Helena Whitbread is an historian and the editor of the diaries of Anne Lister, a wealthy, independent, nineteenth century lesbian landowner.
Three decades ago Helena elected to study the journals of Anne Lister, a past occupant of the local Shibden Hall in Helena’s home town of Halifax. At that time she was completely unaware of the journals’ explosive contents.
Only gradually did the truth of Anne’s lesbian sexuality begin to reveal itself. By publishing the first volume of Anne’s journals in 1988, then entitled I Know My Own Heart, Helena Whitbread made lesbian history. Such detailed and candid expression of lesbian love and sex that took place two hundred years ago had never previously been known.
In 1993, Helena published a second volume of Anne Lister’s diaries, No Priest But Love, which boldly includes more revelations of Anne’s romantic and sexual intrigues than the first.
Helena is currently working on Anne Lister’s biography.
The lesbian world owes a great deal to Helena Whitbread for her ongoing committed study of the life and diaries of Anne Lister.