Judith Daniels papers
Scope and Contents
The collection is comprised of correspondence, memos, reports, financial records, publications, and photographs documenting Daniels' professional life, particularly her work on SAVVY magazine, the first magazine aimed at upscale executive and professional women. Also included are college notebooks and papers from her time at Smith College, as well as materials from high school and her college application process.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1948-2017
- Daniels, Judith (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
To the extent that he owns copyright, Lee Webb has assigned the copyright of Judith Daniels' works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Judith Daniels, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.
Judith Daniels, Smith College Class of 1960, was a magazine editor and the founding editor-in-chief of SAVVY, the first glossy magazine aimed at upscale executive and professional women.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Judith Glassman Daniels grew up in neighboring Brookline, the daughter of Eleanor Saxe Glassman, an educator, and Joel Glassman, a shoe designer. She graduated from Smith College in 1960, earning a bachelor's degree, cum laude, in English. Typical for the time, she then took secretarial courses at a Katherine Gibbs school before landing her first job in publishing as a secretary at Doubleday & Co. in New York City. By the time she left for Farrar, Strauss & Giroux in 1962, Daniels had worked her way up to editorial assistant. In 1964, she moved on to the Russell Sage Foundation, serving as their public information officer until 1966 when she took a freelance position as a reader for the Book-of-the-Month Club. In 1968, Clay Felker hired Daniels as senior editor for his newly created New York Magazine. She was promoted to managing editor in 1972 and became managing editor of the Village Voice in 1974.
By the mid-1970s the Women's Movement had challenged many existing constraints on women's lives but barriers remained, especially within the workplace. Professional advancement for women continued to be limited at best and there were few, like Clay Felker, who helped make it possible for women, such as Daniels and Gloria Steinem, to advance in journalism. In 1974, out of this frustration, the Women's Media Group in New York City, of which Daniels was a co-founder, was born. Daniels recognized that professional women had little directed at them in the way of print journalism, a void she sought to fill with the magazine SAVVY, which she started in the fall of 1976. Putting together a concept paper, a business plan, and a dummy issue in her dining room with money raised by selling her grandmother's wedding ring, she went on to raise $1.2 million dollars from a group of investors to launch SAVVY. Aimed at professional women, SAVVY addressed business trends, workplace dynamics, and even workplace fashion. It was a great success; according to the New York Times, by the end of the first year, circulation was over 200,000. In 1982 Daniels moved on to Time, Inc. as "roving senior editor" until 1985 and then became managing editor of Life magazine until 1987. Daniels remained a leader in journalism for women throughout her career, developing multiple protypes for mass magazines aimed at women readers, particularly at Glamour and Self. After working part-time as editor of Clay Felker’s Battery Park News, she joined Conde Nast as a contributing editor at Glamour (1990-1995) and then as executive editor for Self (1996-1998). In 1996, Daniels also established her own business, Judith Daniels Consultancy, Inc., working on editorial projects for a large and significant clientele.
Daniels' first husband, Ronald Daniels, a NYC attorney, died of cancer in 1980. In 1984 she married Lee Webb. They retired to Maine in 2004 where she became active in the Maine Women's Policy Center, the Women's Lobby, and the Maine Humanities Council and served as chairwoman of Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. Daniels was also an active Smith alumna as a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Alumnae Association. She died September 1, 2013.
Sources: New York Times New York Times obituary (September 5, 2013) Donor Lee Webb
19.083 linear feet (17 containers)
Language of Materials
Judith Daniels, Smith College Class of 1960, was a magazine editor and the founding editor-in-chief of SAVVY, the first glossy magazine aimed at upscale executive and professional women. The collection is comprised of correspondence, memos, reports, financial records, publications, and photographs documenting Daniels' professional life, particularly her work on SAVVY magazine. Also included are college notebooks and papers from her time at Smith,as well as materials from high school and her college application process.
This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Lee Webb in 2015, 2018, and 2021.
Genre / Form
- Financial records
- Galley proofs
- Grant proposals
- Legal documents
- Annual reports
- Business records
- Fund raising
- Publishers and publishing
- Women -- Periodicals
- Women editors -- United States
- Women editors -- United States -- 20th century
- Women in mass media -- United States
- Women in the professions
- Women publishers -- United States
- Women's periodicals, American
- Women's periodicals, American -- 20th century
- Work environment -- United States -- 20th century
- Finding aid to the Judith Daniels papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Ellice Amanna, edited 2019 Becca Tibbitts
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Processing funded by Lee Webb.
- 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2018-09-18: Box inventory incorporating information from donor inventory and accessioning inventory added.
- 2018-09-20: Biographical note updated with information from donor.
- 2018-03-04: 2018 accession inventory added.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063