One on One with Midge Sherwood—A Testament of Courage (Part II)

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If you missed part one of “One on One with Midge Sherwood—A Testament of Courage,” it can be read online at www.tolucantimes.com.

Midge Sherwood.

Midge Sherwood’s career as a journalist was launched by her interview with Amelia Earhart. Still going strong, she reinvented herself as the first woman PR director of Western Airlines, a published historian and a poet.
Former Governor Pete Wilson has recognized the author for “helping future generations have access to, and an appreciation for, our Golden State’s rich and splendid past.” Sherwood has more books in progress, she has been honored by The National Council for History Education, Rotary International and the International Biographical Society of Cambridge, England, which named her as one of the 1000 women of “excellent achievement throughout the world.” In addition, Sherwood founded The San Marino Historical Society, Huntington Westerners and The Live Poets Society. Adréana: Can you tell me more about your experience in public relations and aviation journalism?
Midge: It was a prolific and lucrative time for print. In those days, I was serving many of the popular newspapers like The Los Angeles Examiner (published by Hearst), The Los Angeles Times and The Los Angeles Evening Herald. I wrote about the leaders in aviation and celebrities like Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, to name a few. When I interviewed Bing Crosby, he asked, “How come you don’t want to be an actress?” At that time, people like Bing were shocked to find a woman in my sector.
Adréana: What was the workplace like for journalists and women in public relations?
Midge: Let me tell you one secret I discovered in the workplace: men do like women. [Midge chuckles.] My work was always very interesting from that standpoint (meeting pilots and the men who were in charge of huge corporations and departments). They were always interested in my being there, especially since I was the only woman. It was a very positive experience; I found the men were always interested in me and how I achieved my position.
Adréana: Can you tell me about your poetry? How many years have you been involved with The Live Poets Society?
Midge: I founded The Live Poets Society at the Huntington Library about ten years ago. It’s a very talented group of staff and researchers from the Huntington Library. We meet once a month and read our original poetry. Thus far, we have published three volumes: California Lyrics, Huntington Lyrics and Garden Lyrics. The group is currently working on another, Huntington Moments. The book will be out next April. The poetry books are available at the Huntington Bookstore, as are all my books.
Adréana: In your historical work, you focused on California. What do you feel is important for us to know about our local history?
Midge: Everything! California is the link between the East and the West. California is vital to our history. We might have wound up (had not there been a Frémont) with the territory of America ending at St. Louis. California became extremely important to the world economy because of the shipping industry. It is also important to note that Frémont could have been President of the United States. He ran for the office and Abraham Lincoln campaigned for him. I explain the story of his life and discoveries in my book Frémont: Eagle of the West.
Adréana: What are your current goals and aspirations?
Midge: I would like to write a memoir along with more history and poetry books. Another one of my goals is to save the press. I worry that if newspapers succumb entirely to the Internet, we are going to lose a vital record of history. A newspaper is a “history book.”
Adréana: Have you always been interested in history?
Midge: Not at all. I was at the university when the Dean of Journalism called me in and asked about my goals. Then he wound up saying, “There is one thing I need to mention. You’re weak in history.” And I replied, “Why would I be interested in history? I’m a journalist.” It never occurred to me then that I should be interested in history, for heaven’s sake! But I never forgot what he said. When I finally understood its importance, I wish I could have told that dean that I finally learned my lesson. Now I want everyone to understand the importance of knowledge in history.

Midge Sherwood’s Event Calendar

  • Jan. 10, 2010: Midge Sherwood’s one-act play, “Peace at Last,” that portrays the Treaty of Cahuenga signing between Frémont and Andres Pico, will be performed at the celebration of this very important event in the history of California. The event is free and open to the public and will be held at Campo de Cahuenga located at 3919 Lankershim Blvd., adjacent to the Universal City Metro. The festivities begin at 1pm. You can get more information at the Web site: www.campodecahuenga.com.

Midge Sherwood’s publications are available at the Huntington Library Bookstore and by contacting Jackson Peak Publishers at jacksonpeakpublishers@yahoo.com.

Ms. Robbins is an author, journalist and Public Relations Director of “The Tolucan Times.” She can be reached at: arobbins@tolucantimes.com.

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