Helen Gurley Brown, 1922-2012
Helen Gurley Brown is best remembered as the dynamic editor who took charge of the moribund Cosmopolitan magazine in 1965 and transformed it into a best-selling publication aimed at young professional women. Brown first gained national attention in 1962 with the publication of Sex and the Single Girl, her candid take on “how to stay single in superlative style.” For the traditionally minded, this title was an oxymoron at the very least. But the book flew off bookstore shelves and struck a positive chord with early advocates of what would become the sexual revolution. Under Brown’s leadership, Cosmopolitan soon emerged as a major outlet for the liberated single woman who came to epitomize the “Cosmo Girl.” By the time of Brown’s retirement in 1997 after thirty-two years at Cosmo’s helm, the magazine’s circulation had reached three million, an increase of more than 300 percent.
Ann Zane Shanks, 1967