Academic journal article Journalism History

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

Academic journal article Journalism History

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

Article excerpt

Greenwald, Marilyn S. A Woman of the 7-unes: Journalism; Feminism and the Career of Charlotte Curds. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1999. 251 pp. $26.95.

Charlotte Curtis edited the women's section of the New York Times in the 1970s and its op-ed pages in the 1980s, but other women staffers vilified her because she did not join their successful sex discrimination suit. Feminists also objected to the slight coverage her women's section gave the movement and to her refusal to advocate use of the term Ms.

Later, as editor of the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Curtis achieved only the second echelon of power, supervising a staff of four who selected all of the outside columnists for the opinion pages. She neither wrote editorials nor edited the work of in-house columnists, and she was out-ranked by the editorial page editor.

Although Marilyn Greenwald tells us repeatedly that Curtis lived a fulfilled life and loved her work, much of the book is tragic. She never had children. She divorced early, carried on a long affair with a married man, and finally married happily, but her husband lived in Columbus, Ohio. The two maintained a commuter marriage until she became too ill to work. She did not discuss her cancer or the painful treatments, including mastectomy, with her coworkers.

The saddest aspect of the book comes in descriptions of Curtis at the seat of power. Her position gained her admission to publisher's luncheons where editorial writers interviewed famous figures in culture, politics and literature. …

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