Jean Gannett Hawley (1924-1994) was one of Maine’s most influential figures. As publisher and chair of the board of Guy Gannett Communications, she controlled a company with assets that included four newspapers (including the Portland Press Herald), a radio and a television station (both WGAN, television subsequently becoming WGME) and multi-tenant broadcast towers for 40 years. Hawley inherited control of the company from her father, Guy Patterson Gannett, and was considered a force for public service journalism, managing a company of over 1,700 employees. She personally supported a range of causes from the arts to AIDS.
Maine Media Women (originally Maine Press and Radio Women) was organized in 1952 in Augusta by more than 50 Maine women newspaper and radio writers. Frances Hapgood, society editor for the Portland Press Herald, was the first membership chair and later became president. Agnes Gibbs of Portland station WCSH6 (the NBC affiliate) was the first treasurer. Among their goals are to promote higher standards and broaden opportunities for women in the field.
Note the Fluent Block/former Union Mutual building on the opposite corner at 396 Congress Street (and 120 Exchange Street). Built circa 1871, the top two floors were rented out to the Museum and Opera Theatre, which was run by a popular actress, Fanny Marsh (aka Fanny Stevens Rich). Fanny had been a well-known actress in Boston during the Gilded Age.