Furman, Bess, 1894-1969

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Author and journalist.

From the description of Bess Furman papers, 1728-1967 (bulk 1900-1966). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80347788

Biographical Note

  • 1894, Dec. 2: Born, Danbury, Nebr.
  • 1918: Graduated, Nebraska State Teachers College, Kearney, Nebr.
  • 1918 - 1919 : Staff writer, Kearny Daily Hub, Kearney, Nebr.
  • 1919 - 1929 : News feature and Sunday magazine writer, Omaha Bee-News
  • 1929 - 1937 : News staff reporter, Associated Press, Washington, D.C.
  • 1932: Married Robert Burns Armstrong (died 1955)
  • 1937 - 1941 : Partner with her sister, Lucile N. Furman, in Furman Features, a press and radio consultant and writing service used especially by women's organizations
  • 1941 - 1943 : Assistant chief, Magazine Division, Office of War Information
  • 1943 - 1961 : Staff writer, New York Times
  • 1949: Published Washington By-Line. New York: A. A. Knopf
  • 1951: Published White House Profile. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill
  • 1962: Appointed head, press information section, Department of Health, Education and Welfare Published Progress in Prosthetics. Washington, D.C.: Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, U.S. Department of Heal, Education and Welfare
  • 1969: Died, Woodacres, Md.
  • 1973: Posthumous publication with Ralph C. Williams of A Profile of the United States Public Health Service, 1798-1948. Bethesda, Md.: National Institutes of Health

From the guide to the Bess Furman Papers, 1728-1967, (bulk 1900-1966), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Bess Furman (1894-1969) was born in Danbury, Red Willow County, NE. A pioneering woman journalist, she was White House correspondent for New York Times, and developed a lasting friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt while covering the First Lady as her principal Associated Press assignment in the 1930s. She also used her writing talent and public position to champion women's rights and influence the role of women in the nation's political life.

Furman's father edited and published the Danbury News . By the time Furman was ten years old, she was helping report local news, set type and arrange papers for delivery. Furman graduated from Kearney State Teacher's College in 1918, and was the first woman editor of the school's newspaper. Her first professional reporting position was with the Omaha Daily News as a street reporter, often using the pseudonym "Bobbie O'Dare." A prize-winnning report of an Omaha visit by presidential candidate Al Smith in 1928 earned her a post at the Associated Press, where she insisted on being assigned to Washington, D.C. After covering the House of Representatives for two years, she became White House beat reporter from 1932-1936.

After freelancing with her sister from 1937 to 1941, Furman was offered a job with the Office of War Information during the early years of World War II. In 1943, she moved to the New York Times, replacing Eleanor Darnton as the "woman-interest" reporter in Washington. She remained with the Times until 1961, when she joined the Dept. of Heath, Eudcation and Welfare as a public affairs assistant. In 1962 she became head of HEW's Press Information Section and took a three year position to write a history of the Public Health Service, A profile of the United States Public Health Service, 1798-1948 (1973).

Furman was married to Robert B. Armstrong, Jr., a Los Angeles Times photographer and reporter whom she met while covering the U.S House of Representatives. He died in 1955. Bess Furman died in 1969 in Woodacres, MD. Her 1949 autobiography is titled Washington By-Line .

From the guide to the Bess Furman (Armstrong) Papers - Project materials pertaining to a history of the U.S. Public Health Service, 1962-1969, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Dewson, Molly, 1874-1962. Papers of Molly Dewson, 1893-1962 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Furman, Bess, 1894-1969. Bess Furman (Armstrong) papers: Project materials pertaining to a history of the U.S. Public Health Service, 1962-1969. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn Dewson, Molly, 1874-1962. Papers, 1893-1962 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Furman, Bess, 1894-1969. Bess Furman papers, 1728-1967 (bulk 1900-1966). Library of Congress
referencedIn Nash, Ruth Cowan, 1901-. Papers: Series I-IV, 1905-1990 (inclusive) [microform]. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Williams, Ralph C. (Ralph Chester), b. 1888. Ralph C. Williams papers, 1950-1970. National Library of Medicine
creatorOf Bess Furman (Armstrong) Papers - Project materials pertaining to a history of the U.S. Public Health Service, 1962-1969 History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine
creatorOf Bess Furman Papers, 1728-1967, (bulk 1900-1966) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Ralph C. Williams Papers, 1950-1970 History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Aldrich, Bess Streeter, 1881-1954 person
associatedWith American Association of University Women. corporateBody
associatedWith Armstrong, Robert Burns, 1903-1955. person
associatedWith Associated Press. corporateBody
correspondedWith Auerbach, Ella F. person
associatedWith Democratic National Committee (U.S.). Women's Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Dewson, Molly, 1874-1962. person
correspondedWith Enochs, Elisabeth Randolph Shirley, 1895-1992 person
associatedWith Furman family. family
associatedWith Furman family. family
associatedWith Furman Features. corporateBody
associatedWith Furman, Lucile N., 1896-1961. person
correspondedWith Helm, Edith Benham, 1874-1962 person
correspondedWith Herrick, Genevieve Forbes person
correspondedWith Keyes, Frances Parkinson, 1885-1970 person
associatedWith League of Women Voters (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith MARY (MOLLY) WILLIAMS DEWSON, 1874-1962 person
correspondedWith Mason, Myrtle person
correspondedWith McAllister, Dorothy person
correspondedWith McAllister, Dorothy person
correspondedWith McBride, Mary Margaret, 1899- person
correspondedWith McCloskey, Iantha person
associatedWith Nash, Ruth Cowan, 1901- person
associatedWith National Children's Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith National Institutes of Health (U.S.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
correspondedWith Netboy, Anthony person
correspondedWith Owen, Ruth Bryan, 1885-1954 person
correspondedWith Rogers, Herbert H. person
correspondedWith Rogers, Mae person
correspondedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
correspondedWith Thompson, Malvina, 1893-1953 person
correspondedWith Truman, Bess Wallace person
correspondedWith Truman, Bess Wallace person
associatedWith United States. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Public Health Service. corporateBody
associatedWith White House (Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Williams, Ralph C. (Ralph Chester), b. 1888. person
associatedWith Winslow family. family
associatedWith Winslow family. family
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Nebraska--Omaha
New York (State)--New York
New Hampshire
New Hampshire
Washington (D.C.)
Washington (D.C.)
Subject
American newspapers
American newspapers--New York (State)--New York
Health
Women
American newspapers--Nebraska--Omaha
Education
Public health administration--History
Occupation
Authors
Journalists
Activity

Person

Birth 1894

Death 1969

Information

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