Rest in Power: Rosalie Maggio, Feminist Author and “a Woman’s Woman”

Rosalie Maggio was an award-winning writer of 22 books and hundreds of stories and articles. Her titles have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Rosalie Maggio, recently of Los Angeles, Calif., died Sept. 18, 2021, after a short, heroic battle with pancreatic cancer. 

An award-winning author of 24 books and hundreds of articles, Maggio was on the forefront of popularizing inclusive language and women’s quotations.

Her landmark work, The Nonsexist Word Finder: A Dictionary of Gender-Free Usage, published in 1988, was one of the first, if not the first, practical guides to using inclusive language. It evolved into The Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage: A Guide to Nondiscriminatory Language (1991) and Talking About People: A Guide to Fair and Accurate Language (1997).

Its latest incarnation, Unspinning the Spin: The Women’s Media Center Guide to Fair and Accurate Language (2015) will have a posthumous online relaunch in October 2021, fulfilling Maggio’s desire for her work to be accessible to everyone and easy to reference.

Maggio also collected and compiled more than 44,000 quotations from famous women, adding women’s voices back into the historical record with wise and witty sayings from biblical times to the present. Published as The Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, the quotes are also organized by topic and author here.

Other popular works include How to Say It: Choice Words, Phrases, Sentences and Paragraphs for Every Situation. First published in 1990, the book is in its third edition and has sold more than 3 million copies. 

Most recently, she “resurrected” the biography and story of French daredevil, adventurer, pilot and feminist pioneeer Marie Marvingt—first in a French language edition, and then in English.

“In the end, I can’t think of a single book I’ve written that wasn’t a joy to me,” she wrote on her website.

An anonymous reviewer once wrote this about Maggio, which she also excerpted on her website:

“Rosalie Maggio is a fast-talking, choppy-sentenced, witty, successful woman. Her subject matter of gender-correct language is important, but I was much more struck by her person. She is a woman’s woman.”

Born Nov. 8, 1943, to Irene Cecilia Nash Maggio and Paul Joseph Maggio, D.D.S., she was the eldest of eight siblings who were raised in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

She majored in French at The University of Saint Catherine and traveled France and Italy often, throughout her life. 

She and husband David C. Koskenmaki, a research scientist and holder of numerous patents, were parents of Liz Koskenmaki (Anthony Thompson), Katie Koskenmaki (Jason Middleton) and Matt Koskenmaki (Nora Terry Koskenmaki) and grandparents to Zoe and Evy Koskenmaki and Margot Middleton.

She is survived by her children, sons-in-law, daughter-in-law and those three grandchildren, as well as by siblings Frank Maggio, Patrick Maggio, Kevin Maggio, Mary Maggio, Paul Maggio, D.D.S, Dr. Mark Maggio and Matt Maggio, D.D.S.

Rosalie Maggio, rest in power.

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Jason Middleton is Rosalie’s son-in-law, married to Katie, Rosalie’s middle child.