John Mack Carter, longtime editor of women's magazines, dead at 86

Associated Press

John Mack Carter, who led some of the nation's most popular women's magazines through the height of the women's rights movement, died Friday at age 86, Hearst Corp. announced.

Carter, who had suffered from Parkinson's disease, died at his home in Bronxville.

Continue Reading Below

Between 1961 and 1994, the Kentucky-born Carter was editor-in-chief of McCall's magazine, then Ladies' Home Journal, then Good Housekeeping, which he led for almost 20 years.

Steven Swartz, president and CEO at Hearst, said Carter "was a giant in our industry."

"For decades he led some of this country's most widely read magazines, he mentored a generation or writers and editors and his hugely successful Good Housekeeping helped fuel the growth of today's Hearst Corp.," Swartz said.

Good Housekeeping had a circulation of about 5 million when Carter left.

In 1970, about 100 women invaded his office at Ladies' Home Journal — where the motto was "Never underestimate the power of a woman" — to demand that he resign in favor of a woman. He declined, but according to Hearst he then pushed his magazines "to reflect women's changing roles and needs."

In a 1975 interview, Carter said, "There was more discrimination than I thought. I didn't push our women readers far enough in their self-awareness."

In 1978 Carter was named Headliner of the Year by Women in Communications and in 1985, the National Women's Political Caucus named him a "Good Guy."

Carter started his journalism career in Kentucky at the Murray Ledger & Times in 1945. By 1948 he was an assistant editor at Better Homes and Gardens.

After his long tenures at McCall's, Ladies' Home Journal and Good Housekeeping, he was named president of Hearst Magazine Enterprises to develop new titles. He helped launch County Living, Smart Money and Marie Claire, Hearst said.

Carter is survived by his wife of 66 years, Sharlyn, two children, four grandchildren and a twin sister.

A funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Bronxville.

___

Associated Press news researcher Barbara Sambriski contributed to this report.

.