Inspired to a writing career from an early age, Frances Helen Lee began publishing her written works in her school’s publications when she was in sixth grade. Following high school, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Queens College and embarked on her career as an editorial assistant at the Christian Herald Family Bookshelf in 1957, where she worked reading manuscripts and writing reports and critiques on them. During this time, she joined New York University and earned a Master of Arts in journalism in 1962.
From 1964 to 1966, Ms. Lee worked with Gordon & Breach Science Publishers Inc., which was followed by time with the American Electric Power Company, Inc., where she worked on the AEP Operating Ideas magazine from 1966 to 1969. Active with the Industrial Water Engineering magazine from 1969 to 1971, she then joined United Business Publications, operating as the directory editor for the photographic division from 1971 to 1980. Notably, the directory that she worked on was published in Spanish in South America and made a large impact on businesses in Venezuela, and she cites this moment among the highlights of her career.
From there Ms. Lee joined the Hearst Corporation, by far the largest company she ever worked for, where she met a number of truly wonderful and friendly professionals. A member of the Hearst Books division, she was the editor for the American Druggist Blue Book, a listing of all available drug products for pharmacists, from 1980 to 1981, and returned to this role from 1982 to 1988. Over the course of her tenure with Hearst, she also served as the special projects coordinator for motor manuals and the editor for the New Price Report. Since 1988, Ms. Lee has excelled as a freelance editor and consultant.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Lee has held leadership roles with a number of professional organizations. She was a member of the New York Business Press Editors, where she served on the board of directors from 1988 to 1990 and as the secretary from 1990 to 1991, and the Women’s Equity Action League, where she chaired the research committee. Furthermore, she has been involved with the New York University Club; the New York University Alumni Federation, serving as director emerita since 2007; and the New York University Alumnae Club, where she was director from 1976 to 1978 and president from 1982 to 1984, among other roles.
Her civic contributions have included early work as the supervisor for the Bronx division of the New York State Civil Defense Commission from 1953 to 1959 and nearly two decades as chair, co-chair, and board member of the Citizens’ Union Committee on New York City Cultural Concerns between 1979 and 1998. She has volunteered with the New York City Opera since 1988 and was an information project manager in 2001, and also spent time in leadership positions with the Villa-Lobos Music Society. She was the secretary for the East End Temple sisterhood from 2008 to 2014.
Motivated throughout her career by the connections and relationships she made in her work, Ms. Lee has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades over the years. The New York University Alumni Federation notably presented her with a Certificate of Honor in 1985 and a Meritorious Service Award in 1986. She has also been featured in countless Marquis Who’s Who publications, including the first edition of Who’s Who in the Media and Communication and multiple editions of Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, Who’s Who in Finance and Business, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who of American Women.