A Woman of the Times: Journalism, Feminism, and the Career of Charlotte Curtis

Article excerpt

A Woman of the Times: Journalism, Feminism, and the Career of Charlotte Curtis. MarilynS. Greenwald. Athens,OH: Ohio University Press,1999. 251 pp. $26.95 hbk.

Punch Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times for nearly three decades, called her "the Maureen Dowd of her day." New York magazine reporter Julie Baumgold and Nan Robertson, author of The Girls in the Balcony: Women, Men and the New York Times, called her the "bride of the Times." David Halberstam has been quoted as calling her "one of the most powerful men [sic] on the paper."

Charlotte Curtis, the Ohio journalist who brought her charm, wit, good manners, and detailed-with-a-bite writing style to the New York Times' society pages in 1961, was later the first woman associate editor at the Times and the first woman whose name appeared on the newspaper's masthead. Charlotte Curtis was a groundbreaker, yet Marilyn S. Greenwald's account of this outstanding "woman of the Times" goes further than merely reporting on the historical ground and New York City streets upon which Curtis once trod. While Greenwald, a former news reporter at the Columbus CitizenJournal where Curtis began her journalistic path, traces Curtis' twenty-five-year career at the Times, she also employs newspaper accounts, archival material, interviews, and Curtis family letters and anecdotes to trace the history of Columbus, OH, the history of the New York Times and the women's movement, as well as Curbs' own familial and professional relationships through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

This is a rich and multi-layered tale. And it is in the retracing of this one woman's mercurial career path and its collision with other women at the Times who filed a classaction sex-discrimination lawsuit against the newspaper in 1974 that best represents the core of Greenwald's book. …