Native New Yorker Katharine Meyer Graham (1917-2001) never expected to become the president, publisher, and CEO of the Washington Post, but she thrived in that position—and even helped end a war and a corrupt U.S. presidency by revealing the Pentagon Papers and Watergate to an outraged public. On display in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, this exhibition examines a transformative period in Graham’s life, as her devotion to the Post helped her grow from a self-effacing widow into an authoritative, decisive media executive.
It was this new Katharine Graham—already one of the most important women in America—whom Truman Capote honored with a spectacular Black and White masquerade ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966. Graham’s evening gown and mask, Capote’s tuxedo, and designer gowns worn by famous guests like Aileen Mehle and Brooke Astor bring the “Party of the Century” to life and illustrate how Graham’s contact with new networks of power and celebrity helped consolidate her influence in journalism.
Photographs and other objects chart how—as writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron once remarked—Graham’s “journey from daughter to wife to widow to woman parallels to a surprising degree the history of women in this century.” (Curated by Jeanne Gardner Gutierrez, curatorial scholar in women’s history, and Valerie Paley, senior vice president, chief historian, and director of the Center for Women’s History)
Major support for Cover Story: Katharine Graham, CEO is generously provided by Joyce B. Cowin and Roger and Susan Hertog. Additional support from Helen and Kenneth A. Cowin and Mary and Kenneth Edlow.
Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.