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Call No.: MC 472
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Isabel Dowden Johnson Hiss, 1908-2000
Title: Papers of Isabel Dowden Johnson Hiss, 1907-2000
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box) plus 6 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 1 folio+ folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, diaries, photographs, etc., of Isabel Dowden Johnson Hiss, writer, editor, and widow of Alger Hiss.
Model, writer, editor, and widow of Alger Hiss, Isabel (Dowden) Johnson Hiss was born on July 11, 1908, and raised in Montclair, New Jersey, the only child of Elsie (Ruckelshaus) and Dawson Dowden. She graduated from Montclair High School in 1926 and went to Syracuse University, where she met Malcolm Perry Johnson, a student at St. Lawrence University whom she married in 1931. A well-known model in Paris and New York, she was photographed by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Edward Steichen, and Alfred Stieglitz, among others, and modeled for illustrator Rene Boucher. She was the health and beauty editor for Glamour magazine (1943-1945) and the New York Times (1945-1946), and worked for the National Association for Mental Health (1951-1956) and the American Cancer Society (1956-1958), where she was education director of the Los Angeles County branch. Johnson was subsequently married to a merchant marine and to Lester Cole, author of screenplays and one of the Hollywood 10 blacklisted during the McCarthy era. In 1984 she married her longtime friend Alger Hiss; she had no children. She died in Manhattan on May 3, 2000.
This collection contains family and professional photographs; biographical information; diaries; personal correspondence consisting mostly of letters from Hiss's grandmother, Ada Ruckelshaus Schwarzkopf, to Hiss; published articles by Hiss; and photographs of Hiss published in magazines.