GRIEST GUINEVERE LINDLEY GRIEST Guinevere L. Griest, long-time officer of the National Endowment for the Humanities, died after a short illness at INOVA Alexandria Hospital on September 14, 2016. She had resided for several years at Goodwin House, Alexandria, with her sister, Charity Jeanne Griest. Miss Griest was the daughter of Euclid E. and Marianna Griest. Born in Chicago on January 14, 1924, she was raised and lived with her sister throughout her life. Miss Griest was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University and the first woman to serve as editor of the daily newspaper, the Sun. After the war, she enrolled at the University of Chicago, where she earned a doctoral degree in English literature. Her research focused on the role of a private subscription library in shaping British literature, a project she pursued with the support of a Fulbright grant to Cambridge University. The award-winning book based on her dissertation, Mudie's Circulating Library and the Victorian Novel, was published by Indiana University Press in 1970. While finishing her Ph.D., Miss Griest taught at the Chicago Undergraduate Division of the University of Illinois. She moved to Washington, DC in the 1960s and, in 1968, joined the staff of the fledgling National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). There she was instrumental in developing a program that emulated the humanities fellowships awarded by the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. First as deputy to NEH Fellowships director James Blessing and later as director of the Division of Fellowships and Seminars, Dr. Griest was known as a stalwart supporter of the scholarship programs of the NEH. Her advocacy shone through during her spirited testimony in budget hearings conducted by the Interior Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sidney R. Yates (D-Ill.). In 1992, Dr. Griest came out of retirement to head an expanded NEH Research Division, charged with awarding grants for scholarly editions, translations, and reference works, in addition to individual research fellowships. She retired from this position in 1995. Dr. Griest was an intrepid traveler and gardener. She was a long-time member of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, and a loyal supporter of Washington National Cathedral's girls' choir. She is survived by her sister, Jeanne. A funeral service was held on September 24 at Goodwin House. Contributions in Dr. Griest's memory to either of the churches noted above or to the development office of Cornell University or the University of Chicago will be appreciated.
Published in The Washington Post on Oct. 2, 2016.