National Women and Media Research Guide

Articles in the Missouri Historical Review

  • Lukomski, Jennifer. "From the Stacks: Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia: The National Women and Media Collection."
    Missouri Historical Review 101 (April 2007): 183-186.
  • "National Women and Media Collection Continues to Grow."
    Missouri Times 3 (November 2007): 6.
  • Voss, Kimberly Wilmot. "Celebrating Women and Journalism: Twenty-five Years of the National Women and Media Collection."
    Missouri Times 8 (November 2012): 8.

Biographies

Catalog

Many of the State Historical Society’s holdings are included in Merlin, the shared library catalog of the four University of Missouri campuses. The best terms to search for sources about the history of women working in the media are simply “women,” and “women in media."

Digital Collections

The National Women and Media Collection includes records of women’s organizations and professional and personal papers of women journalists, editors, newspaper and magazine publishers, journalism and mass communication educators, press secretaries, and public relations personnel, as well as radio, television, and film producers and personalities. The digital collection contains the diaries of Los Angeles Times editorial writer Kay Mills, as well excerpts from interviews conducted by Mills.

View National Women and Media Digital Collection

Historic Missourian Biographies

The Society’s Historic Missourians website contains biographies of a number of women who made significant contributions in the field of media.

  • Lucile Bluford - Lucile Bluford was a well-respected editor and publisher of the Kansas City Call, an important African American weekly newspaper. She was also a brave and persistent civil rights activist, challenging the University of Missouri’s policy of excluding blacks and forcefully advocating for racial justice.

  • Martha Gellhorn - Martha Gellhorn was a journalist and writer who became a noted war correspondent. Beginning in 1937 with the Spanish Civil War, she reported on several of the most significant conflicts of the twentieth century, including World War II and the Vietnam War.

  • Mary Paxton Keeley - Mary Paxton Keeley was the first woman graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. A female pioneer in the field of professional journalism, she served as a mentor, teacher, and friend to countless students.

  • Mary Margaret McBride - Mary Margaret McBride was a writer and journalist who became one of the most popular radio broadcasters of the 1930s to the 1950s. She was known as “The First Lady of Radio.”

Manuscripts

The National Women and Media Collection (NWMC) documents the roles women have played in the field of mass communication, both as employees of media organizations and as objects of media coverage. The collection offers opportunities to study how those roles have been altered over time and how attitudes toward women have changed.

The National Women and Media Collection was established in 1987 through the efforts of two University of Missouri School of Journalism graduates, Marjorie B. Paxson and Jean Gaddy Wilson. The NWMC was developed in collaboration with the School of Journalism. The collection includes the records of women’s organizations and the professional and personal papers of women journalists, editors, newspaper and magazine publishers, journalism and mass communication educators, press secretaries and public relations personnel, and radio, television, and film producers and personalities.

View All Women and Media Manuscript Collections

 

Newspapers

Well before Mary Paxton Keeley became the first female graduate of the MU School of Journalism in 1910, women had been making journalism history in Missouri. During the nineteenth century, many women who were related to Missouri editors and publishers assisted their husbands, fathers, and brothers in newspaper work, from typesetting to editing and writing for the papers. While much of this early work went unnoticed, by the turn of the twentieth century a number of women were beginning to gain recognition in the newspaper business.

Some were single women such as Junia E. Heath, the editor and publisher of the Walnut Grove Tribune in Greene County from 1903 to 1916 before moving on to the Wright County Republican in Hartville. The sister team of Eva and Fidelia Mize worked as editors at the Newton County News from 1890 to 1907. Another set of sisters, Jennie and Artie Dickson, also worked as editors at newspapers in Grundy County during the 1910s and early 1920s. Ada L. Wightman worked with her brother Sam Wightman as co-editor and publisher of the Bethany Clipper beginning in 1905.

Other women assisted their husbands or took over their spouse’s newspaper duties when they became ill or died. Christina Graf took over publishing the Hermanner Volksblatt, a German-language newspaper, after her husband, Jacob Graf, died in 1870. She also assumed ownership of the English-language Hermann Advertiser and continued publishing both papers until she sold them to her sons in 1880. The New Cambria Leader was run by several couples over the years, beginning with G. and Nellie Hunton in 1920. They later sold it to Frank and Bettie Robertson. After Bettie died, Frank married his assistant, Jennie Jones, in 1947, and she continued to run the paper after his death the following year.

