Savvy Change-Maker Judith Glassman Daniels Dies

Judith Glassman Daniels, the first woman to serve as top editor of Life magazine, died at her home in Union, Maine. Her husband, Lee Webb, said she suffered from stomach cancer. She was 74.

Her husband called her “a real pioneer.”

“She really was one of the women who broke the glass ceiling that allowed women to rise high in the publishing world,” Webb said from their home.

Daniels was born in Cambridge, Mass., and was raised in Brookline, Mass. She set off for New York after getting her English degree from Smith College, rising through the ranks in magazines.

She served in senior editing positions at the Village Voice, New York magazine, Time Inc. and Conde Nast during a career that spanned 35 years.

In the late 1970s, Daniels oversaw creation of a magazine for executive women, Savvy, at a time when magazines catered to homemakers. Savvy was initially published as a 44-page insert in New York and New West magazines.
Patricia O’Toole, who worked for Daniels at Savvy, said she was naturally curious and loved writing and editing. And writers loved to work for her.

John MacMillan, editorial director at Smith College, where Daniels was a longtime member of the board of directors of the Alumnae Association, called Daniels a “change-maker” who helped the next generation of women get ahead.

“She was thinking about the issues facing successful professional women long before they were trendy, like work-life balance and the pressure that women face to get ideas heard,” he said. “She was thinking about those way back in the 1970s and ’80s.”

Daniels helped to found the Women’s Media Group in New York. At Life, she oversaw the publication’s 50th anniversary.

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