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Mesinger, Maxine | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Mesinger, Maxine

Historical Note:

Maxine Mesinger (1925-2001), author of the social column, "Big City Beat" for the Houston Chronicle from 1964 to 2000. Born in Houston in 1925 to Ella and Julian "Drake" David, Mesinger graduated from San Jacinto High School and attended Texas Women's University, Indiana University, and University of Houston. She married Emil Mesinger in 1944; they have two children, Julianne and Jay.

After a short career in Houston television, Mesinger was hired as a columnist for the Houston Chronicle in 1964. Known for her lively writing style (she coined terms such as "swankienda" and "playcation") and candid access to Houston society, Mesinger's columns intersected with her own life in her famed friendships with notables such as Frank Sinatra, Barbara Walters, Carol Channing, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Shirley MacLaine. Known as "Miss Moonlight", she covered local events as well as happenings on the national scale. Her columns trace Houston's economic and political growth through the lens of an at times outrageous society life. Her Houston Chronicle obituary summarized this by stating "Mesinger watched Houston grow from a dusty cowtown to a sophisticated international city."

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