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-?|