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Mary Cantwell (1930–2000) was an American-born journalist and novelist. Cantwell served as a member of the New York Times editorial board for sixteen years. She wrote unsigned editorials, novels, and commentary for that newspaper. Cantwell also wrote for Mademoiselle and Vogue during her career. She also composed a trilogy of memoirs later in her life.
Cantwell died in 2000 at the age of 69.
Mary Cantwell was born in Providence, Rhode Island on May 10, 1930  to Leo and Mary Cantwell. She had a younger sister, Diana. She grew up in Bristol, Rhode Island in a largely Protestant neighborhood. Cantwell was brought up Catholic and was singled out in her largely Protestant school. Cantwell graduated from Colt Memorial High School in 1949.
Cantwell worked as a copywriter at Mademoiselle Magazine until 1958. Between 1958 and 1959, she worked as a feature writer for Vogue. Cantwell returned to Mademoiselle in 1962 and was promoted to chief copywriter.
Cantwell's work at the New York Times began in 1980 and included editorials and essays for that newspaper. While at the Times, she wrote a regular column entitled Hers. Cantwell was awarded the Connecticut College Medal in 1983. She also received the Walker Stone Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation in 1986.
Cantwell also published three personal memoirs during the 1990s. (See selected bibliography below)
- American Girl: Scenes from a Small Town Childhood (1992)
- Manhattan, When I Was Young (1995)
- Speaking With Strangers: A Memoir (1998)
- Manhattan Memoir (compilation of former works published in 2000)
- "Cantwell, Mary Lee."The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives. Ed. Kenneth T. Jackson, Karen Markoe, and Arnold Markoe. Vol. 6: 2000-2002. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004.
Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC