Rubye Graham Hennessy, a Kentuckian who went on to become a nationally recognized fashion editor and publicist, died April 6 in New York City. She was 85.
Hennessy, a native of Brandenburg, earned a journalism degree from the University of Kentucky in 1949. She wrote a gossip column for the Kentucky Kernel and told Kentucky Alumnus magazine in 1977 that she remembered feeling that "the dean of women was always mad at me for some smart comment I'd made in my column."
Though she graduated with honors, Hennessy was banned from the graduation ceremony at UK because of a minor scandal in which she celebrated the end of her college career by climbing an aerial ladder at Joyland Park. She was too frightened to come down, and two fire departments were called, according to a later Lexington Herald account.
Hennessy quickly made for New York City, where she worked as a fashion coordinator for department stores and held jobs in public relations.
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She later spent 14 years as fashion editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer, covering events in Paris, Rome and London, and Florence, Italy.
She told the Lexington Herald in 1977 that she had encouraged the opening of boutiques and restaurants in Philadelphia in the 1960s.
"A city that wants to sell clothes has to give people a place to wear them," she said. "... When a woman goes to a party for Bill Blass or Yves St. Laurent, she's not going to meet either designer in an old dress. All people need is an incentive, the atmosphere that encourages dressing up. And it takes the clout of an important paper to sow those ideas."
Hennessy spent a few years in the mid-1970s as editor of Seventeen Magazine, where she landed an interview with Princess Caroline of Monaco, who was 17 at the time.
After leaving Seventeen, Hennessy opened a fashion consulting and public relations firm, telling the Lexington Herald that she wanted to be her own boss.
"I've been an editor and learned that you can only earn a certain amount of money as an editor," she said. "And you always have to report to someone else."
She married G. Michael Hennessy in 1977, according to obituary accounts, and together they ran G. Michael Hennessy Furs. He died in 2009.
A death notice printed in The New York Times on Sunday listed her sister, Dr. Nettie King, and a niece, Karen King, among her survivors.
No services are planned. Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in New York City is handling arrangements.