Babette Rosmond

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Babette Rosmond
Babette Rosmond.jpg
Rosmond in 1964
Born(1917-11-04)November 4, 1917
DiedOctober 23, 1997(1997-10-23) (aged 75)
Other namesRosamond Campion
OccupationAuthor, editor

Babette Rosmond (November 4, 1917 – October 23, 1997)[1] was an American author.


Rosmond sold her first short story to The New Yorker at age seventeen.[2]: 403  She published short fiction of her own and with Leonard M. Lake.[2]: 403  She worked as an editor at the magazine publisher Street & Smith, editing two of their most famous pulp magazines, Doc Savage (from 1944 to 1948) and The Shadow (from 1946 to 1948).[2]: 404  Fellow Street & Smith editor John W. Campbell, the legendary science fiction editor, published Rosmond's sf debut, a story co-written by Lake called "Are You Run-Down, Tired-," in the October 1942 issue of Unknown Worlds[2]: 145, 322  and included her story "One Man's Harp" from the August 1943 issue in From Unknown Worlds (1948), an anthology of the best stories from that magazine.[2]: 146 

In 1944, she married lawyer Henry Stone,[2]: 403 [3] brother of Louis Stone of the brokerage firm Haydn Stone, and uncle of director Oliver Stone. They would be married for the rest of her life and they had two children, one of whom is the writer Gene Stone,, the other is James Stone, founder, CEO and Chairman of The Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation.

Rosmond set her debut novel, The Dewy Dewy Eyes (1946), in the world of pulp magazine publishing, featuring a heroine fresh out of college and an editor-in-chief who plans a new glossy paper publication.[4] Her second novel, A Party for Grown-Ups (1948), was about an affair between a married doctor and a wealthy divorcee.[5] Lucy, or the Delaware Dialogues (1952) was about infighting amongst the suburban Delaware family.[6] She also wrote The Children: A Comedy for Grown-Ups (1956), The Lawyers (1962), Error Hurled (1976), and Monarch (1978). She published the satirical novel Diary of a Candid Lady (1964) under the name Francis M. Arroway.

She served as fiction editor of Today's Family (from 1952 to 1953) then worked at Better Living (from 1953 to 1956), and Seventeen (from 1957 to 1975). At Seventeen she was fiction editor and edited a series of anthologies of fiction published in the magazine: Seventeen's Stories (1958), Seventeen from Seventeen (1967), Seventeen Book of Prize Stories (1968), and Today's Stories from Seventeen (1971).[2]: 404 

With actor Henry Morgan she published a collection of the work of humorist Ring Lardner, Shut Up, He Explained: A Ring Lardner Selection (1962). She also wrote a well-received biography of author and humorist Robert Benchley, whom she had met as a teenager, Robert Benchley: His Life and Good Times (1970).[2]: 403–04 

In the 1970s, Rosmond became an important early activist against traditional treatments for breast cancer.[2]: 404 [7] In February 1971 she found an olive-sized lump in her breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer.[2]: 404 [8][9]: 152–53  The traditional treatment was a radical mastectomy, which required removal of the entire breast as well as surrounding tissue, muscle, and lymph nodes. Two of her friends had that procedure and reported being unhappy with their choice and the resulting side effects.[9]: 152  In response to her refusal to undergo a radical mastectomy, her doctor was condescending and insulting and told her she would be dead within three weeks.[8][9]: 153  Through an article in McCall's by Dr. William A. Nolen she learned about Dr. George Crile, Jr. at the Cleveland Clinic.[9]: 153  Crile was a leading advocate in the United States for procedures that removed much less material, a simple mastectomy, which only removes the breast, and a lumpectomy, which removes only a small amount of tissue. Then extremely controversial, these treatments are now standard instead of using a radical mastectomy in all cases. Crile performed a successful lumpectomy on Rosmond and her cancer did not reappear until the late 1990s.[8][9]: 154  She said "I think what I did was the highest level of women's liberation. I said 'No' to a group of doctors who told me, 'You must sign this paper, you don't have to know what it's all about.'"[8]

Under the name Rosamond Campion, she began writing about her experiences. Her article in the February 1972 issue of McCall's, "The Right to Choose", generated more mail than any article in that publication's history.[9]: 141  Some 80 percent of the mail was in support of her decision and many of the letters were from women who asked how to contact Dr. Crile, whose name she had withheld at his request.[9]: 158  She told her story in a book, The Invisible Worm (1972), which takes its title from the poem "The Sick Rose" by William Blake.[9]: 152  She appeared on a number of television programs, including a 1973 episode of The David Susskind Show where she and Crile debated two surgeons and two breast cancer survivors all opposed to her position.[2]: 405 [9]: 165–66  Public activism like Rosamond's caused a drastic transformation in how patients and doctors interacted regarding breast cancer and prompted a growing rejection of more radical procedures in favor of more informed decision making by the patient.[2]: 405 [9]: 141–42 

Rosmond died in 1997. Her breast cancer never recurred.[10]


  1. ^ "Babette Rosmond." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Gale Biography In Context. Web. July 24, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Davin, Eric Leif (2006). Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction 1926–1965. Lexington Books. ISBN 0-7391-1266-X.
  3. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths STONE, BABETTE ROSMOND". The New York Times. October 25, 1997. pp. D16. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  4. ^ MacBride, James (July 7, 1946). "Love – at 1/2c a word". The New York Times. p. 105.
  5. ^ B.V.W. (January 11, 1948). "A Party for Grown-Ups by Babette Rosmond". The New York Times. p. 22.
  6. ^ Anderson, Louise (February 10, 1952). "Too Many Martinis". The New York Times. p. 242.
  7. ^ Lerner, Barron H. (March 2002). "Breast cancer activism: past lessons, future directions". Nature Reviews Cancer. 2 (3): 225–30. doi:10.1038/nrc744. PMID 11990859. S2CID 35066322.
  8. ^ a b c d Klemesrud, Judy (December 12, 1972). "New Voice in Debate on Breast Surgery". The New York Times. p. 56.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lerner, Barron H. (March 15, 2003). The breast cancer wars: hope, fear, and the pursuit of a cure in twentieth-century America. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-516106-9. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  10. ^ Lerner, Barron H. (June 13, 2012). "The Right to Choose Your Cancer Treatment". The New York Times.

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