Guide to National Women and Media

Biographies

Marie Anderson

Marie W. Anderson

Reporter and women's editor who worked for the Miami Herald

Marie W. Anderson was born on April 19, 1916, in Pensacola, Florida, to Robert Hargis Anderson and Marie Willard Anderson. Both of her parents were attorneys, although her mother never practiced law. An only child, Anderson grew up in an upper-middle-class family in Jacksonville, Florida, where she attended public school. In 1937 she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University with a bachelor's degree in English. Anderson later recalled, "I wanted to write but there was no major in writing and it didn't occur to me to go to a school that had one. Journalism never entered my mind." Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Marie Anderson Papers (C4074)

Roberta Applegate

Roberta Applegate

Reporter and editor who worked for the Associated Press of Michigan and the Miami Herald

As the first female reporter to work the Michigan state capitol beat, Roberta Applegate developed a reputation as a journalist who earned the respect of her male coworkers during a time when female reporters were still a novelty. "Bobbie's no sissie," her editor, G. Milton Kelly, boasted, "She conducts herself well, knows news and how to get it, and how to keep out of other people's hair. Let's praise a newspaper woman who doesn't try to be a newspaper man." As one of the first female reporters in Michigan, Applegate made successful strides in breaking down gender stereotypes in the male-dominated field of journalism but made her most lasting contributions as a devoted and tough journalism professor at Kansas State University. Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Roberta G. Applegate Papers (C3840)

Dorothy Jurney

Dorothy Misener Jurney

Reporter and editor on newspapers in Indiana, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Dorothy Misener Jurney, hailed as the "godmother of the transformation of the women's page," was a trailblazing journalist who pushed the boundaries of the male dominated field of journalism. At a time when women's pages were expected to report on what fellow journalist Kay Mills defined as the "Four F's – family, food, fashion, and furnishings," Jurney successfully transformed the "look, philosophy, and level of professionalism" of women's pages from soft news to hard news. She successfully shifted the focus of women's pages from society news to serious issues such as the women's movement, female political candidates, and women in the workplace. The advances Jurney made during the course of her career benefited countless female journalists who followed in her footsteps and enriched the lives of her female readers. Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Dorothy Misener Jurney Papers (C3904)

Mary Keeley

Mary Paxton Keeley

First woman graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1910

As the first woman graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Mary Paxton Keeley blazed a trail for the countless female journalists who followed in her footsteps. She laughingly recalled, "When I was a little girl and about to grow up I used to pray, 'Oh Lord, don't let me have a dull life.' My prayer was answered. Sometimes I thought the Lord overdid it." Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Mary Paxton Keeley Papers (C0848)

Sarah McClendon

Sarah Newcomb McClendon

White House journalist and women's rights advocate

The youngest of nine children, Sarah Newcomb McClendon was born in Tyler, Texas, on July 8, 1910, to Sidney and Anna Rebecca Bonner McClendon. Growing up in a home where charity and community service were encouraged, Sarah McClendon was exposed early to suffrage and women's rights issues. Her mother took five-year-old Sarah to suffrage rallies, and stories were later told of the girl delivering suffragette speeches standing on the dining room table. Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Sarah Newcomb McClendon Papers (C2579)

Kay Mills

Kay Mills

Journalist, author, and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times

From an early age, pioneering journalist and author Kay Mills was drawn to journalism as well as history. Her "Log-O'-Life," an extended baby book of sorts, is largely blank, but at fifteen Mills noted she wanted to be either a journalist or a US history teacher. Later, in an application essay for a fellowship at Stanford in 1976, Mills wrote, "Journalism, for me, has always been there. There was never a time when I did not want to be a reporter." May Craig, a newspaper correspondent on Meet the Press, inspired her choice of career, as did her uncle and her father's best friend, who were both journalists. Her uncle worked nights, and Mills thought it wonderful that he did not have to get up early in the morning. Most of all, however, journalism offered a shy Mills the opportunity to ask people questions and to write. Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Kay Mills Papers (C4070)
Digitized Materials

Marjorie Paxson

Marjorie Paxson

Journalist and newspaper publisher who helped established the National Women and Media Collection

Even though Marjorie Paxson's first job as a journalist lasted less than two years, she persevered. Over the course of her forty-two-year career, she fought the limitations of the glass ceiling, rising from reporter to publisher. Her papers reflect the struggle of the women's liberation movement in the 1960s and 1970s and chronicle how some supporters of the movement became casualties. Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Marjorie B. Paxson Papers (C4078)

Beth Short

Beth Campbell Short

Journalist from Oklahoma who primarily worked in Washington, D.C. covering Eleanor Roosevelt for the Associated Press

Elizabeth R. "Beth" Campbell Short was born August 6, 1908, to Thomas and Iris Campbell in Nowata, Oklahoma. She attended Christian College in Columbia, Missouri, from 1925 to 1926 and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1929 with a bachelor's degree and a certificate in journalism. Upon the recommendation of journalist Sigrid Arne, Short applied for a job with the Springfield (MO) Leader. Three days after graduation, she reported for her first day of work at the Leader. As a general reporter, she earned $25 a week, often working seventy to eighty hours a week. Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Beth Campbell Short Papers (C3994)

Lucile Upton

Lucile Morris Upton

Journalist and writer from Springfield, Missouri

Journalist Lucile Morris Upton defied the stereotypical Ozark hillbilly: she was educated, lived in the city, and was a published author. Nonetheless, she happily declared, "I'm a hillbilly –ʼn proud of it!" Upton's lifelong passion for the Ozarks and its history shaped her career as a journalist and writer. Her papers contain valuable information about the region's colorful history, culture, and folklore. Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Lucile Morris Upton Papers (C3869)

Theo Wilson

Theo Wilson

Trial reporter for the New York Daily News

In recent years the newspaper industry has suffered setbacks as papers struggle with a precipitous decline in circulation, fewer ad sales, and fierce competition from online media. The career of Theodora Nadelstein Wilson, known to readers of the New York Daily News as Theo Wilson and hailed as "dean of the trial reporters," illustrates the golden age of newspaper journalism and its subsequent decline. Read more biography

Manuscript Collection: Theo R. Wilson Papers (C3972)