Judith Glassman Daniels, Magazine Trailblazer for Women, Dies

Image: Judith Glassman Daniels, Magazine Trailblazer for Women, Dies

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 01:09 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Publishing trailblazer Judith Glassman Daniels, the first woman to ever be the top editor at Life magazine, died at her Maine home on Sunday.

Daniels was 74 and succumbed to stomach cancer.

Working in New York City's publishing industry for 35 years, Daniels served in senior editing positions at The Village Voice, New York magazine, Time Inc., and Conde Nast during her career, the Associated Press reported.

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In 2004, Daniels retired to Maine with her husband, Lee Webb.

Referring to her as a "a real pioneer," Webb told the AP on Tuesday, "She really was one of the women who broke the glass ceiling that allowed women to rise high in the publishing world."

During her long career, Daniels helped found the Women's Media Group in New York and oversaw the creation of the magazine Savvy, which targeted women in executive positions at a time when most magazines catered to stay-at-home moms, the AP notes.

Patricia O'Toole, a biographer and professor in New York who worked for Daniels as both a writer and editor at Savvy, said Daniels was naturally curious throughout her career.

"Everybody wanted to please Judy," O'Toole told the AP. "Sometimes when there's a boss like that, it's because they have to please them, because otherwise there's going to be hell to pay. But Judy wasn't like that at all. You wanted to please her because she was such a good coach."

"She had very high editorial standards, and she'd help you measure up," O'Toole added.

As an editor at Life magazine, Daniels oversaw the publication's 50th anniversary.

Born in Cambridge, Mass., Daniels was raised in Brookline, Mass. and graduated from Smith College with a degree in English before rising through the ranks of the NYC magazine industry.

Despite relocating to NYC, Daniels remained a longtime member of the Smith Alumnae Council.

Smith College Editorial Director John MacMillan described Daniels a "change maker" who played a role in the advancement of women in society.

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"She was thinking about the issues facing successful professional women long before they were trendy, like work-life balance and the pressure that women face to get ideas heard," MacMillan told the AP. "She was thinking about those way back in the 1970s and '80s."

Before her death, Daniels served as chairwoman of Center for Maine Contemporary Art and was an active member of the Maine Women's Policy Center, in addition to being part of the Women's Lobby and the Maine Humanities Council.

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