Public Memorial and a New Award for Mary Thom

Mary Thom closeupThe Women’s Media Center in New York, where Mary Thom worked as editor-in-chief, has announced a public memorial celebration to be held Monday, May 6, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center. Thom was killed in a motorcycling accident on April 26.

If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP by Sunday at 5 p.m. EST. Directions to the venue can be found here [PDF].

In lieu of flowers, Thom Loubet and Susan Loubet, Mary’s nephew and sister, have requested that donations be made to the Women’s Media Center, Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) and/or Bryn Mawr College. Mary Thom, a longtime editor at, and historian of, Ms. magazine, was a member of JAWS and a graduate of Bryn Mawr.

To carry on Mary’s memory and honor the unsung work she did, the Women’s Media Center will now sponsor a Mary Thom Art of Editing Award, to be given for the first time at the Women’s Media Center’s 2013 Awards Gala on March 8 in New York City. Further details will be announced later.

“A first-rate editor practices a craft demanding great skill, one that doesn’t impose external meaning or agendas on a work but elicits the content and the creator’s voice all the more clearly. Mary Thom did this and more,” said Women’s Media Center cofounders Robin Morgan, Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda in announcing the awards. “For Ms., and in recent years for The Women’s Media Center Features, she conceived stories, managed to find just the right author to assign, developed the story, nagged politely until it was delivered, and then edited it, fact-checked it, had the editing approved by the author (a rarity)  and fought for the piece’s proper placement.”

Morgan, Steinem and Fonda noted that though there are some industry-specific and genre-focused editing awards, overall media editing—of books, magazines, newspapers, television and radio (news and entertainment), blogs and other online copy—goes ignored.

Photograph of Mary Thom in 1984 by Joan Tedeschi


Melissa Kort teaches literature and composition at Santa Rosa (CA) Junior College. She writes on topics ranging from Charles Dickens and photography to women’s history.