Skip to main content


Photo of Marijane Meaker in 2007.

Marijane Meaker


Given that gay and lesbian lifestyles were illegal in the United States in the 1950s, many of the works are published with pseudonyms. Many male authors used women's names to appear as if the authors were lesbians. Lawrence Block went as far as joining the Daughters of Bilitis, and early lesbian rights group under his pen name Jill Emmerson. Block wrote under many names including, Sheldon Lord and Andrew Shaw. He had an arrangement with Midwood-Tower Books, whereby less experienced writers would submit works under his names, and he would receive $200.00 per title. 

Publishers often used multiple authors to pen books using “house” names. Two of March Hastings’ novels are known to be written by Sally Singer, but many other authors wrote under the Hastings name. The quality of the writing varied widely prompting Barbara Grier (writing as Gene Damian) to note, “This author [March Hastings] is remarkably uneven, having done some of the very worst tripe in the genre, and several of the better-done paperback treatments.” In some cases, authors had identities related to different genres. For example, Marijane Meeker wrote crime-related novels as Vin Packer and lesbian non-fiction as Ann Aldrich.

Equally fascinating are the ways authors chose their pseudonyms. Meaker wished to use the pseudonym Bianca Blye for her lesbian journalist persona, but her editor urged her to choose a more  "All-American" name, and so Ann Aldrich was "born". Ann Weldy’s husband prompted her to use a pen name as he did not want her lesbian novels associated with their family name. She chose the surname Bannon from a list of his sales contacts because it contained her first name.


Block, Lawrence. Afterthoughts. Open Road, 2011.
Damon, Gene, and Lee Stuart. The Lesbian in Literature: A Bibliography. San Francisco: Daughters of Bilitis, 1967.
Foote, Stephanie. "Deviant classics: Pulps and the making of lesbian print culture." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31.1 (2005): 169-190.

Keller, Yvonne. "Was It Right to Love Her Brother's Wife so Passionately?": Lesbian Pulp Novels and US Lesbian Identity, 1950-1965." American Quarterly 57.2 (2005): 385-410.

Kerr, M.E. "The Writing Life." Lambda Book Report, Vol. 7, No. 5, 1998. p. 12.