The first biography of Missy Meloney, the most important woman you've never heard of
Marie "Missy" Mattingly Meloney was born in 1878, in an America where women couldn't vote. Yet she recognized the power that women held as consumers and family decision-makers, and persuaded male publishers and politicians to take them seriously. Over the course of her life as a journalist, magazine editor-in-chief, and political advisor, Missy created the idea of the female demographic. After the passage of the 19th Amendment she encouraged candidates to engage with and appeal to women directly. In this role, she advised Presidents from Hoover and Coolidge to FDR. By the time she died in 1943, women were a recognized political force to be reckoned with.
In this groundbreaking biography, historian Julie Des Jardins restores Missy to her rightful place in American history.
Historian Des Jardins (Walter Camp: Football and the Modern Man) unearths the power and influence of early 20th-century editor Marie "Missy" Mattingly Meloney (1878 1943) in this competent and purposeful biography. Born in Kentucky, Meloney came of age in Washington, D.C., where her widowed mother opened a school for girls. Despite lifelong health problems, Meloney became a newspaper reporter at the turn of the century. After marrying fellow reporter William Brown Meloney IV and working part-time as she raised their son, Meloney became managing editor of Woman's Magazine in 1914 and set out to replace the publication's "twaddle" with articles written by experts in such varied fields as housekeeping, education, and world affairs. In subsequent editorships at the Delineator, the New York Herald Tribune Sunday Magazine, and This Week, Meloney helped newly enfranchised women become informed voters; cultivated professional relationships with presidents and first ladies; made Marie Curie a household name in the U.S.; and educated Americans about European fascism. Crediting her subject with "propell other women into prominence and women's issues into public discourse," Des Jardins makes a convincing case for Meloney's crucial role in showing American women how to flex their political muscle. Readers interested in women's issues will find this to be a valuable contribution to the subject.