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Women of the year

December 15, 2007 |  7:57 am

Dec. 15, 1957
Los Angeles



When I started at the paper in the 1980s, The Times Women of the Year were treated as a quaint, horse-drawn practice of the pre-Otis Chandler era that provoked polite amusement.  Begun in 1950, the Women of the Year awards had been abandoned long before I arrived, so I never encountered the subject except when we ran an obit on one of the recipients (the Women of the Year always rated an obituary).   

Here we have 10 of them for the eighth annual awards, presented to readers in profiles that tend toward the superficial and light. I'm running the entire section, not because I expect anyone to read the whole package but because it's a time capsule. Except for Dinah Shore, very few of them are familiar today. You might remember that Madelyn Pugh Martin was a writer on "I Love Lucy" and wonder whether Mrs. Harry Francis Haldeman was related to the late Watergate figure (the answer is yes, she was H.R. "Bob" Haldeman's mother). Otherwise they are fairly obscure.

Unfortunately, most of the recipients are dead so we can't ask them how perceptions of women have changed since 1957. I would welcome thoughtful, insightful impressions about our award winners and on the larger question of women's changing roles over the last 50 years.

And if any former Women of the Year are reading, drop me a line.


The Women of the Year for 1957:

  • Mary Bowling (Mrs. James R. Bowling). Possibly deceased, but it's unclear.
  • Mrs. Ida Mayer Cummings (died 1968)
  • Margaret Ettinger (died 1967)
  • Mrs. Harry Francis (Katharine "Betty") Haldeman (died 1987)
  • Stella Hanania (died 1987).
  • Mrs. Leiland Atherton (Florence M.) Irish (died 1971)
  • Dr. Clara Szego Roberts (still living at the age of 92 as of May 2007)
  • Dr. Louise Wood Seyler (died 1998).

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