Gruber was one of the founding members of the Mattachine Society, a homophile organization. The papers contain letters, clipped
news items, draft writings and photographs.
"John" Gruber was born James Finley Gruber Jr. in Des Moines, on Aug. 21, 1928, he moved to Los Angeles in 1936 with his family,
which included three older sisters. He was an original member of the Mattachine Society, one of the earliest homophile organizations
in the United States. He served in World War II and was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1949. After earning a bachelor's
degree in English from Occidental, he became a writer and taught high school and college in Northern California, where he
moved in 1960. He was featured in a 2002 documentary, "Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay," directed by Eric Slade.
Gruber enjoyed relations with both men and women, and considered himself bisexual. His unpublished manuscript, "The Deviant:
an Illustrated Autobiography," chronicles his life across the twentieth century year by year, including references to movies,
books, songs, newspaper clippings, and images of current events, movie stars, and family photographs.