Paige Rense

Paige Rense
Patty Lou Pashong

(1929-05-04)May 4, 1929
Des Moines, Iowa, US
Died January 1, 2021(2021-01-01) (aged 91)
Occupation Writer and editor
Known for Editor of Architectural Digest, 1975–2010
Spouse(s) Richard F. Gardner (m.1950)
David Thomas (m.?–1956)
Arthur F. Rense (m.1958–1974 and 1987–1990)
Kenneth Noland (m.1994–2010)

Paige Rense, also known as Paige Rense Noland (May 4, 1929 – January 1, 2021) was an American writer and editor who served as editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest magazine from 1975 until 2010.[1] She founded the Arthur Rense Prize poetry award.[2][3] Rense also transformed the cooking magazine Bon Appétit into its modern format, was editor-in-chief of GEO, and wrote a mystery novel, Manor House (Doubleday, 1997).[4][5]

Early life

Born on May 4, 1929[6] and adopted as an infant by Lloyd R. Pashong (1895–1988), a Des Moines, Iowa, public-school custodian, and his wife, the former Margaret May Smith (1890–1983), she was originally known as Patty Lou Pashong[7] and took the name Paige as a teenager.[8] By 1940, the family was living at 1014 Douglas Avenue in Des Moines, the residence of her maternal grandmother, Martha Smith; her father then was working as a spinner in a wool mill.[9]

In the early 1940s she and her parents moved from Iowa, to Los Angeles, California. After running away from home at age 15, she worked as an usherette in movie theaters.[10][11]


A high-school dropout, Rense began her career in journalism in the mid-1950s, as a member of the editorial staff of the skin-diving magazine Water World, where her future husband Arthur F. Rense was the managing editor.[12] After leaving Water World she wrote a how-to beauty book and a novel, in addition to articles for Cosmopolitan, and worked in publicity and advertising.[13]

In October 1970 Rense became associate editor of Architectural Digest. Six months later she was named head of the magazine after the murder of its editor-in-chief, Bradley Little, and was appointed editor-in-chief in 1975. She held that position until 2010, having transformed the magazine, which was founded in 1920 as a trade journal, into "a bible for the design world and increasing its circulation to more than 850,000 from 50,000 during her tenure".[14]

At the time of her retirement, she was reported to be working on a book about the career of her late husband Kenneth Noland, the color field artist.[1]

Rense wrote Architectural Digest: Autobiography of a Magazine 1920–2010, in October 2018, which tells the story of Architectural Digest during her tenure as editor.


Rense was the recipient of:

  • The Museum of Arts & Design Achievement Award (2006)[1]
  • The American Academy of Achievement Award (2000)[1]
  • The Pratt Institute Founder Awards (1997)[1]
  • The Interior Design Hall of Fame Award (1985)[1]

Personal life

Rense was married to:

Rense died on January 1, 2021 of heart disease.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Media". Observer. Archived from the original on June 5, 2010. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Arthur F. Rense, Public Relations Executive, 74". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  3. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Letters". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Brown, Patricia Leigh. "Finding Sleaze Amid the Chintz". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  5. ^ Joanne Powell, "Paige Rense, Editor in Chief of Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, and GEO", Washington Journalism Review, May 1983, pp 36–41
  6. ^ Vaill, Amanda (February 21, 1994). "The Only Dame in Town". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  7. ^ Full name given in 1940 U.S. Federal Census, accessed on on January 18, 2017
  8. ^ Name change cited in Amanda Vaill, "The Only Dame in Town", New York Magazine, February 21, 1994, page 37
  9. ^ U.S. Federal Census, 1940, accessed on on January 18, 2017
  10. ^ Childhood move and running away cited in Amanda Vaill, "The Only Dame in Town", New York Magazine, February 21, 1994, page 37
  11. ^ Parents' names, maiden name, age (10 months), and father's occupation cited in 1930 U. S. Federal Census for Des Moines, Iowa, accessed on on October 16, 2010.
  12. ^ Charlayne Varkonyi, "Murder (and Interior Design) She Wrote", Miami Sun-Sentinel, March 21, 1997
  13. ^ Amanda Vaill, "The Only Dame in Town", New York Magazine, February 21, 1994, page 37
  14. ^ Joseph Plambeck, "Editor of Architectural Digest To Retire", The New York Times, June 4, 2010
  15. ^ California Marriage Index, accessed on on January 18, 2017
  16. ^ a b U.S. Public Records Index, 1950–1993, Volume 1, accessed on on January 18, 2017
  17. ^ Florida, Divorce Index, 1927–2001, accessed on January 18, 2017
  18. ^ Rense, Rip. "Art Rense". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "Arthur Rense WordWorks: Obituary". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  20. ^ Dates of marriage and divorce and bride's maiden name stated on the California Divorce Index, 1966–1984, Case No 029389, accessed on on October 16, 2010
  21. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Letters – Awards List". December 19, 2015. Archived from the original on December 19, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  22. ^ Smith, Roberta. "Kenneth Noland, Color Field Artist, Is Dead at 85". Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  23. ^ Rifkin, Glenn (January 3, 2021). "Paige Rense, Trendsetting Editor of Architectural Digest, Dies at 91". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 4, 2021.

Further reading

External links