In Memoriam: Helen Thomas (1920-2013)

Front Row at the White House coverOn Saturday, July 20, White House reporter Helen Thomas passed away at age 92 at her Washington home.

After graduation from Wayne State University in 1942, Thomas came to work in D.C., working at the now defunct Daily News, then as a radio news writer. Her reporting career began in 1956, when she joined United Press International, covering the Justice Department and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She began covering the White House in 1960 and was a longtime member of the press corps until her resignation in 2010. She also wrote several books.

Thomas is regarded as a pioneer among women journalists. She was the first woman chosen to close a press conference (saying, "Thank you, Mr. President"), the first woman officer elected at the National Press Club, the first woman president of the White House Correspondents Association, and the first woman to be honored by the National Press Club.

Ms. Thomas appeared as herself in the movie Dave (1993) when fictional President Bill Mitchell addresses the press corps in the White House briefing room.

Helen Thomas's autobiography Front Row at the White House was published in 1999; copies are available throughout the library system.


 -- Elisa Babel, Adult Librarian