Papers of Harry S. Truman
|1908 (January 20)||Born Florence Freidman, New York City|
|1946||Special Consultant, Famine Emergency Committee|
|1946 (December 27)||Married publisher Gardner Cowles, changed name to Fleur Cowles|
|1947||Asssociate Editor, Look magazine|
|1949||Associate Editor, Quick magazine|
|1950||Founder and Editor, Flair magazine|
|1953-55||Member of national advisory committee on women's participation in Civil Defense Administration|
|1953 (June)||Special representative of President Eisenhower (with rank of special Ambasador) at coronation of Queen Elizabeth II|
|1955||Divorced, married Tom M. Meyer|
|1959||Author, The Case of Salvador Dali|
|1960s-1990s||International one-woman art exhibitions|
|1996||Author, The Best of Flair|
|2009 (June 5)||Died, Sussex, England|
Fleur Fenton's brief career in the Truman Administration was just one of a multitude of professions in which she gained distinction. At the time of her appointment as consultant to the Famine Emergency Committee, Fenton also held business interests in an advertising agency and in motion pictures, both of which she maintained, although with less priority, during the Famine Emergency Campaign of 1946. Under her married name, Cowles, she went on to achieve success in the world of journalism as Associate Editor for both Look and Quick magazines, and also founded the acclaimed yet short-lived art/style/literary magazine Flair. As Fleur Cowles, she wrote more than 10 books, including an authorized biography of Salvador Dali, and has won international fame as a surrealist/magical realist painter, appearing in more than 51 one-woman exhibitions around the globe. She also received honorary commendations from France, Great Britain, Brazil, Greece, and Spain. But even before she achieved such multi-faceted international presence as Fleur Cowles, in 1946 Fleur Fenton was already being introduced abroad as "America's Million Dollar Girl".
These files document Fenton's work with the Famine Emergency Committee in 1946 after her appointment in the early spring of that year, working under the close supervision of the Committee Chairman, Chester C. Davis. As a Special Consultant in the Media Programming Division of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, Fenton's role was to organize publicity for the Famine Emergency Campaign in an effort to inform and mobilize the public towards conservation. The Campaign's platform was an appeal to the American people to help fight famine and save lives by cutting down on their household cereal consumption by 50% and growing "victory gardens" to provide nutritious fruits and vegetables as substitutes for the forsaken calories. The idea was that with such conservation practiced on a mass scale, food distribution would be altered, freeing up more grain for export. This platform appealed to the American sentiments of fear and compassion by emphasizing the millions of children in Europe who would die of starvation by the end of the year, as well as the unstable political environment that a world of empty stomachs and desperate souls would engender.
The collection has only one series, a Subject File. The folder topics cover the many media organizations Fenton communicated with as well as the personal correspondence and intra-Committee memoranda she amassed over the course of a few months, both before and after her postwar trip to Europe during which she witnessed the threat of famine firsthand. In the collection are several transcripts of radio broadcasts Fenton helped write and organize, promoting food conservation and informing the public of the ongoing crisis beyond U.S. borders. Through her correspondence, Fenton also coordinated Famine Emergency Campaign publicity in several magazines, including Time, Life, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen. The files provide insight into the wide network of communications required to launch a national campaign and mobilize the American people to action during a critical few months in 1946.
|1-2||SUBJECT FILE, 1946|
|Radio scripts, memoranda, notes, telegrams, letters, receipts, newspaper clippings, and other items. Arranged alphabetically.|