The American Women who reported World War One
via The American magazine (UK) web site
Historian Chris Dubbs discusses the challenges, the triumphs and the stories of the pioneer American Women who reported the First World War. His book, An Unladylike Profession: American Women War Correspondents in World War I is being published in July 2020, and is available to pre-order now.
Thank you for your time Chris. Our traditional first question - where in the States are you from?
I was born in one corner Pennsylvania, the southeast, in Quakertown, and now live in the opposite corner, the northwest, in Edinboro, just south of Erie.
Your upcoming book, An Unladylike Profession, is about the American women who worked as War Correspondents during the First World War. How did the idea for the book come about?
In 2017, I published a book about the American journalists who covered WW1: American Journalists in the Great War: Rewriting the Rules of Reporting. That book mentioned only a few of the women journalists who reported the war. However, when I later compiled an anthology of war journalism, The AEF in Print (with John-Daniel Kelley), I realized that I had shortchanged the women reporters. There had been far more of them than I realized and their perspective on the conflict had been different than their male counterparts. The challenges they faced, the stories they covered, how they gathered the news — it resonated with a unique voice and outlook on the Great War. I knew then that I had to tell their story.
Today, we're quite used to women on the front line of war correspondence, but what would have been the response to women reporting in the First World War - both in America and Europe?
When veteran reporter for the New York Evening Mail, Rheta Childe Dorr, showed up in Paris to cover the war, an official in the War Office asked her “Why did your newspaper send you over? Why didn’t it send a man?” That was typical of attitudes toward women journalists among civil and military officials. War reporting was men’s work. Those women who persevered found a way to access the war zone and gather the news, but there were usually additional hurdles to overcome. In fact, their determination and ingenuity to cover the war became an interesting element of their reporting.
Read the entire article on The American magazine web site here:
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