Author, playwright, congresswoman, and ambassador, Clare Boothe Luce was born in New York City on April 10, 1903. She was educated at St. Mary's Garden City, Long Island, New York and The Castle, Tarrytown, New York. She was married to Henry R. Luce in 1935.
Clare Boothe Luce received a number of honorary degrees throughout her career, including a Doctor of Law degree from Creighton University.
“Everything she did seemed to be unprecedented. In her time there were no footsteps to follow. When she was born, in 1903, there was no significant feminist movement, no women politicians, no list of distaff leaders and writers and thinkers. So she created her own women's Consciousness Raising Group: it contained a beauty, a magazine editor, a wit, raconteur, a dramatist, a correspondent, a politician, a religious thinker, a nuclear arms expert, a Presidential advisor, a wife, a mother, a needlepointist, a painter, a mosaicist, an art collector, a scuba diver. And they were all named Clare.” — Henry Luce III, October 13, 1987
Highlights of her long and distinguished career include positions as associate editor of Vogue, associate editor and managing editor of Vanity Fair, newspaper columnist and playwright. In 1943, she was the first woman from Connecticut to be elected to Congress, serving Connecticut's Fourth District until 1947. Later, she was the U.S. ambassador to Italy from 1953 to 1957 and was twice a member of the President's Foreign Allegiance Advisory Board.
Clare Boothe Luce authored Stuffed Shirts (1933), Europe in the Spring (1940), and Saints for Now (1952). Her plays include Abide With Me (1937), Kiss the Boys Goodbye (1938), Margin of Error (1939), Child of the Morning (1951) and Slam the Door Softly (1970). Her most successful play, The Women, opened on Broadway in 1936.
Among the awards she received during her life were the Decorated Knight Order of the Grand Cross, Order of Lafayette, and Dame of Malta. She was the recipient of the Dag Hammarskjld medal which recognizes outstanding contributions in the fields of international cooperation and diplomacy. In addition, she received the Fourth Estate award, the International Achievement award, the Sylvanus Thayer award, the Distinguished Service to Congress award, the American Eagle award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
She served as a member of the Academy of Political Science and was director of the American Security Council, the American Society of Oceanography, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. She was also a member of the National Institute of Social Science, the Hawaii Foundation of American Freedoms, the U. S. Association of Former Members of Congress, the National Federation of Press Women, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the Center for the Book, the Committee on the Present Danger, the National Commission on U.S.-China Relations, The U. S. Strategic Institute, The Council of American Ambassadors, the Hillsdale Associates, the National Society of Literature and the Arts, and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Clare Boothe Luce died on October 9, 1987.