Margaret (Peggy) M. Adams, who was a former member of Marymount’s Board of Trustees and a close friend of Sister M. Majella Berg, RSHM, passed away on November 8, 2013, at the age of 89.
She had a long and varied career in national media communications and national and international corporate and non-governmental diplomacy. For more than 60 years in Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C., Margaret Adams served as writer, editor, and account executive for a variety of major publishing, advertising, and public affairs organizations.
Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1924, she graduated from Collingdale High School in 1942 just as the United States was entering World War II and women were filling positions vacated by men who had gone to war. She attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Journalism and also studied at Northwestern University in Chicago.
In 1947, she was promoted to Director of Women’s News for the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, and created broad-based national radio, television and newspaper news for such Curtis-owned magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, Holiday, Ladies Home Journal, Country Gentleman,
and Jack and Jill.
Later, having moved to New York City, she became a corporate and editorial manager of public affairs at Crowell-Collier Publishing for Women’s Home Companion
. When those magazines closed down, she joined Grey Advertising as an account executive.
In 1962 she married George A. Adams, a sales manager with Curtis Publishing corporation, and became a free-lance consultant to a number of magazines in St. Louis, New York and Philadelphia. From 1968 until 1972 as editor-in-chief, she created the format and supervised the pilot year of Today’s Girl
, a consumer magazine for teenagers underwritten by Camp Fire Girls, Inc.
In 1972, Mrs. Adams formed her own media design and consultant firm, Hearth Communications, Inc., servicing major publishing companies and advertising agencies. This led to her becoming account supervisor for all women’s interest news, promotion advertising and special events for the multi-million dollar national Bicentennial programs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at Spiro Advertising Agency in Philadelphia.
Raising two children as a single mother after the death of her husband, Mrs. Adams joined Good Housekeeping Magazine
, a Hearst Corporation publication, in 1975. She was tasked with creating a public affairs/national affairs editorial department for the magazine under the theme “Women in Passage.” The International Conference of Women sponsored by the United Nations in June of 1975 was the impetus. For the “Decade of Women” (1975-1985) proclaimed by the United Nations, she organized a series of conferences, called “Congress of Presidents,” that featured women leaders from around the world.
Mrs. Adams’ widespread professional experience and personal interests brought her recognition as a knowledgeable spokesperson and frequent lecturer in dozens of countries, including the former U.S.S.R. and China. She asserted that “women are co-captains of history, and want a balance in every aspect of American life”.
As a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), she toured NATO bases and served as a guest of the U.S. Air Force and NASA, adding her voice for increasing the role of the U.S. in the peaceful exploration of outer space.
Mrs. Adams served on numerous national and international boards and advisory councils, including the World Board of Governors of the United States Service Organization (USO), the Overseas Education Fund of the League of Women Voters, the New York Regional Board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Executive Committee of the National Council of Women, the National Women’s Economic Alliance, and the Pan Pacific Association of Women of Asia and the Pacific Islands.
In addition to serving as a Marymount trustee, Mrs. Adams was also a member of the Advisory Board of the Women’s Institute of American University and the North Carolina Women in Business Council. She served as president of the Public Members Association of the United States Foreign Service Association and, in 1979, she was on the Board of Selectors of the United States Information Agency and acted as a speaker for the U.S. Department of Labor and Commerce. From 1979 until 1982 she was a member of the board of directors of Lincoln Bank in Philadelphia.
A member of Advertising Women of New York, Women in Communications, Inc., and The Women’s Forum, this self-styled “little gray-haired lady from Good Housekeeping
” received many distinguished awards during her lifetime. They include the “Ombudswoman” pin of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women (the first ever presented to a white woman), the “Big Weal” of the Women’s Equity Action League, and the American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year. Mrs. Adams also received the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Crown Award, and she was named to the YMCA’s “Academy of Women Achievers.”
Margaret Adams was an inspirational leader and a committed organizational voice in the advancement of women at home and abroad. She is survived by her two sons, Gregory and Jeffrey, their wives Yuka and Nova, and three grandchildren, Margaret, George and Giulia.