A few weeks ago I posted something about what I thought at the time was the only female writer for BLACK MASK, Katherine Brocklebank. My source was quickly corrected by Walker Martin and others. But that post, and the recent post on i09 called "Badass Women of the Pulp Era," rekindled my interest in the history of female pulp authors and editors. It's way overdue and I'd like to pay tribute to those of my gender who walked the narrow - and I'm sure lonely - path of being a woman in the pulp fiction industry in the early 20th Century.
Recently Barry Traylor sent me this Wikipedia entry on Cele Goldsmith, who he considers to be the best editor that AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC ever had.
Cele championed many great writers, including Ursula Le Guin, who's story "The Dowry of Angyar" appeared in this issue of AMAZING STORIES.
I confess that my knowledge of Cele Goldsmith - and of science fiction - ranges from zero to nothing, so out of fear of writing something that is inaccurate, I'm going to just quote this directly from Wikipedia and hope that rest of you can fill in the blanks about Cele.
Cele Goldsmith Lalli (1933 – January 14, 2002) was an American editor. She was the editor of Amazing Stories from 1959 to 1965, Fantastic from 1958 to 1965, and later the Editor-in-Chief of Modern Bride magazine.
Goldsmith began working on science fiction and fantasy magazines under Paul W. Fairman. When Fairman left Ziff-Davis in 1958, Goldsmith took over as editor of Amazing Stories and Fantastic. Goldsmith was open to new authors and experimentation in writing. Among her discoveries were Thomas M. Disch, Ursula K. Le Guin, Keith Laumer, Sonya Dorman (as a fiction writer), and Roger Zelazny. She was also instrumental in bringing Fritz Leiber out of an early writer's-block-induced retirement (a 1959 issue was devoted entirely to his fiction), and was among the first US editors to publish British author J. G. Ballard.
Goldsmith married in 1964 and took Lalli as her last name. By this time, she'd received a special award from the World Science Fiction Convention for her work on the magazines. Le Guin and subsequent Fantastic and Amazing editors Barry N. Malzberg and Ted White have taken care to note the significance of her achievement.
In 1965, Ziff-Davis sold the two fiction magazines to publisher Sol Cohen, who founded Ultimate Publications to publish them. Lalli continued at Ziff-Davis, where she worked at Modern Bride magazine for 30 years.
Not long after her retirement, she was killed in a car accident in Newtown, Connecticut on January 14, 2002.
An obituary that appeared in Conneticut says:
Cele (Goldsmith) Lalli, 68, of Newtown died Jan. 14 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
Mrs. Lalli grew up in Scranton, Pa., and graduated from Vassar College in 1955. She and her husband, Michael, lived in New York City and Stamford and finally moved to Newtown in the mid-1990s.
Mrs. Lalli wrote three books concerning wedding etiquette and was once referred to as America’s foremost wedding expert. She worked for Modern Bride magazine for 33 years and retired as vice president and editor-in-chief in 1998.
She often appeared on television shows and would share her expertise by leading workshops locally.
I looked for a photo of Cele online but was unsuccessful.
Thanks, Barry, for leading me to Cele Goldsmith.
Other posts here on women in the pulp fiction industry:
Daisy Bacon, editor of LOVE STORY, Part One.
Daisy Bacon, Part Two.