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1974 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Clare Boothe Luce*

Playwright, Actress, Former Congresswoman
Former Ambassador & Lecturer

"Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, 'She doesn't have what it takes.' They will say, 'Women don't have what it takes.'"

Clare Booth Luce was born in relative poverty. Her father, a violinist, abandoned the family when she was nine. With the aid of friends and scholarships, Luce attended private schools, graduating at the top of her class. After graduation, she took a job in a paper factory for $18 a week. With this money, she studied typing and shorthand. She went to work as an editorial assistant for Vogue in 1930. A year later, she joined Vanity Fair as an associate editor. In 1935, Luce began writing plays, which included The Women, Kiss the Boys Goodbye, and Margin of Error. During World War II, she traveled to Africa, India, China, and Burma for Life magazine. She served two terms in the U. S. House of Representatives. In 1952, President Eisenhower appointed her ambassador to Italy. In 1983, President Reagan awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

* Deceased