Monday, August 30, 2010
We are making plans to attend two events in Dallas to celebrate former women's page editor and peace advocate Vivian Castleberry. The Peace Institute at the University of North Texas will be named for Vivian. I am excited to see Vivian again after two years. I am working on a book about her long career.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Miami feminist Roxcy Bolton was honored on Thursday as part of the March for Equality - the 90th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. In the 1960s and 1970s, Roxcy worked to raise awareness about inequities women faced. She often did this with the help of Miami Herald women's page journalists - including Marie Anderson.
Miami's CBS News did a great job about Roxcy:
"Thursday marked an important day in the history of women's suffrage. It was the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. A feminist pioneer responsible for creating this day of tribute is Roxcy Bolton.
She is being honored by our community as mementos from her historic life are on display at Miami's public library. CBS4's Chief Investigator Michele Gillen sat down with Bolton and talked to her about her life and her status as a local and national treasure.
"There are some things that you just can't forget it, it hurts so bad. It hurts so bad," Roxcy Bolton told CBS4 Chief I-Team Investigator Michele Gillen.
Bolton's path to rescue women in their most desperate times will forever be etched in American history. She talked about rape when it was shocking to whisper about; and she didn't just talk; she founded the first rape medical treatment center in the nation here in Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital."
Here is an article that ran in the Miami Herald about the March for Equality and Roxcy Bolton.
The South Florida History Museum featured the above celebration of Roxcy on Thursday. I wish we could have been there.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
The Los Angeles Times food section ran an interesting article this week about the return of home economics this week: "The evolution of home economics programs."
The author wrote: "Home ec has not disappeared, it's changed, evolving into classes focusing on child development, nutrition, family health, food service and hospitality. It hasn't been lost as much as translated. In 1994, the name of the course in most of the country was officially changed from Home Economics to Family and Consumer Sciences, or FCS, in an effort to dispel the impression that home ec was about teaching girls how to be housewives.
More than 5 million students were enrolled in secondary FCS education programs in the 2002-03 academic year, a study found, or about 25% of all students, almost the same percentage cited in a 1959 Department of Health, Education and Welfare study.
In fact, in California, home ec is still called home ec; it's the only state in the nation that has kept the name. But whereas in the '60s and '70s, classes were composed entirely of girls and the curriculum focused on traditional homemaking, today they've evolved, says Patricia Scott, home economics teacher expert for the Los Angeles Unified School District, herself a longtime home ec teacher. "The name is still home economics; it's still around. But they're not the traditional programs; they're more specialized."
The thesis of the article is that home ec - or whatever term is popular - had value. Too often, concepts that centered on women in the home were thrown out as a statement of progress. The women's pages would be a parallel example. The sections were also eliminated because they were deemed old fashioned. Yet, both home ec and the women's pages had value.
Jeanne Voltz - the food editor at the Los Angeles Times in the 1960s - would have appreciated this article.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Yesterday was Women’s Equality Day – the 90th Anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. I took part in the UCF march honoring the day. Several female lawmakers spoke at the event.
The women’s page journalists were too young to take part in Women’s Suffrage – but legendary women’s page editor Dorothy Jurney’s mother was a suffragette and one of the first woman elected to the Indiana legislature.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tina Satterthwaite was an award-winning home furnishings editor at the Toledo Blade from the 1950s through the 1970s.
From her obituary: When she wrote about the subject, "she did it with great talent," said Mary Alice Powell, retired Blade food editor, who worked with Lawson.
"I remember her as a writer with vision, ahead of her time in furniture design," Powell said. "Besides all that, she was a really nice friend."
Satterthwaite was a five-time winner of the Dorothy Dawe Award for distinguished home furnishings reporting and editing - 1958, 1963, 1966, 1972, and 1973.
On her way to a degree from the University of Toledo, she attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University; studied humanities at the University of Toledo and took classes at the Chicago Art Institute; was in the drama program at Wellesley College, and attended summer drama school at Columbia University in New York City.
She got her start with the former Toledo Times in 1946 and joined The Blade in 1950. At The Blade, she also was home editor; coordinated special sections; wrote a column on decor, and at times wrote travel, book, and theater reviews.
I am collecting stories that Satterthwaite wrote as I explore the coverage of furnishings - one of the four Fs of the women's pages.
Monday, August 23, 2010
We spent yesterday at the beaches of Cape Canaveral. On the drive to the ocean, I edited my article about Anne Rowe Goldman, the longtime women’s page editor at both St. Petersburg newspapers. I presented a paper about her last Spring and am getting the piece ready to send off to conference proceedings. The challenge has been to edit the paper down to only 12 pages while still explaining her significance in Florida journalism.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
One of the four Fs of the women’s pages is furnishings. (Although I have found that at some newspapers, furnishings stories were found in the real estate section.) For decades, the top recognition for furnishing coverage was the Dorothy Dawe Award. Yesterday, I started looking into furnishings coverage and the award.
I learned that the award is named for a furnishings reporter at the Milwaukee Journal. (That is a photo of her above.) I found her obituary – which noted that she died at age 42 but there were no other details. I am filling out the paperwork to get her death certificate. I did discover this story about a talk that Milwaukee Journal women's page editor Aileen Ryan gave about Dawe. I published an article about Ryan in 2004.
I plan to look for trends in furnishings coverage – starting with the award winners.
I also plan to look at the work of women’s page journalists at the Milwaukee Journal. The newspaper appears to be a real leader in fashion, food and furnishing coverage.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
In my work on top 1950s and 1960s top food sections - an important element of the women's pages - I have come across a new name: Clarice Rowlands. She was the assistant women's page editor of the Milwaukee Journal. In that position, she won several Vesta Awards - the top recognition for food sections. That is one of her awards above.
I have several of her articles through Google.News but then she disappeared. One of her final articles ran on Nov. 3, 1966: Breakfast for Players or Fans.
Then, on Nov. 4, 1967, the Milwaukee Journal featured a letter to the editor about the sudden death of Clarice.
I hope to find out more about Clarice and her career. I still have not been about to track down an obituary.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I just learned that my proposal has been accepted for a Roundtable Participant at Chew on This: Food Studies in Communication, the National Communication Association (NCA) Scholars Seminar at the annual fall convention in San Francisco.
I proposed a paper on the food sections of major metropolitan newspapers in the post-World War II years and the way in which women food editors influenced culinary journalism. More specifically, the food sections of the Milwaukee Journal, Los Angeles Times and the Evansville (Indiana) Courier during the 1960s will be studied.
These newspapers were chosen because their editors were regular winners of the top award for food writing and reporting – the Vesta Award. Food sections do not have a well documented history outside of brief mentions of women’s pages.
Of the more traditional content of the section was food – a rare area where women could claim authority at the time. Some of these journalists were simply cooks for their families looking for paid work while just as many were college-educated reporters who could not find jobs in the news sections. And, a third category included college graduates of home economics programs who practiced their expertise as food writers. Regard of their path to food journalism, they made a difference in the menus of their communities.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I am in the midst of researching the career of Miami Herald Executive Editor Janet Chusmir - who began her career in the women's pages. She was the first woman in that position at the Herald.
She said that her biggest regret was approving the above Tropic magazine cover - featuring Dave Barry using his middle finger. His boss at the time was Gene Weingarten. He describes the experience below:
"Gene Weingarten: The middle finger made its debut in the late 1970s with this photograph. Papers ran it because it was profferred by the vice president of the United States. You probably haven't seen another example of The Finger unless you lived in South Florida in the late 1980s.
Miami had just gotten its basketball franchise -- The Heat -- and the following year it was announced that Orlando was going to get one, too (the Magic.) At Tropic, Tom the Butcher and I decided it would be a swell idea to start a rivalry between the two cities by sending Dave Barry up to Orlando, to do a cover story on our new NBA sister city. The story was going to be masquerading as a friendly little wet-kiss of a story, but in fact would be devastatingly cruel.
When it came time to come up with a cover idea, we all sat around, and eventually someone suggested this: An elegant looking cover with really fancy wedding-invitation type fonts that would say, "Mr. David Barry of Miami, Fla., cordially welcomes the city of Orlando into the fraternity of NBA teams." And Dave would be on the cover, dressed in a Miami Heat Uniform, and he would be spinning a basketball on one finger.
Yes, THAT finger.
We all thought this was hilarious, but impossible. All except me. I stood up and announced that I would stride right in to the office of Janet Chusmir, the executive editor of The Miami Herald, and persuade her to let us do it. There was much hooting and derision, but I did go, and I did succeed. Janet liked and trusted me, and I framed the decision in complex philosophical terms,references the structure of humor, and whatnot.
