Ruth Gruber (1911 – 2016) led a life that was so incredible, it could have been a movie. And in fact, just one of the many courageous episodes in her 105-year life was made into a film. Ruth’s multi-faceted career as a journalist and documentary photographer isn’t as well known as it should be, and as with many women who were ahead of their time, deserves to be revisited and celebrated.
The daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Ruth was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She was a brilliant student with a passion for Jewish culture, and always loved to write. At age fifteen she started college and was only twenty when she completed her doctorate in 1931 at the University of Cologne in Germany. That made her the world’s youngest Ph.D. at the time. Read More→
Alice Allison Dunnigan (April 27, 1906 –May 6,1983) was the first African- American female correspondent to receive White House credentials. She was also the first black female member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives press galleries. She covered Harry Truman’s 1948 presidential campaign, another first for an African-American female journalist.
A true trailblazer, Alice Dunnigan was known for her tough, forthright questions. Her gutsy approach led her from journalism into a position that spanned the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. It’s an exciting development that the Newseum in Washington, D.C. unveiled a life-size statue of her in 2018, honoring her contributions to American journalism. Following a brief exhibit at the Newseum, the statue will be moved to Alice’s hometown of Russellville, Ky., where it will be installed on the grounds of the West Kentucky African American Heritage Center, a venue dedicated to the civil rights movement. Read More→
Dickey Chapelle (March 14, 1919 – November 4, 1965) was a pioneering American war correspondent and photojournalist who covered world conflicts from World War II to Vietnam.
Born Georgette Louise Meyer, she was fascinated by air travel throughout her childhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She renamed herself after the explorer Admiral Richard “Dickey” Bird.
Even as a child, Georgie Lou, as she was called, marched to her own drum. She was short and nearsighted, and always quirky and precocious. From a young age, she dreamed of flying planes. She was patriotic — always saluting the flag on her way to school. “I believed I could do anything I wanted to do, and I still believe it.” Read More→
Mary Ann Shadd Cary (October 9, 1823 – 1893) was best known for launching a newspaper, The Provincial Freeman, while living in Windsor, Ontario in Canada. She has the distinction of being the first woman publisher of any race or background in Canada, and the first African-American woman publisher in all of North America.
In her role as editor and writer for the Freeman, Mary Ann advocated for the black community in Canada and beyond. She worked tirelessly to break down the dual barriers of race and gender. An active participant in the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S., she also lectured widely on education and self-reliance. Later in life, she became an attorney. Read More→
These six female journalists of the World War II era, who reported on and documented from the field, pushed gender-defined barriers and fought for what they believed in, paving the way for women correspondents who came after them. They contributed to history with their groundbreaking work and bravery as journalists, photographers, and correspondents during the world war and in some cases beyond. At right, Ruth Baldwin Cowan’s WW II press credentials. See more about her later in this post. Read More→