Pure Moxie

A memoir by Leda Sanford

Impetuous Leda Sanford abandoned secure suburbia in the 1960s in exchange for a life on the edge, as a top magazine editor and publisher, in the competitive and male-dominated Manhattan magazine publishing world.

Her new memoir, Pure Moxie, is set in the 'Mad Men' period of magazine publishing and advertising — complete with the day drinking, romance, scandal and drama.

Pushing the magazine industry's hidebound standards

Unorthodox entrepreneurs hired Sanford at a time when women rarely occupied corner offices. Pure Moxie recreates a world of jet-setting opulence many women can only fantasize about—private planes, five-star hotels, and a state dinner at the White House—plus a headline-making affair.

In 1975, Sanford became the first female publisher of a major U.S. magazine (American Home) with a circulation of more than one million. Sanford was under-qualified for the position and her installation as president, publisher and editor-in-chief of American Home Publishing shocked the magazine community.

AmericanHome magazine.jpg

This January 1976 cover of American Home (above) marked the beginning of the magazine's repositioning, which Sanford spearheaded. She was dubbed the "happy housecleaner" as she made sweeping changes in the organization. This issue radically altered the image of the magazine and introduced a new philosophy for home management. 

From her American Home launch pad, Sanford continually pushed the industry's hidebound standards as she directed the creation of award-winning magazine Attenzione as well as marketing and promotion strategies for magazines that includedChief Executive, Bon Appetit, AARP's Modern Maturity, and Age Wave's Get Up and Go!. In the early 1990's, Sanford shifted her focus to promoting a new attitude toward aging, emphasizing how reinvention can enrich one's life.


Attenzione magazine.jpg

This June 1980 cover of Attenzione exemplifies the design of the magazine, which won the American Society of Magazine Editors National Magazine Award for design excellence in 1981. Sanford, with her Art Director Paul Hardy, created this magazine for Italian Americans.

The award for excellence in design said "Attenzione lives up to its name. The magazine's editor and art director have achieved a rapport that expresses itself in beautiful and always appropriate layouts ... The approach toward design is con brio, as the Italians say it: with life, with animation. Attenzione is a handsome, vivid and appealing magazine."