to Smith Sept. 20: Helen Gurley Brown
American author and editor Helen Gurley Brown will be celebrated
with an exhibit, film, lecture and panel discussion within
a three-hour span of time on Monday, Sept. 20, in the Sophia
Smith Collection, Alumnae Gymnasium.
The first (July 1965) and last (Feb. 1997) editions
of Cosmpolitan edited by Helen Gurley Brown.
Brown first achieved
fame for her best-selling book Sex and
the Single Girl. Later,
as editor of Cosmopolitan, she transformed a failing general
interest magazine into a top-selling read for young women
in more than 27 different countries.
On the afternoon of
Sept. 20, Smith will spotlight Brown’s impact on women in
an event titled “From Sex and the Single Girl to Cosmo, Helen Gurley Brown Defined
a Generation and Set Women Free,” beginning at 3:30 p.m. (See schedule below.)
1965 Brown was hired as editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and
began by revising the magazine's cover image, creating a
carefree, sexy “Cosmo girl.” By 1990, Cosmopolitan had
grown from sales of 800,000 to more than 2.5 million copies per issue in the
The new Cosmopolitan often generated
controversy, especially when it published a nude centerfold
of actor Burt Reynolds in 1972. The magazine, like its editor,
offered advice on how to move ahead in a career, meet men,
lose weight and be a good sexual partner. And the content
attracted readers. Not only was Cosmopolitan one of the most
widely read women's magazines in the world, it was the sixth
best-selling newsstand magazine in any category.
the decades since, Brown has received numerous awards for
journalism, including an award for editorial leadership from
the American Newspaper Woman's Club of Washington, D.C.,
in 1972; the Distinguished Achievement Award in Journalism
from Stanford University in 1977; and the New York Women
in Communications Matrix award in 1985. A year later, the
Helen Gurley Brown Research professorship was established
in her name at Northwestern University's Medill School of
Journalism, and in 1988 she was named to the Publisher's
Hall of Fame. As recently as 2000, Brown published an eighth
book, titled I'm Wild Again: Snippets
from My Life and a Few Brazen Thoughts.
Brown's papers are part of the
Sophia Smith Collection.
Helen Gurley Brown, Sept. 20, Sophia Smith Collection
3:30 p.m. Reception and exhibit.
4 p.m. Lecture by Rick Millington, professor of
English language and literature, titled “Reinventing
Womanhood: From the ‘Steel-Engraving Lady’ to ‘That
4:30 p.m. Film: Introducing Helen Gurley Brown.
5 p.m. Panel moderated by President Carol T. Christ
and including Amanda Izzo ’99, former student archivist,
who wrote her honors thesis on Brown; Kathleen Nutter ’90,
lecturer of history at Stony Brook University; Sherrill
Redmon, director of the Sophia Smith Collection; Kim
St. Clair Bodden, vice president and executive director
of Hearst Magazines International; J. Courtney Sullivan ’03,
author of Commencement.