Press Queen by
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Prompted By Newspapers

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When I was an undergrad at NYU Heights I was a commuter student,  but stayed on campus after classes as much as I could to enjoy the extracurricular college life.  (See Ghostwriting in the Family,  The Fortune Cookie Candidate and Theatre Dreams)

Steve,  the editor of the school paper,  was a friend and I’d often stop in his office to watch in awe as his staff turned out the paper every day.   It may not have rivaled the Columbia Spectator  or the Harvard Crimson,  but the Heights Daily News was a reputable university paper with much to cover in those turbulent ’60s.

The Heights,  located on a small,  leafy campus in the Bronx,  was comprised of only two NYU schools – Arts and Science,  and Engineering.   Both had been all-male until a year before I entered,  and so our cohort of women was still quite a novelty,  and Steve thought a contest to chose Miss Heights Daily News would be fun and a good way to promote the paper.   He asked me to enter the contest.    I did,  and at the risk of sounding immodest,  I must say I won.

Among my laurels was a pair of theatre tickets and 2 cigars.  I took my boyfriend to the show,   but the smokes I gave to Steve,  our much deserved editor-in-chief!

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Characterizations: , funny, well written


  1. What a fun story, and lovely photo! We’ll refrain from commenting about the ethical issue of the editor who created the contest ending up with the cigars! P.S. I am very impressed that your school put out a daily newspaper (like Harvard and Columbia). That took tremendous commitment, and I’m sure the quality was good.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    What a beauty you were! I love the prizes you won. Some day, we will have to trade college beauty pageant secrets (LOL).

  3. Marian says:

    Lovely photo, Dana, and your honor was well deserved. I, too am impressed by the ability to put out a daily paper. Didn’t know that NYU had been all male until the 60s! By the time I went to college, the idea of a beauty contest would have been cause for a riot, so it is fascinating to see how much changed in such a short time.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Indeed, a very glamourous picture! I noticed the prize also included hair styling and roses. It must have been challenging to be in that first wave of women admitted to The Heights, and I can imagine you did it very well. indeed Kudos.

  5. Dear brown-eyed freshman. What a lovely photo and a great honor, especially as a first-wave woman landing on the NYU shores. Fully armed but not a hair out of place!

  6. Suzy says:

    Love this story, Dana! So glad you shared the news clipping with us – you were a knockout! Did you ever use the 3 months of hairstyling? I agree with Dale about the editor and the cigars, but what a strange prize that was, to give cigars to a beauty queen. What were they thinking?

    • Thanx Suzy!
      I don’t remember using the hairstyling, but surely enjoyed the roses and theatre tix, and I hope Steve enjoyed the cigars!

      I would guess those motley prizes were solicited as donations from local businesses in support of the school!

  7. Susan Bennet says:

    Dana, although we’re not supposed to care about these things (or mention them), I have to concur: knockout picture! A charming, quirky snapshot of that early ’60s time.

    On a sociological note, your story reminds me that the beatification of beauty as the ultimate female virtue continued past the mid-60s. My freshman face book of women, edited by men, contained bogus pictures of girls with sophomoric names like “Helen Mia Partment.” Sigh. Back then I thought it was funny, but by senior year I did not. Long live the Press Queen, however!

  8. Jim Willis says:

    Dana, after a career in journalism, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone getting the honor of press queen! But hey, why not? Why should the different athletic teams have their princesses and queens but not the Fourth Estate? A much belated congratulations!

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