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Robertson, Ruby Gardner (ca. 1880–1969)

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell Biography Entry

Ruby Gardner Robertson, newspaper editor, was born around 1880, the oldest of six children of Martha (Applewhite) and Hester Gardner. Her family moved from Mississippi to Brenham when Ruby was a child; in Brenham her father worked as a salesperson for a wholesale grocer. Her mother's family were native Texans and had long been active in educational concerns in the state. Ruby attended school in Brenham, graduated from high school there and then earned two degrees from Blinn Memorial College. She also earned a degree from Oak Cliff College for Young Ladies in Dallas. In 1912 she started to work for the Brenham Banner Press as a stenographer and reporter of women's news. In October 1918 she was promoted to editor of the paper, placing her among the earliest women to edit a daily newspaper in the state. Family legend has it that she had to convince the publisher she was capable of the job by visiting a nearby saloon and getting an agreement from the proprietor that he would allow her to cover any potential story that might take place in his business. The publisher, convinced that if she could cover a story in a saloon she could probably cover any story, then gave her the job. Robertson remained at the paper the rest of her career. In 1921 she wrote Sketch of the Brenham Banner-Press. After retiring from her editorship, she continued as a writer and editor emeritus for the Press and also worked as a correspondent for the Houston Chronicle and Austin American. Robertson also was active in numerous civic and political causes throughout her life. As a young woman she worked for women's voting rights; later in her life her efforts on behalf of the Somerville Dam Project in the early 1960s in Brenham earned the thanks of Lyndon B. Johnson. Robertson was married briefly to Sam Robertson, with whom she had one daughter before they divorced. She died in Brenham on January 5, 1969, and was buried in Brenham. Survivors included her daughter, one brother, and one grandson.


  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Women

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

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, “Robertson, Ruby Gardner,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed April 12, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: