SHSMO Receives the Papers of Environmental Media Leader Hazel Henderson

The Hazel Henderson Papers, recently donated to the State Historical Society of Missouri’s National Women and Media Collection, offers study of an environmental thought leader whose work included nine books and hundreds of articles on sustainability and the growing “green” economy.  Henderson is best known as a futurist, whose book, The Politics of the Solar Age, published in 1981, forecasted the need for the current transition from the fossil fuel era to the 21st century green economy worldwide. Henderson also set her sights on the financial industry with the Green Transition Scorecard, which tracked investments in global and socially responsible green companies. Her earlier articles in The Harvard Business Review during the 1960s and 1970s challenged conventional economic theories to consider pollution, resource depletions and social costs, which had previously not been seen as corporate responsibility.

Henderson, who was born in Britain, became a naturalized U.S. citizen and shared the 1996 Global Citizen Award with Nobelist A. Perez Esquivel of Argentina. She earned Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the University of San Francisco, Soka University in Tokyo, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. In the 1970s the Public Relations Society of America called her “the most dangerous woman in America” for her environmental advocacy. As the owner of Ethical Markets Media, Henderson produced television programs, advertisements, editorials, and publications, which often were translated into multiple languages for syndication around the world.

At age 89, Henderson died May 22, 2022, and her papers were donated by the Hazel Henderson Trust in June 2023. The collection consists of 87 cubic feet of material that includes 244 video cassettes, 67 computer disks, 43 CDs, 165 DVDs, and 396 audio cassettes. It also includes material she produced with her husband, Alan F. Kay. The State Historical Society of Missouri appreciates the donation by the Hazel Henderson Trust, with help from Carol Spalding, Beth Binns Schoellkopf, and Jean Gaddy Wilson.

SHSMO senior archivist Elizabeth Engel considers Henderson’s speeches and articles, along with her environmental research, as among the most important materials in Henderson's papers at SHSMO.  Engel added that the State Historical Society of Missouri is grateful to preserve her story and legacy.

“Hazel Henderson has a truly unique story in the landscape of women and media. She forged her own path by founding a media company that advocated for the environment and a green economy,” said Engel, adding, "Henderson and many others in the National Women and Media Collection have paved the way for others. Their work is valuable to researchers and anyone who wants to study the topic of media and particularly, women who worked in this industry.”