Thomas was the first woman to join the White House Correspondents’ Association, and the first woman to serve as its president. She was also the first female member of the Gridiron Club, Washington’s historic press group. She served for 57 years at United Press International, first as a correspondent then as a White House bureau chief, before becoming a columnist for Hearst Papers.
“Former Gridiron Club president Helen Thomas, our first female member, died Saturday morning at her Washington apartment after a long illness,” Gridiron’s Carl P. Leubsdorf wrote in an email to members. “She would have been 93 next month.”