Volume 45, No. 2, June 2019
The June issue contains articles by Aaron Atkins, Pete Smith, Sheila Webb, Jason Lee Guthrie, and Candi Carter Olson and Erin Cox. Interested in reading these articles? Get information on subscribing here.
“Your Paper Saved Seattle: E.W. Scripps and the Star’s Role in the General Strike of 1919,” Aaron Atkins (Podcast Interview)
This article examines the role of E. W. Scripps and one of his pillar newspapers, the Seattle Star, in the General Strike of 1919, the first citywide, multi-union labor action to receive a “general strike” designation in the United States. It profiles a prominent figure in American journalism, as well as his daily newspaper’s coverage of a pivotal event in American labor movement history, analyzing Scripps’s response to one of his editors breaking from his business model and turning against the working class during a time of civic turmoil. While Scripps eschewed the spotlight and built his business on selling affordable newspapers to the working class, in his business dealings, Scripps was an ardent capitalist. Illustrating these contradictions, this article explores the ways Scripps responded to the labor strike when its deployment hurt his business interests, citing his personal essays, disquisitions, letters, and newspaper coverage from the Seattle Star.
“Raising Unshirted Hell: The Journalism of Norma Fields, State Capitol Correspondent for the Northeast (MS) Daily Journal,” Pete Smith (Teaching Essay)
This article examines the career of journalist Norma Fields, who worked for the Northeast (MS) Daily Journal for twenty-four years (1964–1988), first as a part-time stringer and then as a political correspondent covering the state capitol in Jackson. The research featured herein analyzes the type of stories she covered, the content of her weekly political column, her style of reporting, and how each may have influenced state policy. The findings illuminate Fields’s influence as the first woman to cover the Mississippi state capitol on the perceptions of women journalists held by members of the state government. Fields’s story adds to a growing body of literature in the areas of women’s history and journalism history, which has omitted the experiences of women political correspondents at the state level, and this article describes a brand of journalism and set of professional experiences that challenged the status quo.
“The Delphian Society and Its Publications: A Historical and Cultural Analysis of a Primer for Middle-Class Women’s Education,” Sheila Webb (Research Essay)
This article examines the publications of the Delphian Society and describes the 1910 historical backdrop in which the society was founded. It analyzes the importance of the adult-education and self-culture movements and places the Delphian publications within the progressive milieu and the development of women’s clubs. These publications were unique in the era, as no other texts, institutions, or organizations were devoted to women’s education at the highest level or fostered deliberative social interaction and civic advancement. The study identifies an understudied organization and considers how its publications provided education to adult women at a moment in history when their roles in American social and civil life changed dramatically. The textual examination shows the construction of an imagined community and the function of the society as a cultural intermediary. Ties are made to foundational citizenship narratives, including Republican Motherhood and the “ideal” citizen, both of which embodied the notion that educating women would aid in maintaining a stronger republic.
“Ill-Protected Portraits: Mathew Brady and Photographic Copyright,” Jason Lee Guthrie (Podcast Interview)
This article focuses on Mathew Brady’s attempts to use copyright to protect his photographs. For a time, Brady received so much credit in the press that his name became synonymous with all photographs of the Civil War. This prominence in the photography trade and in the public imagination makes Brady’s use of copyright an ideal case for considering the relationship between photography and authorship. The research of this study cites relevant archival sources, including copyright registration practices, copyright notices on printed photographs, and the case of Brady & Gibson v. Bellew (1865) to demonstrate deliberate attempts by Brady to protect his work from infringement, secure economic compensation, and link his name legally with the images he believed would have enduring value. While copyright ultimately failed to protect Brady’s long-term financial interests, part of his attribution strategy established him as a photographic “author” and ensured that his name would remain linked with his photographs.
“A Mighty Power: The Defenses Employed by Utah’s Women against Disenfranchisement by the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887,” Candi Carter Olson and Erin Cox (Podcast Interview)
In 1887, the U.S. Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, a law that disenfranchised the women of Utah Territory, even though they had the vote for more than a decade. Utah’s women, both Mormon and non-Mormon, used their public forums (including the Mormon women’s periodical the Woman’s Exponent and an indignation meeting that overflowed the Salt Lake Theater with more than 2,000 people) to speak out as their own best defenders against the indignities heaped on them by this law. Analysis of these women’s writings shows that they used three primary arguments in their own defense. First, the people who wrote the law framed their image of the women affected by the law as that of uneducated children or savages who were subordinate to their husbands’ will. Second, the law violated the women’s constitutional rights as citizens of the United States. And, third, the law framed the women as criminals by revoking constitutional rights without due process.