Gould, Beatrice Blackmar (c. 1899–1989)

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Gould, Beatrice Blackmar (c. 1899–1989)

American journalist and magazine editor who, with her husband Bruce Gould, coedited the Ladies' Home Journal (1936–1962) . Born Beatrice Blackmar in Emmetsburg, Iowa, probably in 1899; died in Hopewell, New Jersey, on January 30, 1989; daughter of Harry E. Blackmar (superintendent of public schools) and Mary Kathleen (Fluke) Blackmar; attended public school in Iowa City and Ottumwa; graduated from the University of Iowa; Columbia University, B.S. in journalism, 1923; married Charles Bruce Gould (a writer and editor), on October 4, 1923; children: one daughter Sesaly Gould .

Journalist and magazine editor Beatrice Blackmar Gould was born in Emmetsburg, Iowa, around 1899. As superintendent of public schools, her father Harry E. Blackmar introduced the first hot-lunch program and "ungraded" classrooms. Her mother Mary Fluke Blackmar distinguished herself late in life by receiving her M.A. at Columbia when she was in her 50s and obtaining a driver's license at age 75. Gould later recalled an idyllic childhood, highlighted by family dinners where the children were encouraged to talk and argue "providing it was about books, or the Civil War."

After graduating from the University of Iowa, Gould worked as a reporter before entering the journalism school at Columbia University. Shortly after receiving her degree, she married Bruce Gould, who was also a reporter but dreamed of becoming a playwright. The couple lived in New York, where they worked on newspapers, freelanced for magazines, and wrote plays together, one of which, Man's Estate, was produced by the Theater Guild in 1929. (The couple would also write The Terrible Turk, produced in 1934, and Reunion, a screenplay, released in 1936.) Meanwhile, in 1927, while employed as the woman's editor on the New York Sunday World, Beatrice gave birth to the couple's only child, Sesaly. Well established as a writer, Beatrice continued to contribute to magazines like Collier's, Cosmopolitan, and the Ladies' Home Journal, while Bruce joined the staff of The Saturday Evening Post. In 1935, the Goulds were appointed coeditors of the Journal. It took some persuading for Beatrice to accept the job. "If I could have chosen my own pattern, I would have stayed at home until our daughter was older," she admitted. "But … it was then that opportunity offered." It was agreed, however, that she would appear at the office only three days a week, working the rest of the time at home. Although there was equal billing on the masthead, Beatrice, who insisted that Bruce was the boss, received a $5,000 yearly salary while her husband earned $20,000.

Under the Goulds' management, the Journal flourished, becoming the most profitable magazine of all time. The October 1946 issue alone established a publishing record by exceeding $2 million in gross advertising revenue. Basing their editorial policy on their high regard for the socalled average American woman, they "edited up," publishing high-quality fiction and indepth analysis of politics, international relations, and other subjects usually ignored by women's magazines. Despite growing success, Beatrice stuck to her three-day-a-week policy, insisting that a married woman should not let an outside job take too much time away from her home and family. Her particular concern for children was expressed in two wartime editorials for the Journal: "Let's Have No Neglected Children" and "For Forty Million Reason," the latter a proposal for an organization of "Women in National Service," offering community service to children. Beatrice was also a foster mother to two child evacuees from England. The Goulds, who retired from the Journal in 1962, wrote about their coeditorship in their joint autobiography, American Story (1968).


Bird, Caroline. Enterprising Women. NY: W.W. Norton, 1976.

Moritz, Charles, ed. Current Biography. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1989.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts