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ARNOLD, JUNE FAIRFAX DAVIS

ARNOLD, JUNE FAIRFAX DAVIS (1926–1982). June Arnold, author and publisher, was born on October 27, 1926, in Greenville, South Carolina, the daughter of Robert Cowan and Cad (Wortham) Davis. She attended Kinkaid School in Houston and Shipley in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and made her debut at the Allegro Club ball in 1947. She attended Vassar College in 1943–44 but returned to Houston and completed her B.A. at Rice Institute (now Rice University) in 1948. She earned a master's degree in literature at Rice in 1958.

By 1953 she had married Gilbert Harrington Arnold, a classmate at Rice. The couple had four children before they were divorced. After her marriage ended, June Arnold took her children and moved to New York City to pursue a writing career. She studied writing at the New School for Social Research. Although she reportedly considered her writing career as secondary, she completed four novels, the last two of which drew high praise. In 1967 her first novel, Applesauce, was published by McGraw-Hill. The book reflected the author's personal experiences, including her life in Houston and the Rice University area, but it also examined changes in personalities that occur when people marry. Following Applesauce Arnold moved to rural Vermont and founded a press, Daughters, Incorporated, with Parke Bowman. Daughters focused on publishing works that chronicled lesbian experiences, including two by Arnold: The Cook and the Carpenter, which appeared in 1973 under the pseudonym Carpenter, and Sister Gin, which came out in 1975. Arnold contributed to a number of periodicals, including the Village Voice, Houston Post, Quest, Plexus, Amazon Quarterly, and Sister Courage. She was a member of the National Organization for Women and the Texas Institute of Letters.

She was one of the organizers of the first Women in Print conference, which met in Omaha in August 1976. Drawing together women from publishing houses, magazines, newspapers, bookstores, printing companies, and distribution services, the conference has been credited with significantly advancing the development of media branches within the women's movement. In the early 1980s she returned to Houston to write a novel recreating her mother's life and time. Her efforts resulted in both a compelling story of a mother-daughter relationship and a richly detailed picture of Houston as a small southern city in the first half of the twentieth-century. Arnold died of cancer in Houston on March 11, 1982. Her manuscript was published posthumously as Baby Houston in 1987.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

June Arnold, "Feminist Presses and Feminist Politics," Quest 3 (Summer 1976). Contemporary Authors (Detroit: Gale Research, 1962-). Houston Chronicle, February 26, 1967. Houston Post, March 13, 1982. Janis Kelly, "June Arnold," Off Our Backs, April 1982. Beverly Lowry, "June," in June Arnold, Baby Houston (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1987). Jane Marcus, "Afterword," in June Arnold, Sister Gin (New York: Feminist Press, 1989). Jane Marcus, "Bringing Up Baby," Women's Review of Books 5 (October 1987). Ellen Morgan, "The Feminist Novels of Androgynous Fantasy," Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 2 (Fall 1977). New Directions for Women, May-June 1982. New York Times Book Review, July 26, 1987.

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, "ARNOLD, JUNE FAIRFAX DAVIS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/far41), accessed July 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.