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Hall of Fame

With the founding of the National Federation of Press Women in 1937, many women were able to join a professional organization that supported women in journalism as well as the First Amendment. Today, we look back at those remarkable women in the state affiliates who were pioneers and who made great accomplishments in the communications profession.

These women were nominated by the respective affiliates for inclusion in this Hall of Fame. It was developed in conjunction with the cyber-exhibit at the National Women's History Museum Web site (www.nwhm.org) on Women In Journalism.

This is an opportunity for us to recognize our members who distinguished themselves in the profession and supported NFPW. It is also a reminder that we stand on the shoulders of great women who came before us.


Kay Kennedy
Kay J. Kennedy moved to Alaska in 1938 and became a respected journalist reporting on the Alaska frontier, where she was often the first woman to venture into remote areas in search of interviews with cowboys, fishermen, miners, and hunters. She was Alaska Press Women's first president and was instrumental in chartering APW in 1961. She was a member of NFPW for 35 years and was named its Woman of Achievement in 1987.

Betsy M. Woodman
Betsy M. Woodman, who used "Betzi Woodman" as her byline during her 24-year career, was the only Reuters International Alaska news correspondent, and served as editor for the Anchorage Daily News and Anchorage Times. A widely recognized authority on petroleum and technical writing, she had many journalistic firsts to her credit: first woman to overnight at Prudhoe Bay after the oil discovery, first woman to cover the astronauts' training at Katmai for the first moon flight, and the only woman at Amchitka for underground nuclear tests. APW's Betsy Woodman Spark Plug Award is named in her honor.


Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder
Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder is an award-winning journalist, a longtime member of Arkansas Press Women, a former president of the National Federation of Press Women and the National Newspaper Association. She was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives and pioneered roles for women in Arkansas and nationally.


Mary Sam Smith Ward
Mary Sam Smith Ward was co-founder of Delaware Press Women in 1978. During World War II, she was chosen for the first officer candidate class of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, and, as Captain Smith, did a tour of duty at the Pentagon. A historical preservationist and author of historical articles and books, she taught American history at a college founded in Wilmington in 1970 for mature women and helped organize the University of Delaware's Academy of Lifetime Learning.

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Elayne Bybee
Elayne Bybee, a prolific and skilled journalist and photographer, has been an Idaho Press Women and NFPW member since 1954. She began her career in journalism at age 13 at a small weekly newspaper. After working for an Idaho Falls newspaper, she became the first woman radio and TV news director in Idaho and was the first reporter at the site of the Yellowstone-Hebgon Lake earthquake in 1959, covering the story on all TV networks.

Louise Shadduck
Louise Shadduck, a past president of IPW and NFPW, has been declared one of Idaho's treasures by the governor and has had a state building named for her. A journalist, author, and honorary member of the Idaho Press Association, she was the first woman in the nation to serve at state cabinet level as Idaho Secretary of Commerce.

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Helen Miller Malloch

Helen Malloch
Helen Miller Malloch, noted lecturer, teacher, author, and editor, was the Illinois Woman's Press Association president when IWPA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1935. She believed that federating a national organization could unify women to influence issues such as copyright legislation. She became the first president of the organization she helped form, NFPW, in 1937 in Chicago. She died in 1963 while attending the NFPW annual convention in Indianapolis.

Olga Gize Carlile

Olga Carlile
Olga Gize Carlile started her 50-year career in journalism at a time when few married women were in the workforce, becoming one of the first women managing editors at the newspaper. A dedicated print journalist, book author and columnist, she broke ground for women journalists in finding ways to balance career, family, and community commitments. She has held many offices in IWPA, served eight years on the NFPW Education Fund board, and was the 1992 NFPW Communicator of Achievement.

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Hortense Meyers

Hortense Meyers
Hortense Meyers was Indiana's first wire service reporter and retired from UPI in 1981 after 39 years of covering some of the state's biggest stories. Seven Indiana governors recognized her as a tough but fair reporter and political analyst. She served in every office of the Woman's Press Club of Indiana, was NFPW president from 1963-65 and the 1966 Communicator of Achievement. She died at the 1987 NFPW convention in Williamsburg, Va.

