The Women’s Museum of Ireland, a virtual entity, currently has a nice tribute to Carmel Snow posted. That in turn has led Dublin freelancer Paula Burns to retrace for Irish Examiner the Emerald Isle native’s remarkable career.
Burns’ basic take is that Snow deserves to be, among her peers, as much of a household name as Anna Wintour and Diana Vreeland. Her article however indirectly reminds why Snow is not; it happened too long ago. After jumping into an opportunity in the early 1920s to cover Paris couture shows when the assigned journalist fell ill, Snow joined Vogue magazine and rose to the rank of fashion editor. Her mentor was Condé Nast, but when she later jumped in 1934 to Harper’s Bazaar, he never forgave her. From Burns’ piece:
At the beginning of the 1930s, Snow’s brother, Tom White became general manager of Condé Nast’s rival publishing firm Hearst. Once again, Snow saw her personal and private lives collide to open up opportunities. She was also ready for a new challenge as she had often suggested moving Vogue photography out of the studio but each time it was shut down.
In what was to become the most pivotal moment in her career, she decided to make the bold move of breaking her word with Nast to move to the enemy lines at Hearst. Letters to her at the time show Nast was apoplectic.
Throughout her time at Vogue, Snow had maintained a tight relationship with Nast. He spent time after hours teaching her the ropes, helping her to get a handle on magazine layout. Snow would always credit Nast for teaching her everything she knew while Nast never spoke to her again.
There is much more rich detail about the life of Snow, who passed away in 1961. Read the rest here. And if you’re still hungry for more, there is this 1994 New Yorker piece as well as a 2005 biography.