Mary Thom, feminist and former editor of Ms. Magazine, dies at 68

April 29, 2013

Mary Thom, a renowned feminist and former editor of Ms. Magazine, died April 26 in a motorcycle crash in Yonkers, N.Y., friends and colleagues said. She was 68.

Ms. Thom crashed her motorcycle on the Saw Mill River Parkway on Friday evening, said Eleanor Smeal, publisher of Ms. Magazine and a close friend.

An accomplished author, editor and journalist, Ms. Thom devoted her career to giving voice to women’s rights issues in books, magazine columns and through her work in the women’s movement. She was editor-in-chief at the Women’s Media Center at the time of her death.

“Mary was and will always be our moral compass and steady heart,” actress Jane Fonda and feminist authors Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan, three co-founders of the Women’s Media Center, said in a statement. “Writers from around the world have been able to share their words and ideas because of her.”

Mary Thom was born on June 3, 1944, in Cleveland and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1966.


Renowned feminist and former women's magazine editor Mary Thom was killed in a motorcycle crash over the weekend in Yonkers, New York, friends and colleagues said. (Women's Media Center/Via Reuters)

She spent more than a quarter century at Ms. Magazine and wrote about working her way from an entry-level research position to executive editor in “Inside Ms.: 25 Years of the Magazine and the Feminist Movement,” according to Smeal.

Ms. Thom also edited a book of letters sent to the magazine during its formative years from 1972-1987.

With Suzanne Braun Levine, she published an oral history of the late congresswoman and feminist Bella Abzug, called “Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied Against War and for the Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way.”

Smeal described Ms. Thom as a constant presence at the heart of the movement over decades.

“She was always there,’’ Smeal said. “She was always there as a guiding hand to make sure that the spirit of feminism came through in everything we wrote at the Women’s Media Center and at Ms. Magazine.”

Ms. Thom was a motorcycle enthusiast who had been riding for 40 years and never owned a car, her nephew Thom Loubet told the Journal News newspaper in Westchester, New York.

Survivors include a sister.

— from staff and wire reports

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