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MC 472

Hiss, Isabel Dowden Johnson, 1908-2000. Papers of Isabel Dowden Johnson Hiss, 1907-2000: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

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Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College


Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the estate of Isabel Johnson Hiss.

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
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
Date(s): 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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2001-M205, 2002-M28
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by the estate of Isabel Johnson Hiss in November 2001 and February 2002.

Processing Information:

Processed: February 2002
By: Anne Engelhart

TERMS OF USE:

Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Isabel (Dowden) Johnson Hiss Papers, 1907-2000; item description, dates. MC 472, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

BIOGRAPHY

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.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

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.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Courtship--United States
Dating (Social customs)--United States
Diaries
Editors
Editors--United States
Grandparent and child
Greek letter societies--United States
Journalists--United States
Models (Persons)--United States
New Jersey--Social life and customs--20th century
Teenage girls--New Jersey
Cole, Lester, 1904-1985
Dahl-Wolfe, Louise
Fast, Howard, 1914-2003
Hiss, Alger
Johnson, Malcolm Perry

sch00103