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   Date: 9/14/10 Bookmark and Share

Coming to Smith Sept. 20: Helen Gurley Brown

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Renowned 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.)

In 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 United States.

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.

Throughout 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.

Celebrating 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 Cosmopolitan Girl.’

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.

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