Clare Reckert

This New York City native was The New York Times' first female financial writer and among the first women to break into the male bastion of business reporting.

Ms. Reckert, who began her 44-year career at the Times as a secretary for the financial desk, learned writing and reporting on the job. She created her first break by snatching up press releases from reporters' desks while they were out covering their beats, rewriting the releases and topping them with the reporters' names. Reporters thanked her and gave her tips on how to improve the rewrite job.

Her second big break came with World War II. The manpower shortage provided the chance for her to fill in on nearly every job, including reporter, in the financial department.

Her gender was initially masked behind the byline C.M. Reckert. One day when Times publisher Orvil Dryfoos bumped into her in the composing room and discovered she was a woman--"I thought you were a man by the way you write," she recalls him saying--he granted her permission to change her byline to Clare Reckert.

Ms. Reckert says being the only female reporter earned her "pretty nice treatment" from company executives, but she did feel she worked twice as hard as a man to prove herself.

Among her biggest stories: a disagreement between Howard Hughes and TWA, and covering Ford Motor Co.'s first earnings report when the automaker went public.

Ms. Reckert, 78, retired from the Times in 1981.

Back to Honorees