Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

St. Louis Regional history comes alive in this joint production by KDHX and the Missouri Historical Society. Stories of our past are connected with the present in these well researched and entertaining short presentations about the people, places, and events that have shaped who we are and who we are becoming. 

Sep 23, 2022

There are many pioneers in women’s history in the lore of St. Louis. One of those was Marguerite Martyn. Her illustrations got her foot in the door in journalism, but she had skills beyond that, and was soon making a name for herself as a daring interviewer. Just press play to hear the whole story.

Click on search links to see if there are episodes with related content: Adam Kloppe, Journalism, Women's History, Civil Rights, People of Note,

Podcast Transcript: I’m Adam Kloppe, public historian with the Missouri Historical Society, and Here’s History on eighty-eight one, KDHX.------

In the early twentieth century, journalism was a male dominated field. But, in 1905, one woman would upend the newsroom of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She wrote reports on some of the most important events of early twentieth century St. Louis. Her perspective proved that women needed to be a part of the newsroom. Her name was Marguerite Martyn. ------

Initially, Martyn was hired by the Post-Dispatch as an illustrator. In 1904, Martyn submitted several sketches of the World’s Fair to the Post-Dispatch. Based on the strength of those drawings, the paper hired her as an illustrator in 1905. Martyn began taking her sketchpad all over town, drawing pictures of the notable people and events of early twentieth century St. Louis. -----

Soon, though, her editors recognized that Martyn had a talent for interviewing in addition to her skill as an illustrator. Over the years, she would interview everyone from socialites to sports team owners to presidential candidates. Oftentimes, Martyn would not schedule interviews with her subjects, but show up unannounced to their homes or hotels to ask for a few minutes of their time. Through her tenacity and personality, she was able to gain trust from nearly every interview subject. That trust got her quotes and insights from subjects that were unique and illuminating. Her writings proved extremely popular, and soon readers were searching for Martyn’s byline. ------

Martyn also campaigned for causes she believed in during her thirty-six years working for the Post-Dispatch. Using both drawings and words, Martyn advocated for things like stronger child labor laws and women’s suffrage. In 1916, for example, Martyn covered the Democratic National Convention in St. Louis, and paid special attention to the Golden Lane suffragists protests, where women held a silent protest to encourage convention goers to support granting women the right to vote. Martyn’s drawings of the protests, and her written takedowns of the men who fought against suffrage, are still effective, and illuminate this important moment in US history in ways that still resonate today. ------

Martyn retired from the Post-Dispatch in 1941. Her drawings and words are still important, and they offer us a unique window into how women navigated St. Louis in the first half of the twentieth century.------

Here’s History is a joint production of KDHX and the Missouri Historical Society. I’m Adam Kloppe, and this is eighty-eight one, KDHX, St. Louis. -----