Hello to the very foxy Ms. Mary Roche, who from 1944-1949 served as New York Times’ Home Editor/Interior Design columnist. Writing more than 500 articles for the Times within just 5 years, Roche touched on a wide range of home decor and design-related topics for the modern American housewife. While our girl worked at the Times, most of her contributions to the newspaper involved domestic spaces: you know, the dining room, the bathroom, kitchen, living room, the bedroom.
Mary Roche, 1929, photograph credit:
Bryn Mawr College Yearbook, Class of 1929
Writing exclusively on the home in the 1940’s may sound stifling (actual article titles include: Children’s Furniture, How To Judge Furniture, Modern Interiors, Decorating Ingenuity, Color Combinations), but our babe Ms. Roche totally owned it! Rich and creative in content, she wrote her pieces using the housewife’s space as a lens for in-depth and cutting-edge reports on things like contemporary trends, designers, artists, and architects, thereby allowing her readers to 1) make the hubby happy, but also 2) gain insight to a world extending far beyond the home interior.
For the New York Times Roche both covered and interviewed creative figureheads like Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Charles Eames, Dorothy Liebes, Egmont Arens, Raymond Loewy, Eero Saarinen, and George Nelson for Herman Miller to write on topics like bathroom design, children’s furniture design, DIY design, safety design, sound absorption design, fabric design, designing a room for your guest when there is no room, cordless iron design, knife design, refrigerator design, even low-cost housing design. Whew. I’m going to stop there.
In 1944, our girl received first prize in the annual Dorothy Dawe-American Furniture Mart Awards. You go, LADY! Roche also served as news editor for House Beautiful, managing director for Charm Magazine, and finally, she served as managing editor for House and Garden from 1958 until retiring in 1971. Ms. Roche died in 1977 at 69 years old.