Strong, B. Jean
B. Jean Strong was born on July 19, 1925 to Walter and Thelma Strong in Marion, IA. She graduated in 1943 from Springville High School. In 1949, Strong began working editor and manager at Central Point Weekly. She also took classes at the University of Iowa, earning a BA in Journalism in 1951. After, she accepted a position at the Cedar Rapids Gazette as a feature writer and photographer. Her work there was acknowledged with awards, both on an international level for her photography, and on a state level for her photography and reporting.
In 1954, Strong accepted a position as a reporter and researcher at Times Inc. in New York City. She began at LIFE magazine, with a focus in the foreign and domestic news department. Strong also planned and executed the first two LIFE auto tours: a 1958 tour through New England and a 1959 one through the Rockies. The Princess Margaret tour, a 1955 story that had Strong accompany the Princess through the Caribbean, was the LIFE's first fast-color lead story. After spending leave touring Western Europe, Strong was assigned to LIFE's 1959 Special Issue on The Good Life. In March of 1960, she transferred to Fortune magazine.
In 1962, Strong returned to Cedar Rapids, IA, where she worked as the editor of the weekly newsletter Marion Sentinel. In 1964, she founded a magazine titled Iowa Illustrated, and also did consultant work for public relations in government regional and national training programs. In 1968, she began work as an insurance agent until 1971, when she became the associate editor for Farm Journal in Philadelphia, PA, coordinating the publication of 36 books.
In the fall of 1973, Strong moved to Washington D.C. and began working as a project director at the U.S. House of Representatives, reporting to the Republican Congressional Committee and Minority Whip. After two years, she accepted a position as a Washington representative through Truax, Smith and Associates, Inc, in Wilmington, DE. There, she conducted client feasibility studies for Dupont and the U.S. Treasury, among others. In 1978, she became a researcher at Time-Life Books in Alexandria, VA, where she stayed until her retirement in 1986.
In retirement, Strong continued to write from her home in Arkansas. Her book A Prairie Almanac, 1839-1919 was published in 1996, and the The Marion Library: Doorway to the Future, Picture Window on the Past, a tribute to her hometown's library hundredth year, was published in 2005. Strong also co-wrote and compiled a book titled Never Say Never, The Walter B. Strong Family, which was a 2008 publication.