September 3, 2013

Trailblazer for women journalists dies in Maine at 74

Judith Glassman Daniels, the first woman editor of Life magazine, was a mentor to many and added serious content to publications for women.

By Randy Billings
Staff Writer

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Daniels was passionate about advocating, creating opportunities and choices for women. She advocated for Planned Parenthood, cancer screenings and equal rights.

When Savvy was launched, women's magazines mostly focused on homemaking, offering recipes, parenting tips and home decor advice.

But Daniels had a different vision, said O'Toole, the author of "When Trumpets Call," "The Five of Hearts" and "Money and Morals in America."

"There was advice about how to manage your money and how to get ahead in the business world," said O'Toole, 66. "It was really exciting and different."

At Glamour, Daniels created the Woman of the Year awards.

Author Deborah Weisgall, 66, said she was first introduced to Daniels in the late 1970s, when Daniels was raising money to start Savvy. Though they didn't discuss writing, Weisgall said Daniels made quite an impression on her.

"The truth is, from the time I met her, I don't think I ever wrote a word that wasn't addressed to her," she said. "She was my audience. She was the reader I could only dream about. I knew she wasn't afraid to tell me when something didn't work.

"And she was also very good about telling you when something did work," Weisgall said.

Weisgall became good friends with Daniels nearly 15 years ago, when both were living in Maine. She recalled Daniels as being "very chic," always wearing gray, white or black, which she would pair with bright-orange shoes or a red vest.

She was fond of large earrings, but had a tendency to lose them, so she would often wear mismatched pairs. "And they were beautiful," Weisgall said.

And when it came to writing, Daniels encouraged Weisgall to push the envelope.

"She knew what the story was and that you could get it in a way that was generous," Weisgall said. "She wasn't after villains."

Daniels is survived by her husband; her sisters Stacey Glassman of Lincolnville and Linda Beaty of Sarasota, Fla.; a brother, Thomas Glassman of Medford, Ore.; and a daughter, Jennifer Webb of Boulder, Colo., her husband, Jason Kiefer, and three grandsons, Lucas, Jack and Quinn Kiefer. Her first husband, Ronald S. Daniels, died in 1980.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Center for Maine Contemporary Art Building Fund, 162 Russell Ave., P.O. Box 147, Rockport, ME 04856, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England: Maine, 443 Congress St., 3rd Floor, Portland, ME 04101.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

Twitter: @randybillings


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