Helen Gurley Brown’s Nemeses (and Collected Papers)

There is a fantastic piece on legendary Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown and her legacy (or more specifically, who owns Brown’s legacy) in today’s New York Times. Katherine Rosman unpacks the financial and cultural battle over Brown’s estate with nuanced, careful reporting, but she also doesn’t sacrifice any of the heightened details you’d expect from a Helen Gurley Brown story. Descriptions of the desk in Brown’s apartment and a Hearst retreat are particularly fun, but nothing holds a candle to the backstory on why Brown’s archive ended up at Smith College:

The archive was more Mr. Brown’s idea than his wife’s, Ms. Burton said. “Two of Helen’s nemeses went to Smith and David wanted her papers alongside theirs,” she said, referring to Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.

I, for one, feel newly inspired to not just organize my “papers” but also up my nemeses game.

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