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Ann Nelson Yarbourough De Armond Marchant
Anyda Marchant (1911–2006) was an attorney in the Legal Department, as well as a lesbian pulp fiction writer and publisher. Marchant was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 27, 1911, as Ann Nelson Yarbourough De Armond Marchant. She called herself ‘Anyda’, using her initials. At the age of six she and her family moved to Washington, D.C..
Her first published work was a short story issued by ‘The Ladder’, a magazine released by the Daughters of Bilitis (the first lesbian civil and political rights organization in the United States). Marchant co-founded the Naiad Press in 1973, together with Barbara Grier, Donna McBride and her lover Muriel Inez Crawford. Naiad Press was named in allusion to the figures from Greek mythology. ‘Naiads’ were beautiful water nymphs and Naiad Press would ‘allow lesbian feminist writers' words to flow’. It was founded in part to provide a venue for the novel ‘The Latecomer’ which Marchant wrote under the pen name Sarah Aldridge. At the time Marchant believed that no mainstream press would have published it. The novel, however, was such a success that it not only spawned many more Sarah Aldridge titles, but also helped support Naiad Press's other titles and helped further the popularity of lesbian romance novels in general.
Naiad Press went on to be arguably the most successful lesbian publishing house in both the U.S. and Europe throughout the 1970s-1990s, ultimately publishing 11 Sarah Aldridge novels, and a myriad of books by some of the best-known lesbian authors in the world. Marchant was proud of the publishing company for its role as an incubator for lesbian writers who otherwise might never have been published. In 1995 Marchant withdrew from Naiad Press to start A&M Books together with Crawford, here Aldridge's later books where published.
'The Latecomer' was published in a time when lesbian pulp fiction required that the protagonist had to be punished in some way - either killed or commit suicide or suffer some other terrible fate; serving as cautionary tales to women. The Sarah Aldridge-novels were refreshingly different; they had happy endings, strong feminist characters, and were set in a world where long-term lesbian relationships were possible.
Beginning with ‘The Latecomer’ in 1974 and ending 14 books later with ‘O, Mistress Mine’ in 2003, Aldridge's romance novels make a case for lesbian equality, subtly in the early titles and more fervently toward the end of the series. They feature lesbian doctors, attorneys, professors, and other independent women.
Aldridge died at her home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on January 11, 2006. She was 94.
See also Barbara Grier.
'Marchant, Anyda (1911-2006) and Muriel Inez Crawford', glbtq, retrieved 11 October 2014
'The A&M Books Story...', A&M Books, retrieved 11 October 2014
'Sarah Aldridge', Wikipedia, retrieved 11 October 2014
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