NEW YORK (AP) — Sheila Michaels, a feminist and civil-rights activist in the 1960s who has been credited with popularizing the courtesy title “Ms.,” died June 22 in New York. She was 78.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of New York City’s Congregation Beit Simchat Torah said she was at Michaels’ bedside when she died.

In 1961, Michaels saw the typo “Ms.” on a piece of mail her roommate received and believed it offered women the potential of not being defined by marriage. She was convinced it could be an alternative to “Miss” and “Mrs.”

The term grew in public usage and it graced the title of the feminist magazine Ms. that was started by Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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