We went with that cover.
Not long afterwards, I left The Herald for The Post, and in my exit interview with Janet she told me that in her long and storied career in journalism, that was the only decision she really regretted."
Below is the original photo that Gene was referencing.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Yesterday, I interviewed former Miami Herald Executive Editor Larry Jinks about Janet Chusmir - who went on to become the first woman to head the newspaper. He was good friends with Janet and was very helpful in providing information about Janet's career and rise through newspaper management. I appreciate his time.
Janet was unique for a woman in journalism in many ways. First, she took a non-traditional career path by spending many years as a homemaker raising two children before becoming a journalist. Second, she went from a women's page editor to a successful executive editor.
I am writing a conference paper about Janet's career.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Gail Collins has a great column in the New York Times today about the upcoming anniversary of the Women's March for Equality. (It's on August 26.)
Most women's page editors had mixed feelings about demonstrations but they all believed in equality for women. The Fort Lauderdale News' women's page editor Edee Greene and her staff took a symbolic stand on August 26, 1970. In a letter to Penney-Missouri Award Director Paul Myhre, Edee mentioned that they all wore pants to work that day in support of equality.
Friday, August 13, 2010
NPR has a great article, The Feminine Mystique, Expressed In Silks And Satins, about the history of women through clothing.
The author noted, "An exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art examines how American women — and their clothing — have evolved over the years. The show, which closes Sunday, is called "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity," and it features everything from gowns to riding habits to a woolen bathing suit — clothes created between 1890 and 1940 that show the gradual emancipation of the American woman, and her rise as an international symbol of style and beauty."
Of course, much of this history could also be found in the women's sections of newspapers which documented fashion.
I am working on the history of women through the wearing of pants. It was a literal and symbolic liberation for women. I am presenting a paper on the New York Times coverage of the topic at the NCA convention in November.
I am also collecting information on Houston fashion writer Judy Lunn - who wrote the above article about pants. Her articles ran in the women's pages.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I am continuing my work on a book about Dallas women's page editor Vivian Castleberry. I recently came across the above article that Vivian wrote about her experience with cancer.
Here is what I wrote:
On April 1, 1978, Vivian learned she had uterine cancer. It was stage one when it was discovered and had a full recovery rate of 85 to 90 percent. She noted, “You can hardly beat those odds crossing Main Street in the noonday traffic. If you have got to get cancer, uterine cancer is the best kind to get; it’s the easiest to cure.” She recalled of the initial call from her doctor, “I have always wondered how I would act under this kind of critical condition. Instead of acting, I find I am numb.”
Her husband Curtis consulted experts and conducted research on the disease. Vivian focused on her feelings: “It frightened me to reduce my body to cells and organs even though I know, intellectually, I know that’s what I am.” She remained in a state of shock. Forty-eight hours after learning the news, she was back in control. She made calls and plans for her treatment. She went through radiation treatment and a painful recovery.
By April 17, she is back at work, only to learn: “They can run a newspaper very well without me.” Bouts of anger follow until she is ready for her hysterectomy on May 2. Her radiologist tells her, “You ARE going to get better.” She believes him. By the following day, she is writing in her journal: “Cancer is not something you live with all the time. There are longer and longer stretches when it doesn’t enter my head.”
More painful recovery continues as she tries to be patient. She noted, “I have battled cancer and I have won. God, hasten the day when no one will have to wage that fight.”
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I recently found this great blog on food writing: Gherkins and Tomatoes. The author makes interesting points about culinary writing and food history
In this August 10 post, she points out that the lack of respect for food writing may be tied to its origin in the women’s pages. There is a lot of truth to this concept. Too often, the things that interest women – food, fashion, furnishings – do not get the same respect as sports journalism.
It’s similar to quilts in the art world. Only in recent decades has quilts – typically created by women – been considered significant art. I hope that food, fashion, furnishings writing also eventually gains respect. I am doing my part by investigating the careers of food journalists Peggy Daum and Jeanne Voltz.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I am so pleased that Miami feminist Roxcy Bolton will be honored at the end of the month by HistoryMiami. She marched and advocated for women – often working with Miami Herald women’s page editor Marie Anderson to draw attention for social causes. Roxcy helped establish a rape crisis center and change the policy on naming hurricanes only after women. (I am still working on telling the hurricane story.) I wish I could attend the event but it is during the week.
