiencing life in New York, Rome, and London in the 1970s and 1980s, in particular a life lived in the midst of the AIDS epidemic.
- 1910 - 1988
- Majority of material found within 1963 - 1988
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The Michael Grumley Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from the Michael Grumley Estate on the Sinclair Lewis Fund, 1998.
Organized into three series: I. Correspondence and Personal Papers (1910-1988); II. Writings (1963-1987); and III. Other Papers (1971-1988).
13 Linear Feet (18 boxes)
Language of Materials
The Michael Grumley Papers primarily contain his writings and supporting research material, with a small amount of personal correspondence and personal papers. More than half of the collection consists of his creative writings and drawings, spanning his college years through his career as a freelance author, many of which were not published during his lifetime. The collection holds files on Grumley's published work, including his one novel and his four books on the topics of Atlantis, Sasquatch, sadomasochism, and night workers, in addition to his columns and criticism for periodicals such as the New York Native and the Philadelphia Gay News. The papers also include his daily journals and engagement calendars.
Michael Grumley (1941-1988)
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.
After Robert Ferro's death, all papers remaining in the rental apartment he shared with Michael Grumley were removed by Ferro's siblings; the papers were then sorted into groups of files for each author, and packed for transfer to Yale. Material related to their coauthored volume Atlantis had been sorted into Ferro's cartons, but considering the book's non-fiction nature and publisher, it was moved into Grumley's papers during processing.
- AIDS (Disease)
- American fiction -- 20th Century
- Appointment books -- United States -- New York -- 20th Century
- Atlantis (Legendary place)
- Authors, American -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Barbrook, Marguerite, 1903-
- Bimini Islands (Bahamas) -- Description and travel
- Cleaver, Diane
- Diaries -- United States -- New York -- 20th Century
- Dinsdale, Tim
- Drawings (visual works) -- 20th Century
- Ferro, Robert
- Gay men -- Fiction
- Gay men -- United States
- Gay men's writings, American
- Geographical myths
- Gibson, Morgan, 1929-
- Gordon, Robert, 1932-
- Gotfryd, Alex
- Grumley, Michael
- Holiday, F. W. (Frederick William), 1921-1979
- Illustrations -- United States -- 20th Century
- Iowa Writers' Workshop
- Italy -- Description and travel -- 20th Century
- LGBTQ resource
- Labor -- United States -- Case studies
- Labor movement -- United States -- Case studies
- Loch Ness monster
- New York World's Fair (1964-1965 New York, N.Y.)
- Primates -- Folklore
- Ross, Nancy Wilson, 1901-1986
- Turolla, Pino
- Violet Quill (Group of writers)
- Working class -- United States -- Case studies
- Guide to the Michael Grumley Papers
- by Sandra Markham
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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