Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Kansans of the Great War Era: Peggy Hull

The first woman war correspondent accredited by the United States War Department, Peggy Hull spent the better part of 31 years reporting on the American soldier.  Born Henrietta Eleanor Goodnough near Bennington, Kansas on December 30, 1889, Peggy grew up in Marysville and later lived in Junction City.  It was at the latter that determined to become a reporter for the Junction City Daily Sentinel. 

She eventually worked for newspapers in several statesBy 1916, she was working for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was assigned to cover the Ohio National Guard assigned to the Mexican border while John J. Pershing pursued Poncho Villa after Villa’s raid on Columbus, New Mexico.  She began writing for the El Paso Morning Times, where she wrote about Pershing’s return for Mexico.

The following year she convinced her editor to send her to France to cover the World War.  Having a connection to General Pershing allowed her to report in spite of the fact the War Department had not accredited her.  She finally received the accreditation she wanted, and was permitted to cover war for the Great War and into World War II.

She married three times, and took her last name from her first husband.  After World War II, she moved to California, where she lived until her death on June 19, 1967.

Wilda M. Smith and Eleanor A. Bogart wrote a biography, The Wars of Peggy Hull:  The Life and Times of a War Correspondent, in 1991 (published by the Texas Western Press.)

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.

2 Comments

  1. Adrienne Landry Dunavin

    I love this! I first learned about Peggy Hull while reading a KU Spencer Research Library blog post by a student intern: http://blogs.lib.ku.edu/spencer/peggy-hull-deuell-a-conservation-internship/

    Fascinating stuff!

  2. Blair Tarr

    Peggy Hull seems to surface every now and then, and she probably deserves a little more attention during the Centennial. Thanks for posting the link for the KU blog!

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