I also just learned that Roxcy is included in the book, True Grit. I just ordered a copy. The Miami Herald ran a short piece on Roxcy’s inclusion.
It is so important that women like Roxcy are recognized. This includes the women’s page editors who did much more than reinforced tradition. These women made such a difference and laid the groundwork for the women who came next.
Here is more information about the Roxcy celebration:
Thursday, August 26
10am - 2pm Display / 11am Presentation
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirmed the right of women to vote in all public elections. Join us as we celebrate the 90th anniversary of this historic event with a special presentation and memorabilia display on the life and legacy of local activist Roxcy Bolton.
Monday, August 9, 2010
A week or so ago, the Washington Post ran this story that sounded like the studies that came out following World War II. The research - often government sponsored - was meant to counter the Rosie-the-Riveter propaganda and return women to the home.
This lead could have run decades ago: "A new study finds that babies raised by working mothers don't necessarily suffer cognitive setbacks, an encouraging finding that follows a raft of previous reports suggesting that women with infants were wiser to stay home."
It was the women's page editors (some who were mothers themselves) who provided a more nuanced message about working mothers. They were able to counter some of the messages that warned that working mothers were ruining society. The women's page editors also encouraged women to get involved outside of the home in women's clubs.
It is so sad that these media message still exist.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I have spent the afternoon going over what we found in Kathryn “Kay” Clarenbach papers at the University of Wisconsin. She saved everything – including many cartoons. The above (uncited) cartoon was one of my favorites. Much of Clarenbach's advocacy was about women's employment issues.
We made hundreds of copies - so valuable that we had to carry them on the plane. I am beginning to divide the papers into possible articles. The first I am working on will trace the 15-years of the Wisconsin Commission on the Status of Women – Clarenbach was the long-term head of the group.
The organization is important because it was used as a model for other state commissions. It is also an interesting narrative. After many successful years, Gov. Dreyfus decided to eliminate the Commission. Clarenbach battled publically with the governor. Newspaper editorials supported the Commission – not what I had expected to find. The governor did decide to end the Commission's run.
Part of this study will include examining her work with women's page editors in Milwaukee and Madison.
Today, Lance and I have been in Orlando for two years. In that time, we have gone through the papers of several Florida women’s page journalists, including Helen Muir at the University of Miami and Eleanor Hart at the South Florida History Museum. We also went through some of the Poynter papers at the University of South Florida.
I have presented papers at the Florida Conference of Historians about Florida women’s page editors Anne Rowe Goldman and Edee Greene. The next Florida women I plan to investigate are Gloria Biggs and Janet Chusmir.
There is such a rich history of Florida women journalists and so much has not been researched.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I just received an invitation from the Journal of American History to review the book, Freedom for Women: Forging the Women's Liberation Movement, 1953-1970 by Carol Giardina.
I am curious to see how Giardina addresses media coverage of the Women's Liberation Movement. Many Liberation leaders refused to speak to male journalists so it is likely that the leaders worked with women's page journalists. (On the other hand, at one point, Gloria Steinem refused to be interviewed by women's page journalists. She preferred to speak with reporters from the news side.)
Thursday, August 5, 2010
We spent this week searching through the papers of Kathryn “Kay” Clarenbach at the University of Wisconsin in Madison thanks to a grant from UCF. The papers were in the University Archives at the Steenboch Library. Her files were extensive – there was a 94-page finding guide. We made hundreds of copies.
We found some wonderful material. There were references to several women’s page editors, including Dorothy Jurney and Vivian Castleberry. There were informative letters between Kay and feminist leader Catherine East. (We went through East’s papers at Harvard University a few years ago.)
We also found the background material that we had been searching for regarding the NOW-initiated lawsuits that forced the newspapers to stop dividing their help-wanted ads into sex-segregated columns.
The first area I plan to work on is Kay’s work with the Wisconsin Commission on the Status of Women. She oversaw the group for 15 years and fought publicly with Gov. Dreyfus to keep the Commission going. She ultimately lost that battle despite newspaper editorials that supported her work.
I am hoping this material results in a few articles and a book project.