These photographs capture Mary Leonard at three stages of a remarkable career in journalism, from her cub reporter days to her triumphal turn as deputy managing editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Mary retires today, but as these pictures show, she has a timeless air to her and the contributions she has made to those she’s covered, edited and mentored have no expiration date.
Those of a tender age will surely not recognize the implement to Mary’s right in the third photograph. It is an instrument known as a typewriter, and for a century, marvelous stories were produced on it. (Mary will remember that occasionally it was used as a weapon, flung at offending colleagues and occasionally out a newsroom window. There is no evidence Mary did either.)
The main photograph in the center captures Mary in her Boston Globe glory, as deputy bureau chief to a tyrant whose name has thankfully been forgotten by history. He hired Mary to help run the bureau, probably the only achievement to his record. In any case, she won the loyalty and respect of a group of journalists who thought they didn’t need any editing and then came to realize that they couldn’t survive without her light but magical touch.
Finally, she fulfilled her lifetime ambition, gave voice to her inner yinzer and moved to Pittsburgh. The woman who once held the conviction that the computer was the greatest time-waster ever contrived by the human mind became a master and then a missionary for all things digital. Along the way she won the allegiance, friendship and loyalty of scores of colleagues. She will continue serve as a PG consultant. You can still reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, but she will not consider it a favor if you call to complain about Cofax.
Mary was one of the early and key advocates for “The Digs,” without her support we wouldn’t be sharing these photographs with our readers.