Peggy Hull Deuell
Woman war correspondent. 1890-1967
Peggy Hull was the first woman war correspondent accredited by the United States government and the first woman to serve on four battlefronts. During her 31-year career she followed American soldiers around the world. Her articles were popular on the home front because she presented personal stories of the lives of soldiers. Readers enjoyed this unique perspective and Hull developed quite a following.
Born on a farm near Bennington September 30,1890, Henrietta Eleanor Goodnough (who later changed her name to Peggy Hull) grew up in Marysville and later moved to Junction City. A longtime fan of investigative reporter Nellie Bly, Hull honed her writing skills in high school. When she applied for a job at the Junction City Sentinel, editor A.D. Colby said he had already hired the only reporter he needed, but if she wasn’t worried about her fingernails and was willing to set type, she had a job. Hull soon had an opportunity to demonstrate her reporting skills when a fire broke out in town and no one was available to cover the story. She became a writer and between 1909 and 1916 she worked for newspapers in Colorado, California, Hawaii, and Minnesota.
While reporting for the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1916, Hull was assigned to cover the Ohio National Guard in Mexico. The soldiers were dispatched to patrol the Mexican border while Brigadier General John J. Pershing pursued Pancho Villa after his notorious raid in New Mexico. Here Hull started writing for the El Paso Morning Times, and her reporting of Pershing’s return with his men is considered one of the most accurate accounts of the event. In 1917 Hull convinced the Morning Times editor to send her to France to cover World War I. At that time, the War Department did not allow women journalists to become accredited. Hull sailed for Paris without accreditation, but thanks to her acquaintance with General Pershing, she was able to spend a month and a half at an artillery training camp. Envious male reporters saw to it that Hull was recalled to Paris, and embittered, she returned to the U.S.
In the summer of 1918 Hull traveled to Washington, D.C., where, with the help of her El Paso acquaintance General Peyton C. March, she finally received accreditation. In the following years she would cover military action from Siberia, Shanghai, and several Pacific islands. Although pleased to have earned accreditation, Hull often complained that she was sent to places far from the front because she was a woman. She may not have been happy with the location of her assignments, but readers valued her perspective and the humanized view she brought to her “little stories of war.” A soldier writing in 1944 said, "You will never realize what those yarns of yours ... did to this gang ... You made them know they weren’t forgotten.”
After World War II Peggy Hull moved to California, where she lived until her death in 1967.
Entry: Deuell, Peggy Hull
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: February 2010
Date Modified: June 2016
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