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Alma Routsong

Alma Routsong (November 26, 1924 – October 4, 1996) was an American novelist best known for her lesbian fiction, published under the pen name Isabel Miller.


Alma Routsong was born in Traverse City, Michigan on November 26, 1924 to Carl and Esther Miller Routsong. Her father was a police sergeant, and her mother was a nurse. She had an older brother Richard, and a younger brother Gary. During World War II she served in the WAVES, training at the Farragut, Idaho Naval Training Center, and then worked as a hospital apprentice. She graduated from Michigan State University in 1949 with a degree in art.

Alma married Bruce Brodie in 1947 and they had four daughters; Natalie (1949), Joyce (1952), Charlotte (1954), and Louise (1958). Brodie and Routsong divorced in 1961.

Routsong's first two novels were published under her own name, with the later works under the pen name Isabel Miller, a combination of an anagram of "Lesbia" and her mother's maiden name. Between 1968 and 1971 she worked as an editor at Columbia University. From the mid-1970s until 1986 she was a proofreader for Time Magazine. In 1971 the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table created the first award for GLBT books, the Stonewall Book Award, which celebrates books of exceptional merit that relate to LGBT issues. Patience and Sarah by Routsong (pen name Isabel Miller) was the first winner. Routsong was an officer in the New York chapter of Daughters of Bilitis and she was arrested during a DOB police raid.

Routsong died in Poughkeepsie, New York on October 4, 1996, aged 71.


  • Routsong, Alma (1953). A Gradual Joy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Routsong, Alma (1959). Round Shape. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Miller, Isabel (1969). A Place for Us. New York: Bleecker Street Press. republished as Miller, Isabel (1971). Patience and Sarah. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Miller, Isabel (1986). The Love of Good Women. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press.
  • Miller, Isabel (1991). Side by Side. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press.
  • Miller, Isabel (1993). A Dooryard Full of Flowers: and Other Short Pieces. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press.
  • Miller, Isabel (1996). Laurel. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press.


  • Friends of American Writers award (1954, for A Gradual Joy)
  • Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Fellow (1957, for Round Shape)
  • American Library Association Gay Book Award (1971, for Patience and Sarah)


  • "After the G.I. Wedding," (review of A Gradual Joy), The New York Times August 23, 1953
  • "When Mother Moved In," (review of Round Shape), The New York Times September 6, 1959
  • "Their love was a thing apart" (review of Patience and Sarah), The New York Times April 23, 1972



  • Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002
  • Steve Hogan and Lee Hudson, Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998), pages 481-482.
  • Carol Hurd Green and Mary Grimley Mason (eds) "Alma Routsong", in American Women Writers, volume 5 (St James Press, 1994), pp 394–396

External links

  • 1975 Jonathan Katz interview of Routsong
  • 1990 Video interview of Alma Routsong

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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