Clare Boothe Luce

Clare Boothe Luce

Writer + Politician + Ambassador + Journalist and Anti-communist Activist

Clare Boothe Luce was the first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post abroad. A versatile author, she is best known for her 1936 hit play The Women, which had an all-female cast. Her writings extended from drama and screen scenarios to fiction, journalism, and war reportage. She was the wife of Henry Luce, publisher of Time, Life and Fortune. Politically, Luce was a Republican who became steadily more conservative in later life.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Clare Boothe Luce.

  • Ivan Goff, Writer And Producer, Is Dead At 89
    NYTimes - Sep 25, 1999
  • Essay; Absorbing The Outsiders
    NYTimes - Nov 21, 1991
  • Clifford L. Abbey And Clare Luce Are Wed On L.I.
    NYTimes - Apr 24, 1988
  • Clare Boothe Luce Is Remembered
    NYTimes - Mar 06, 1988


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Clare Boothe Luce.


1903 Birth Luce was born Ann Clare Boothe in New York City on March 10, 1903, the second child of Anna Clara Schneider (also known as Ann Snyder Murphy, Ann Boothe, and Ann Clare Austin) and William Franklin Boothe (also known as "John J. Murphy" and "Jord Murfe").
1912 9 Years Old Her parents were not married and would separate in 1912. … Read More


1919 16 Years Old 1 More Event
She attended the cathedral schools in Garden City and Tarrytown, New York, graduating first in her class in 1919 at 16. … Read More


1923 20 Years Old Highly intelligent, ambitious, and blessed with a deceptively fragile blonde beauty, the young Clare soon abandoned ideological feminism to pursue other interests. She wed George Tuttle Brokaw, millionaire heir to a New York clothing fortune, on August 10, 1923, at the age of 20. They had one daughter, Ann Clare Brokaw (August 22, 1924 – January 11, 1944). According to Boothe, Brokaw was a hopeless alcoholic, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1929.
1931 28 Years Old A writer with considerable powers of invention and wit, Luce published Stuffed Shirts, a promising volume of short stories, in 1931. … Read More


1935 32 Years Old On November 23, 1935, she married Henry Robinson Luce, the publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune. … Read More
1939 36 Years Old The latter work "presented an all-out attack on the Nazi's racist philosophy" Its opening night in Princeton, New Jersey, on October 14, 1939, was attended by Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann. … Read More
1941 38 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1941, Luce and her husband toured China and reported on the status of the country and its war with Japan.
1942 39 Years Old In 1942, Luce won a Republican seat in the United States House of Representatives representing Fairfield County, Connecticut, the 4th Congressional District. … Read More


1944 41 Years Old 1 More Event
On January 11, 1944, her daughter and only child, Ann Clare Brokaw, a senior at Stanford University, was killed in an automobile accident. … Read More
1945 42 Years Old She was present at the liberation of several Nazi concentration camps in April 1945, and after V-E Day, she began warning against the rise of international Communism as another form of totalitarianism, likely to lead to World War III.
1946 43 Years Old 1 More Event
Known as a charismatic and forceful public speaker, especially after her conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1946, she campaigned for every Republican presidential candidate from Wendell Willkie to Ronald Reagan.
1948 45 Years Old At the Republican National Convention in 1948, Luce delivered a similarly scathing speech, castigating President Harry S. Truman and his administration. … Read More
1952 49 Years Old Luce returned to politics during the 1952 presidential election and she campaigned on behalf of Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower, giving more than 100 speeches on his behalf. … Read More


She was confirmed by the Senate in March 1953, the first American woman ever to hold such an important diplomatic post. … Read More
1955 52 Years Old As ambassador, Luce consistently overestimated the possibility that the Italian left would mount a governmental coup and turn the country communist unless the democratic center was buttressed with generous American aid. Nurturing an image of her own country as a haven of social peace and prosperity, she threatened to boycott the 1955 Venice Film Festival if the American juvenile delinquent film Blackboard Jungle was shown. … Read More
1956 53 Years Old The episode debilitated Luce physically and mentally, and she resigned her post in December 1956. … Read More
In 1959, President Eisenhower nominated a recovered Luce to be the US Ambassador to Brazil. … Read More


1964 61 Years Old Luce's continuing anticommunism as well as her advocacy of conservatism led her to support Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona as the Republican candidate for president in 1964. … Read More
1967 64 Years Old The Luces stayed together until Henry's death from a heart attack in 1967. … Read More
1973 70 Years Old In 1973, President Richard Nixon named her to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB).
1977 74 Years Old She remained on the board until President Jimmy Carter succeeded President Gerald Ford in 1977. … Read More
1979 76 Years Old In 1979, she was the first female to be awarded the Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy at West Point.
1983 80 Years Old 1 More Event
President Reagan reappointed Luce to PFIAB. She served on the board until 1983.
1987 85 Years Old Luce died of brain cancer on October 9, 1987, at age 84, at her Watergate apartment in Washington, D.C. She is buried at Mepkin Abbey, South Carolina, a plantation that she and Henry Luce had once owned and given to a community of Trappist monks. … Read More
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