Annie Rudd: „Not early enough is made use of women“ Redicovering Ernestine Evans

Introduction: The history of American journalism, as it tends to be taught today, presents its students with a fairly homogeneous syllabus as far as gender is concerned. Women journalists, if they appear at all, are few and far between; they are particularly scarce in the first half of the twentieth century – as if there was a kind of interregnum between Nellie Bly and Joan Didion – in spite of growing numbers of women entering the profession of journalism during these decades. Our growing realization, today, that there were women journalists in considerable numbers – and that they did not all fall within the rather uniform categories of society writer, suffrage crusader or “stunt girl” that stick out in the historical record – serves as a compelling reminder that our “histories” are a cumulative process, not a product; they are subject to revision. The more we seek historical accounts of the careers, and the quotidian activities, of “average” female journalists, the more we realize just how rare such accounts are: omissions from the historical record may not look like omissions to begin with, but in time, we may realize that they are glaring ones. A healthy suspicion, then, of the existing “history of journalism” is important – is, in fact, essential to the project of reinstating women. It is only in interrogating and interrupting the historical record that we can work towards rectifying it, reintroducing women into the equation, however incremental that process might be…

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