Barbara Meislin

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Barbara Meislin (known as the Purple Lady of Tiburon) is an American author, singer, philanthropist, and healer, known locally in the town of Tiburon, California for a devotion to things colored purple.


Meislin, a non-practicing Jew,[1] was born to a single mother in Newark, New Jersey, in approximately 1936.[2] She trained as a teacher at Hunter College, taught high school and adult education French and Spanish in Tiburon. After learning guitar as an adult she became an "accomplished" singer,[3][4] taught the instrument at Dominican College[disambiguation needed], had a radio show on KQED playing French music, and played local restaurants, singing in French, Hebrew, and English.[1] She recorded an album of music for healing. She divorced her husband, Jerry Meislin, on amicable terms in 1982.[1]

In October, 2009, the large purple house where she had lived for 43 years, a local landmark, burned down.[3]


She wrote and self-published a successful book, No One Can Ever Steal Your Rainbow, as well as a song by that name, on the occasion of the death of her daughter, Lori, from a rare childhood virus.[3] The title was taken from a comment by her rabbi, who was consoling her after her purple mailbox was stolen (it was later returned).[1] The book was later adapted as a ballet that premiered at the Marin Dance Theater.[4]

Public works[edit]

Meislin is also known for her charitable work. She is an ardent supporter of TRUST-Emun - Womens Interfaith Network; variously founded, and donated the money to build, a hospice library,[3] a "Purple Playground of Friendship" for both Jewish and Palestinian children in Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam near Latrun, Israel,[4][5] a "Positively Purple for the Breast Cancer" fashion show and fundraiser,[6] She also donated a gazebo for a local park[1] and each year, since 2000 she has paid for hundreds of mentors and kids involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay to go ice skating at Snoopy's Home Ice Rink in Santa Rosa, California.


Meislin is known for her love for the color purple, and related shades of violet, lavender, amethyst, lilac, mauve, magenta, and indigo.[4] Most of her possessions are a shade of purple,[3] including among other things:

  • her make-up
  • her automobiles (license plates contain the word "Purple")
  • her cell phone
  • a garden with purple flowers
  • her art collection


  1. ^ a b c d e Beth Ashley (2005-09-07). "Purple Lady hopes book is your rainbow". Marin Independent Journal. 
  2. ^ Alexandra J. Wall (2004-12-10). "Tiburon's Purple Lady pens a children's book of many colors". Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Peter Fimrite (2009-10-21). "Tiburon fire destroyed Purple Lady's home". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Jim Wood (May 2007). "The Color Purple: Tiburon's Barbara Meislin finds inspiration in a favorite hue". Marin Living. 
  5. ^ Aleza Goldsmith (2000-06-23). "Holy Land rainbow park gives 'Purple Lady' hope". Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. 
  6. ^ Suzanne Weiss (1996-11-01). "`Purple lady' works to create more `joy in a troubled world'". Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. 

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