Naomi Whitesell
Naomi Whitesell's career included virtually every phase of communications -- newswriting, editing, publicity, public relations, sales promotion, political campaigning, advertising, TV script writing, research, and teaching. She and the late Florence Stone started the first all-woman public relations firm in Indiana in 1954. Her long, dedicated service to WPCI and NFPW led her to being president of both organizations.

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Lois Jacobs
Lois Jacobs became known for her relentless efforts to defend her state's open meetings law and "the people's right to know." She worked for the Marshalltown Times-Republican for 28 years as a reporter, photographer, staff writer, and editor, receiving many statewide awards for her photography. She was president of Iowa Press Women and of the NFPW and was responsible for incorporating the NFPW education fund, of which she was director for many years.

Louise Zerschling
Louise Zerschling broke many glass ceilings for women journalists during her more than 50 years with the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal. She was its first woman reporter on several beats: police, city hall, commercial news, sports, and the first woman photographer. Previously, at the Austin (Minn.) Daily Herald, she was the first woman to be assigned as a sports reporter and adopted the byline "Lou Flyn." She was the IPW 1993 Communicator of Achievement.

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Mamie Alexander Boyd
Mamie Boyd's long career in the newspaper business began in 1905 with her marriage to Frank Boyhd, editor of the Phillips County Rfreview. They purchased the paper in 1907, then added the Jewell County Record in 1947. When Mr. Boyd died in 1947, Mamie continued to publish the newspapers. She was selected Kansan of the Year in 1959 and Kansas Mother of the Year in 1965. Kansas State University awarded her the school's first Distinguished Service Award in journalism and named a residence hall after her. In 1976 she received the William Allen White Foundation Award for journalistic merit, and the McKinney Award for outstanding newspaper women given by the National Newspaper Association. She was an honorary president of Kansas Press Women (now Kansas Professional Communicators) and the Kansas Press Association. She was the first female president of the K-State Alumni Association.

Marie MacDonald
Marie MacDonald joined Kansas Press Women in 1947 and, in 1949, she helped organize Wichita Press Women. She was a communicator all her life, from writing plays and acting in a traveling theater group to the personal column in a senior's publication she wrote after retiring. She began his newspaper career at the Wichita Eagle and moved to its rival, the Wichita Beacon in 1947, then back to the merged Wichita Eagle-Beacon in 1965. She returned to acting in retirement, depicting women from Wichita's early years, and serving as an ambassador for Old Cowtown Museum, a living history complex.

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Sarah Peugh
Sarah Peugh, a member of Mississippi Media Professionals and a lifetime member of NFPW, was credited with "pulling the affiliate back from the brink of death," despite her own health problems. As MMP president, she brought the president of NFPW to Aberdeen and hosted her at a breakfast for city officials and local dignitaries. A poet, she frequently wrote scripts for pageants and other civic presentations.


Wilma Crumley
Wilma Crumley, Nebraska Press Women member, has been synonymous with journalism in Nebraska for more than 30 years. One of the first four women to earn a Ph.D. in journalism at the University of Missouri, she became a full professor in the journalism school at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln -- the first woman to achieve that rank in journalism in Nebraska. During her tenure, the J-school grew and earned a reputation for rigorous course work, and Crumley nurtured the school to college status, becoming interim dean.

Marj Marlette
Marj Marlette, a member of Nebraska Press Women and NFPW, found her most memorable stories behind the concrete walls and steel gates of the Nebraska State Penitentiary. She wrote for the Lincoln Journal, covering courts, prisons, and legislative issues, and later became editor of Corrections Compendium, a national magazine for corrections professionals. She retired in 1993 with a well-earned Woman of Achievement award from Nebraska Press Women and the first Nebraska Journalist of the Year award from Theta Sigma Pi. At the time of her death in 1999, she was still pursuing a goal she had set, to create a program to meet the needs of incarcerated women and women newly released from prison in Nebraska.The Marj Marlette Resource and Reporting Center opened in Lincoln in March 2000 as such a resource center.

