Peggy Hull, U. S. War Correspondent: 1889-1967
by C.K. Thomas
In 1918, Peggy Hull’s appointment as the first woman to be officially accredited by the War Department as a U.S. War Correspondent changed a longstanding policy of barring women from such a designation. Certainly to her advantage were friendships with Brigadier General John J. Pershing, who famously pursed Poncho Villa into Mexico in 1916, and General Peyton C. March, Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army.
During the nine months Pershing pursued Poncho Villa, Hull reported to the El Paso Morning Times on the daily lives of National Guard troops stationed in camps along the Texas-Mexico border. Both Pershing and March knew Hull from her Mexico border conflict articles and also from her six weeks of artillery training camp reporting to both the Morning Times and the Army Edition of the Chicago Tribune.
“Her account in the Morning Times of Pershing’s return with his troops is thought to be one of the most descriptive and accurate of the newspaper reports of the event.”* The headline on this Morning Times front page story read: “Pershing’s Ten Thousand Back from Mexico, Silent, Swarthy, and Strong.” On page 4 of this article, a photo shows Peggy Hull on horseback at the front of the column of returning soldiers, captioned, “Peggy Rides at Head of Cavalcade of Distinguished United States Army Officers.” (See the link below to read this beautifully written piece.)**
The names Peggy Hull and Peggy Hull Deuell were pseudonyms used by Henerietta Eleanor Goodnough, who began life on a farm in Bennington, Kansas. Hull started her journalism career setting type and reporting for the Junction City (Kansas) Daily Sentinel. Her career took off and flourished with stints at newspapers in Colorado, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Ohio. Hull’s war reporting took her to Britain and France during WWI and to Siberia in 1918 with the U.S. Expeditionary Force. In 1919 and again in 1921, she wrote for the Shanghai Gazette. During WWII, Hull reported on the war in the Pacific while stationed in Hawaii.
Hull retired to Carmel, California and died of cancer in 1967. Her writing reflected her willingness to embed with the troops, sleep on the ground, and march with them carrying a full pack without complaint. Readers especially remembered her for reporting personal accounts and stories of the hardships and rigors the soldiers endured during wartime.
Peggy Hull’s history begs a deeper inspection. Check out the links below for more.
*A. Bogart, “Deuell, Henrietta Eleanor Goodnough [Peggy Hull],” accessed May 26, 2017. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdetm
**University of Arizona Libraries Digital Collection – Hull’s News Account of Pershing’s Return with Troops from Mexico.
The University of Kansas Libraries
Peggy Hull: Her Voice from the Front
C.K. Thomas lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Before retiring, she worked for Phoenix Newspapers while raising three children and later as communications editor for a large United Methodist Church. The Storm Women is her fourth novel and the third in the Arrowstar series about adventurous women of the desert Southwest. Follow her blog: We-Tired and Writing Blog.