Molyneaux, Peter (1882–1953)

By: Wayne Gard

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: November 20, 2020

Peter Molyneaux, journalist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on April 18, 1882, the son of James and Rosana (Lawlor) Molyneaux. He was of Irish ancestry and was the eldest of seven children. He attended parochial schools in New Orleans but quit at age fifteen. After several minor jobs he became a reporter for the New Orleans Daily News in 1902; later he wrote for the Item and the Daily States there. He married Etna Ester Ellzey on April 12, 1906. In 1908 he entered Meadville (Pennsylvania) Theological School, where he studied economics, sociology, and philosophy for two years. In 1911, after working briefly for the Philadelphia Record, he joined the staff of the Houston Post. For his health he spent several years in the dry climate of Irion County in West Texas before he began writing for the San Antonio Express (see SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS) in 1913. The Express sent him to Mexico to report on the civil strife there. Soon after his arrival in Texas, Molyneaux had developed a close working relationship with prominent club leader Anna Pennybacker. He began a short-lived publication in 1914 called the Texas Club Woman, in which he supported compulsory education, woman suffrage, and the development of a drama league in the state. He also served as an unofficial advisor to Pennybacker.

Molyneaux again worked for the Houston Post in 1914–15 and then, late in 1915, became chief editorial writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He remained in this position until 1924. By 1928 he had become editor of the Texas Monthly in Dallas. He was employed by this publication, which subsequently became the Texas Weekly and then the Southern Weekly, for the rest of his life. In 1940 he began contributing a weekly column, "A Texan Looks at the World," to the Dallas Morning News. Late in his life Molyneaux referred to himself as an "agitating economist." Although he was a lifelong Democrat, he became increasingly opposed to the policies of the Democratic party. He wrote several pamphlets on economics as well as two books, The Romantic Story of Texas (1936) and The South's Political Plight (1947). Molyneaux was a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and attended a conference that it sponsored in London in 1935. He was a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas and the Southwestern Social Science Association. In 1935 Southern Methodist University gave him an honorary doctorate. He died of cancer in Dallas on January 9, 1953, and was buried in New Orleans.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Dallas Journal, April 22, 1936. Dallas Morning News, January 11, 1953. Who's Who in America, 1950–51.

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Wayne Gard, “Molyneaux, Peter,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 20, 2020

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