Llerena B. Friend, historian, teacher, and librarian, the daughter of Everest MacDonald and Llerena Collinsworth (Perry) Friend, was born on October 19, 1903, in Dublin, Texas. She attended public schools in Vernon, Wichita Falls, and Electra before going to the University of Texas in Austin. She received her B.A. in 1924, M.A. in 1928, and Ph.D. in 1951 from that institution. Friend was a teacher at Vernon High School from 1924 to 1926 and at Wichita Falls High School from 1926 to 1944. In 1945 she became a research associate in Texas history for the Texas State Historical Association at the University of Texas. She worked on the preparation of the Handbook of Texas until 1950, when she became the founding director of the Barker Texas History Center, a position she held until September 1, 1969. In addition to her extensive work as librarian for Texas history sources, she also taught Texas history at the university. During her lifetime Friend wrote numerous articles and book reviews. Her book Sam Houston, The Great Designer was published in 1954 and received the Summerfield Roberts Award. She also edited several books, including Check List of Texas Imprints, 1861–1876 (1963), M. K. Kellogg's Texas Journal, 1872 (1967), and Talks on Texas Books by Walter Prescott Webb (1970).
In 1969 Friend retired from the University of Texas as professor emeritus. She was a member of numerous organizations, including the Ashbel Literary Society, the Philosophical Society of Texas, the Texas Institute of Letters, the Wichita County Historical Commission, and the Rolling Plains Civil War Roundtable. She served as National Chairman of Academic Standards for six years with Alpha Chi Omega and was a fellow and life member of the Texas State Historical Association and a life member of the Western History Association. In 1971 she received the Texas Library Association Award and the Texas State Historical Association's H. Bailey Carroll Award. She won the Alpha Chi Omega award of achievement in 1972. Friend moved to Wichita Falls in 1975 and was active in civic and cultural affairs. In 1976 Governor Dolph Briscoe appointed her to the Texas State Historical Records Advisory Board, and in 1987 she was nominated to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame. She donated most of her papers to the Special Collections Library at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. She was a Methodist and never married. Friend died in Wichita Falls on September 8, 1995.