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New Mexico

Faye Plank
Faye Plank was 65 years old when she joined a weekly paper, The Curry County Times, in Clovis, New Mexico. She later opened a public relations firm, Ideas Unlimited, and helped New Mexico Press Women form a chapter in the eastern part of the state, increasing NMPW members from 37 to 101. She was on the NFPW's board of directors and was NFPW's Woman of Achievement in 1981. After moving to Texas, she became women's editor of the Dalhart Daily Texan and retired on her 85th birthday in 1987. However, in March 1999, she returned to work and is still working as lifestyles editor.

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Anne Thomas
Anne Thomas is a community newspaper journalist and Oregon Press Women and NFPW member. OPW cited her ability to "employ the highest ideals of her profession when bringing news to readers, from local fundraising events to the shocking murders at nearby Thurston High School." A national award winner, she has worked at five community newspapers in California and Oregon as a reporter, drama critic, news editor, editorial page writer, editor-in-chief, and sports writer. She was the independent publisher of a free publication devoted to animal welfare and courageously writes stories that spark protests.

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Donna Hunt

Donna Hunt
Donna Hunt began her newspaper career as a proofreader, and in 1957 joined The Denison Herald, where she became women's editor, city editor and, in 1984, the first woman editor of the paper, a position she held for 10 years. Known as the unofficial historian of Denison, she began a second career as manager of the Eisenhower Birthplace National Historical Park. She has been a member of Texas Professional Communicators and NFPW 27 years, serving on the NFPW board for 11 years.

Martha Reed
Martha Reed was NFPW president from 1979 to 1981 when the organization achieved its highest membership level ever of almost 5,000. Seven states became affiliated with NFPW during her presidency, tallying up all 50 states as affiliates by the end of her term. Reed was a student reporter on the first live television in Texas in 1949. She spent 17 years at newspapers (Baytown Sun and Beaumont Enterprise), then returned to television, joining PM Magazine as the restaurant reviewer. She later became public information officer at Lamar University and for the Port Arthur Independent School District.

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Washington, D.C.

Sarah McClendon

Sarah McClendon
Sarah McClendon was founder and president of the nationally syndicated McClendon News Service. As a reporter, she covered the White House longer than anyone else in the history of the Republic, beginning with Franklin Roosevelt through Bill Clinton. She was a longtime member of Capital Press Women and lifetime member of NFPW. She is credited with breaking barriers for women at the National Press Club, the White House Correspondents Association, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas
Helen Thomas, a Capital Press Women member and a lifetime member of the NFPW. She became dean of the White House press corps and shattered barriers that had kept women on the outskirts of serious journalism. She was the first woman to be named White House bureau chief for UPI, to be president of the White House Correspondents Association, and to hold office in the National Press Club. TV viewers worldwide know her for her signal to end presidential press conferences: "Thank you, Mr. President."

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Gertrude Puelicher
Gertrude Puelicher was one of the first members of Wisconsin Press Women in 1941 and served as NFPW president from 1943-45. In 1986, she contributed funds to launch WPW's Gertrude Puelicher Scholarship Fund. Her column, "God's Corner," which ran for decades in a local magazine, was published as a book and for 19 years she had a radio show based on column. Her TV show, "The Other 98," referred to the 98% of children who are a credit to their families and communities. She also taught English for 18 years at Milwaukee Riverside High School. She served on many national youth boards and was a major contributor to the arts in Wisconsin.

Alice Sankey
Alice Sankey took over her husband's job as copy editor of the Racine Journal-Times when he became ill during World War II. She then moved on to society editor. She has also excelled as a freelance author, magazine columnist, playwright, essayist, and writer of children's books, textbooks, and short stories. She became WPW president in 1973 and a member of the NFPW scholarship committee. At the age of 90, Sankey lives in Toronto, Canada, and continues to write.

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Watch this space as the names of more outstanding journalists are added to the NFPW Hall of Fame.