After Stephens’ victory in the 100 meters, she received an invitation from the Fuhrer to visit him in his private box. According to Stephens’ biography, Hitler referred to Stephens as a “true Aryan woman” and invited Stephens and her trainer, Dee Boeckmann, to spend the weekend with him in his country villa.
Stephens and Boeckmann politely declined. After that, Stephens said, Hitler got a little grabby:
“He reached behind me, pinched, and saluted us both, and marched out,” she said.
After the Olympics, Stephens remained in the media limelight when rivals accused Stephens of being a man masquerading as a woman to win races. Look magazine ran a story with Stephens’ photo on the cover with the headline “Is this a man or a woman?” Another article reported that Stephens planned to quit college and move to New York City to work as cocktail waitress.
When all the press made its way to William Woods College, the conservative all-girls school rescinded Stephens’ scholarship for the “distasteful publicity” and accused Stephens of embarrassing the college, according to Stephens’ biographer, Sharon Kinney Hanson.
Stephens remained enrolled at William Woods and instead earned her tuition by working in the library and cafeteria. Stephens eventually sued Look magazine for libel and won $5,500. She graduated with her class in 1937.
Later that year, Stephens signed a contract with a women’s professional basketball team, the All-American Red Heads, with the stipulation that she dye her hair red to match the rest of her teammates. In 1938, Stephens used part of her lawsuit winnings to found her own professional basketball team, the Helen Stephens Olympic Co-Eds, giving Stephens another title: the first female to create, own and manage a pro basketball team.
After the United States entered World War II in 1941, Stephens enlisted in the Women’s Reserve of the U.S. Marine Corps. The war ended before she was sent out on foreign assignment.
In 1946, she landed a spot as a typist at the Aeronautical Chart plant, an NGA predecessor, while also managing her basketball team. That year, the Co-Eds played a game in Fulton, where Stephens was introduced to President Harry S. Truman and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in town for Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College.
In 1950, she was promoted to reference librarian at the ACIC’s technical library and again in 1955 to chief librarian.
Stephens injected levity into her work in a quiet library by drawing caricatures of her office mates and supervisors. She referred to Charles Guenther, her boss, as “Chicken Charlie” and drew cartoons lampooning the antics of “C.C.”, her officemates and the hardworking, curly-haired bespectacled librarian Helen, according to her biography.
Her nearly daily cartoons of office squabbles, obscure military procedure and civil servant protocol drew a variety of ACIC and DMAAC employees to her desk. One of her biggest fans was the then-colonel in charge, who would borrow his favorites to photocopy for himself, Hanson reported in Stephens’ biography.