Elizabeth Forsling Harris, 77, the founder and first publisher of Ms. magazine who also was a former government worker, writer, television producer and public relations executive, died July 14 at a hospital in New York. She had emphysema.

Ms. Harris, a Tennessee native, was a graduate of Mount Vernon College.

She began her journalism career with Newsweek magazine, where she worked from 1947 to 1951, moving from researcher to radio and television editor. She was a producer with ABC-TV in New York from 1951 to 1953, then founded her own public relations firm in Dallas.

Ms. Harris served with the Peace Corps in Washington from 1961 to 1963, then returned to her agency in Dallas.

She had long been active in Texas Democratic Party politics, doing work for such figures as then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson and House Speaker Sam Rayburn.

Ms. Harris also had been active in several Democratic conventions, including work for then-Sen. John F. Kennedy's vice presidential campaign at the 1956 convention.

She did crucial advance work for President John F. Kennedy's fateful November 1963 visit to Dallas. In 1988, she wrote a story that was published in The Washington Post magazine that told the behind-the-scenes story of the trip that resulted in Kennedy's assassination.

Ms. Harris returned to magazine journalism in 1971 when she founded Ms. She served as its publisher. In 1976, she became publisher of Working Woman magazine. Also in the 1970s, she helped found a shopping cable network with Neiman-Marcus stores.

From 1981 to 1983, she was deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Commerce. She had served on the boards of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and of Mount Vernon College.

Her marriage to Leon Harris ended in divorce.

Ms. Harris, who lived in Manhattan, leaves no immediate survivors.