Patterson, Carolyn Bennett 1921-2003

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PATTERSON, Carolyn Bennett 1921-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born April 12, 1921, in Laurel, MS; died of cirrhosis of the liver July 7, 2003, in Washington, DC. Editor and author. Patterson was a former editor for National Geographic magazine. After earning a B.A. from Louisiana State University in 1942, she worked as a crime reporter for the New Orleans State newspaper and then for the American Red Cross during World War II. She moved to Washington, D.C., with her husband, and applied to work as a file clerk for National Geographic. Instead of becoming a clerk, however, she was placed in an editorial position in 1949, becoming a news-service writer in 1950 and a caption and magazine writer in 1953. In 1960 Patterson was made assistant legend (caption) editor, and four years later she was promoted to legend editor, thus becoming the first woman to be given a credit on the National Geographic's masthead. Unlike with many magazines, captions in the National Geographic are considered to be as important as the articles themselves, and Patterson found herself traveling all over the world to do the research necessary to write accurate legends; she also wrote articles for the magazine and became a rugged outdoorsperson as she hiked terrain from Brazil to Australia. After also being appointed senior assistant editor in 1973, Patterson retired in 1986. Her book about her experiences with the magazine, Of Lands, Legends, and Laughter: The Search for Adventure with "National Geographic," was published in 1998.



Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2003, p. B21.

Washington Post, July 11, 2003, p. B6.

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Patterson, Carolyn Bennett 1921-2003

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