Remembering a life well-lived

January 21, 2014 11:00 AM

Aidan Smith

Writer and activist Diana Pinckley made countless contributions to the New Orleans community before her death in 2012, but she is especially remembered at Tulane University for her years of service in the University Relations office, where she served as a writer beginning in 1973 and rose to director, a position she held until 1993. She left to begin her own communications consultancy, but remained a supporter of the university.

The late Diana Pinckley

Diana Pinckley is well remembered in the Newcomb Archives, which houses the papers documenting her many civic endeavors on behalf of New Orleans.

In her personal and professional papers now housed at the Newcomb Archives, one gets a glimpse of her thoughts on working in higher education. Many of her journals reveal copious handwritten notes on all her projects, including her pro-bono work for such organizations as the New Orleans Public Library, The Edible Schoolyard and the Crescent City Farmers Market.

Pinckley’s papers also document her participation in the Women of the Storm group, bringing congressional attention to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, as well as her work on the Committee of 21, a women's group devoted to the placement of women in positions of influence in public office and on government boards and commissions.

Many of Pinckley’s books will be preserved at the Newcomb College Institute, including a number of mysteries that reflect her passion for the genre. In addition to her other projects, she wrote the “Get A Clue” column for The Times-Picayune, reviewing nearly 350 mystery books over 23 years.

While her influence was felt across the city, Susan Tucker, archivist at the Newcomb College Institute, notes the collection reveals a commitment to women’s issues.

“Most rewarding is to see in the papers the life Diana led, the activities of productive and joyous personal, professional and caring paths,” Tucker says.

The collection was a gift from Pinckley’s husband, John Pope, on the advice of three of Pinckley’s friends: Susan Larson, Karen Kersting and Emily Clark.

Aidan Smith is external affairs officer for the Newcomb College Institute.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000