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DEUELL, HENRIETTA ELEANOR GOODNOUGH [PEGGY HULL]

DEUELL, HENRIETTA ELEANOR GOODNOUGH [PEGGY HULL] (1889–1967). Henrietta Deuell [pseud. Peggy Hull], the first accredited woman war correspondent and a founding member of the Overseas Press Club (1939), daughter of Edwy and Minnie Eliza (Finn) Goodnough, was born on a farm near Bennington, Kansas, on December 30, 1889. She left school at sixteen, got her first newspaper job on the Junction City, Kansas, Sentinel, and between 1909 and 1916 worked for newspapers in Colorado, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Ohio. After Francisco (Pancho) Villa's forces made their notorious raid on Columbus, New Mexico (March 9, 1916), Peggy went to El Paso to report on the activities of national guard units sent to patrol the Texas-Mexico border while Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing and his troops pursued Villa in Mexico. She took up residence in the Paso del Norte Hotel, a hub of social activity for military personnel. Starting on the El Paso Herald and then moving to the El Paso Morning Times, she wrote a regular advertising column and reported on activities at Fort Bliss and Camp Pershing. A ubiquitous presence, she became popular with both the officers and enlisted men, and her work brought her to Pershing's attention. 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.

In June 1917 Peggy persuaded the editor of the Morning Times to send her to France to report on World War I. She sailed for England, survived the submarine-infested Atlantic Ocean, and made her way to Paris— not an easy feat since she was without benefit of War Department accreditation, which conferred a certain governmental blessing on and aid to war reporters. But no woman had ever been accredited, and it was War Department policy that none ever would be.

However, her acquaintance with Pershing was useful to her; he made it possible for her to spend six weeks at an American artillery-training camp from where she sent reports to the El Paso Morning Times and the army edition of the Chicago Tribune. Other newspapers began to publish her articles as her popularity grew. Eventually, jealous male correspondents succeeded in getting her recalled to Paris, and, temporarily embittered, she sailed back to the United States. After returning to El Paso to a hero's welcome, Peggy resumed her job at the Morning Times. In the summer of 1918 she went to Washington, D.C., where, with the help of Gen. Peyton C. March, chief of staff of the army, whom she knew from both her El Paso and artillery-camp days, she finally got accreditation. She was authorized to join the American expeditionary force sent to Russia during the Siberian Intervention and was sponsored by the Newspaper Enterprise Association and the Cleveland (Ohio) Press.

After leaving Siberia and being divorced by her first husband, reporter George Hull, whom she had married in 1910, she worked on newspapers in Shanghai and in 1922 married English ship captain John Kinley. As a result of this marriage, she lost her United States citizenship. Her struggle to regain it played a part in changing United States law regarding the citizenship of married women. She was in Shanghai in January 1932 in the process of divorcing Kinley, when the Japanese attacked the city; ignoring personal danger, she reported on the carnage for the New York Daily News. In 1933 she married Daily News editor Harvey Deuell. He died of a heart attack in 1939. During World War II Peggy was accredited once more, this time to the Pacific Theater of Operations. She reported first from Hawaii, then from Guam, Tarawa, Saipan, and other "pacified" islands until August 1945 for the North American Newspaper Alliance and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. For her service she was awarded a Navy Commendation.

In 1953 she moved to California, where she spent the last twelve years of her life in Carmel Valley. She was a long-time believer in astrology as well as the granddaughter of an Episcopalian missionary. She became Catholic 2½ years before her death. Peggy Hull's special contribution as a war correspondent was in her "little stories of war," which dealt with the ordinary soldier's hopes, fears, and day-to-day life. A GI wrote her in 1944, "You will never realize what those yarns of yours . . . did to this gang. . . . You made them know they weren't forgotten." She died of breast cancer on June 19, 1967.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Haldeen Braddy, Pershing's Mission in Mexico (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1972). Emmet Crozier, American Reporters on the Western Front, 1914–1918 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959). David Len Jones, And Peggy Hull Was There (M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1980). Wilda M. Smith and Eleanor A. Bogart, The Wars of Peggy Hull: The Life and Times of a War Correspondent (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1991).

Wilda M. Smith and Eleanor A. Bogart

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Wilda M. Smith and Eleanor A. Bogart, "DEUELL, HENRIETTA ELEANOR GOODNOUGH [PEGGY HULL]," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdetm), accessed July 24, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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