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DEEN, EDITH ALDERMAN

DEEN, EDITH ALDERMAN (1905–1994). Edith Alderman Deen, newspaper columnist and best-selling author, was born in Weatherford, Texas, on February 28, 1905, to James and Sarah (Scheuber) Alderman. She graduated from Lufkin High School and attended Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College and Texas Christian University before beginning a newspaper career at the Fort Worth Press in 1925. She was women's editor and columnist for the Fort Worth Press from 1925 to 1954. Her first book, All of the Women of the Bible, was developed from a series of her columns on women in the Bible. Her husband, former Fort Worth mayor Edgar Deen, a retired Armour and Company executive, urged her to retire from the Press to write a book. All of the Women of the Bible was published in 1955 by Harper and Row. When the paperback edition was published in 1988, the book was in its third edition, fortieth printing. After her initial book, Mrs. Deen continued to write on biblical subjects. Great Women of the Christian Faith (1959), Family Living in the Bible (1963), The Bible's Legacy for Womanhood (1970), All the Bible's Men of Hope (1974), and Wisdom from Women in the Bible (1978) followed. Five of her books were Christian Herald Family Bookshelf selections, and sales of her six books, published in several editions and many languages, including German, Korean, and Japanese, exceeded two million copies. Jack Suggs, a biblical historian, theologian, and dean emeritus of Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, praised Edith Deen's work because it "excited interest in the contents of the Bible."

The former Edith Alderman was married twice. Her first husband, France Guedry, died less than two years after their marriage. She and Edgar Deen were married on December 30, 1945, and she moved her office into his North Side Fort Worth home and wrote her column from there until 1955. She was in her fifties when she entered Texas Woman's University to complete her degree in journalism. She continued her studies to receive her master's degree in 1960 from Texas Woman's University; Family Living in the Bible grew from her thesis. Mrs. Deen was not only a student at TWU, but a regent of the university for twelve years. In 1959 TWU gave her an honorary doctor of letters degree. Texas Christian University gave her an honorary doctorate in 1972. She was elected to the Fort Worth City Council in 1965, the third woman to serve on the council. She ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1967 against a candidate who opposed an urban renewal plan Mrs. Deen favored. In 1963 she was named a National Headliner, the top award given by Theta Sigma Phi, now Women in Communications. She was a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the first Texas Commission on the Status of Women, and was the Altrusa Club's First Lady of Fort Worth and the Zonta Club's executive woman of the year. The Women's Civic Club Council named her a distinguished senior citizen of Fort Worth. In 1960 she was presented the Brotherhood Citation by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. She was a member of the Disciples of Christ Church. Mrs. Deen lectured nationwide, speaking to such groups as the United States Conference of Mayors and the National Council of Churches. Her husband died on May 29, 1967. In 1982 Mrs. Deen donated the couple's 4,000-book library to the Texas Christian University Library and Archives. Included in the collection were twenty-nine years of her daily columns, book manuscripts, speeches, and personal correspondence with John F. Kennedy, Lady Bird and Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Jim Wright, and John B. Connally.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 4, 9, 1994. Who's Who of American Women, 1961–62.

Cissy Stewart Lale

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Cissy Stewart Lale, "DEEN, EDITH ALDERMAN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdeed), accessed November 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.