Paula Kassell

Paula Kassell

New Directions for Women, vol. 1, no. 2 (Fall 1972), page 1.
Image courtesy of the Special Collections & University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ

Paula Kassell (b.1917) founded and edited New Directions for Women in New Jersey, the first feminist publication in the country.

In 1972, the publication took on the form of a mimeographed newsletter but quickly became a tabloid-size quarterly newspaper. It filled the need for no-nonsense reportage from a feminist perspective. At a time when women’s issues were not regularly or fairly covered in the mainstream press, the newspaper ran the state, national, and international news stories. It also featured book reviews, women’s history articles, and editorials. The concept for the publication grew from the initial seeds planted at a 1971 statewide feminist conference of the same name. Kassell coordinated the conference, which attracted 350 participants and covered political, legal, economic, and social issues affecting women at the time.

A women’s rights advocate all her life, Kassell joined the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966. She was also a member of the Women’s Equity Action League and worked to integrate help wanted ads in local newspapers. From then on there were no more separate Male and Female ads. Following her long tenure as editor of New Directions, Kassell embarked on a new project as the United Nations representative for the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press. She also served as vice-president of the national association comprised of media women and media-concerned women.

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