The stories and professional work of these and many other women editors, publishers, reporters, and columnists can be found in the Society’s newspaper collection. Below is a listing of a number of Missouri newspapers in which women played key roles. Their names, job titles, and dates of employment are included.

For a list of all digitized newspapers, visit the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project.

For a list of newspapers on microfilm at The State Historical Society of Missouri, visit the newspaper catalog.

 

County City Title Also Available On Date Range Name/Role/Dates
Audrain Vandalia Vandalia Leader Microfilm 1880-1882; 1895-1898; 1901-present (incomplete) Lily Herald Frost, Editor, 1907-1922
Boone Rocheport Rocheport Progress Microfilm 1908-1917 Annie Chapman, Editor and Publisher, 1906-1917
Franklin St. Clair St. Clair Chronicle Microfilm 1927-1977 Dorothy O. Moore, Publisher, 1952-1985
Gasconade Hermann Hermann Advertiser Microfilm 1875-1877 Christina Graf, Editor and Publisher, 1874-1877
Gasconade Hermann Hermann Advertiser-Courier Microfilm 1877-1993 Christina Graf, Editor and Publisher, 1877-1880
Gasconade Hermann Hermanner Volksblatt Microfilm 1860-1872 Christina Graf, Editor and Publisher, 1870-1873
Gasconade Hermann Hermanner Volksblatt Microfilm 1875-1879 Christina Graf, Editor and Publisher, 1874-1880
Gentry King City King City Democrat Microfilm 1898-1899; 1903; 1905-1918 (incomplete) Maggie A. Bowman, Editor, 1892-1918
Greene Walnut Grove Walnut Grove Tribune Microfilm 1904-1918 Junia E. Heath, Editor and Publisher, 1903-1916
Grundy Spickard Grundy County Gazette Microfilm 1901-1907; 1910-1922 Jennie Dickson and Artie Dickson (sisters), Editors, 1910-1922
Grundy Spickard Spickard Herald and Grundy County Gazette Microfilm 1907-1910 Jennie Dickson and Artie Dickson (sisters), Editors, 1907-1910
Harrison Bethany Bethany Clipper Microfilm 1905-1922 Ada L. Wightman (with brother Sam Wightman), Editor and Publisher, 1905-?
Henry Clinton Clinton Eye Microfilm 1885-present Amanda E. Moore Woolf (aka “Shawnee Shifters”), Columnist, 1891-1939
Jasper Webb City Webb City Daily Register Microfilm 1903-1907 Alice Creswell Rozelle, Reporter, Editor, and Publisher, 1903-1918
Jasper Webb City Webb City Register Microfilm 1907-1917 Alice Creswell Rozelle, Reporter, Editor, and Publisher, 1903-1918
Johnson Holden Holden Enterprise Microfilm 1876-1937 Dora J. Sankey, Editor, 1876-?
Macon New Cambria New Cambria Leader Microfilm 1914-1961 Editors and Publishers: G. and Nellie Hunton, 1920-1926; Frank and Bettie Robertson, 1926-1943; Jennie Jones Robertson (second wife of Frank), 1947-1950
Marion Hannibal Hannibal Daily Courier Microfilm 1873-1889 Julia M. Bennett, Editor, 1879-?
Newton Newtonia Newton County News Microfilm 1890-1907 Eva and Fidelia Mize (sisters), Editors, 1890-1907
Pettis Sedalia Rosa Pearle’s Paper Microfilm 1894-1909 Elizabeth Dugan, Publisher, 1894-1911
Pettis Sedalia Sedalia Weekly Bazoo Microfilm 1871-1895 Elizabeth Dugan, Editor and Reporter, 1872
Phelps Rolla Rolla Herald Microfilm 1877-1953 Edwarda McCrae Woods, Publisher, 1899-1942
Platte Dearborn Dearborn Democrat Microfilm 1898-1977 Nancy Jane "Jennie" Watson, Editor, 1905-?
Pulaski Waynesville Pulaski County Democrat Microfilm 1902-1917 Mary Louise Wheeler, Editor and Publisher, 1906-1912
Shelby Shelbina Shelbina Democrat Microfilm 1870-1918 Martha Jewett, Editor, 1902-1910
Taney Forsyth Taney County Republican Microfilm 1895-1992 Mary Elizabeth Prather Mahnkey, Columnist, 1930-1948
Wright Hartville Wright County Republican Microfilm 1911-1957 Junia E. Heath, Editor and Publisher, 1916-?