Jane Frances Winn

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Jane Frances Winn

Jane Frances Winn (1855 – 1927), called the "dean of newspaper women" in St. Louis, was one of the influential American women journalists of the early 20th century.[1][2] As early as 1903 she was already recognized as a journalist to whom even men paid their homage: The Journalist, a New York City weekly periodical devoted to the interests of newspaper people and their work, profiled Winn in its series of prominent writers.

Early life

Jane Frances Winn was born in 1855 in Chillicothe, Ohio, the daughter of Thomas Winn (1825–1880) and Anna M. Winn (1835–1901). She was of Irish parentage on her father's side, and on her mother's she was of English extraction.[3][1]

When she was twelve years old, Winn became the editor of the grammar-school paper in her home town, the Excelsior. She wrote all the editorials, padded the want columns and wrote a poem each week.[3][4]

Career

Like many women journalists at the time, Winn started her career as a teacher, teaching both botany and chemistry in her native town of Ohio.[1][4] While she was teaching in high school, her sister Eleanor Winn was teaching in the elementary school.[4][3]

To keep up with the work of her classes, for five years Winn took courses at Harvard University during the summer, and spent one summer at the Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio, studying chemistry privately under Curtis B. Howard, who was a well-known toxicologist.[3]

When the board of education would not supply a laboratory for qualitative analysis to the chemistry class Winn was teaching, Winn and her students created one of their own. They constructed test tube holders from jack-knives, and out of ink bottles constructed the alcohol lamps. One of her students, Frederick L. Dunlap, later became a instructor of chemistry at the University of Michigan and worked with chemical companies in the Chicago area.[3]

Winn made a study of the oaks of Ohio and wrote a monograph on the subject, and she was elected vice-president of the Ohio Academy of Science for 1895.[3]

Her desire to write, and a series of articles on botany, illustrated by one of the boy pupils in her class, was her introduction to newspaper work in the city of St. Louis.[1] The young man, William Ireland, became the cartoonist of The Columbus Dispatch, and was known by the shamrock attached to his signature.[1][3]

Winn was one of the founders of the Century Club of her native town — Chillicothe, Ohio — one of the others who was a charter member being Mrs. Wilson Woodrow, well known in literature. The club, of which she was the secretary for three years, sent Winn as a delegate to the general federation convention in Denver in 1898, and stopping off in St. Louis to meet the editor of the paper to whom she had been sending her botany stories, she was engaged to take charge of the club column.[3][1]

Winn was the representative of her newspaper on the Board of Lady Managers for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, and counted as one of her privileges to have met Cardinal Francesco Satolli, among others. Introduced to him by Archbishop John J. Glennon as a newspaper writer, the old gentleman impulsively picked up a menu at a dinner in his honor at the German House, and wrote down "Honestas, Veritas, Caritas", saying, "Let this be your motto: 'Be honest always in what you write, tell only the truth, and love your profession so dearly that you will never fall short of your ideal of perfect fairness.' "[3][1]

Winn's work was club news, "Matters of Interest for Women Readers," on the daily, and a half page, each week, under the name of "Frank Fair," under caption "Women the Wide World Over," including two poems for the Sunday "Globe-Democrat."[3][1] The fact that Frank Fair was a woman, even if already guessed, was revealed by the 1914 book "Notable Women of St. Louis".[5]

The column "Matters of Interest to Women Readers," was finished off with a paragraph, "By Way of Comment," which was always a gem, often a poem. For many years, friends asked Winn to collect them in a book but she never agreed.[3]

On Sundays "Women the Wide World Over" took up a half page, and was a condensed account of what women were accomplishing, in what work they were progressing in the United States and abroad.[3]

Winn was on the staff of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, first as Women's Editor, than Women's Sports Editor and last as Literary Editor and head of the department of book review, while continuing to write the Frank Fair column. When she died in 1927 she was still employed at the newspaper.[3][4]

She was a pioneer golf writer, editor for the women's sports because she was one of the few newspaper women in the 1900s to be familiar with the game. She covered the principal women's golf events:[4] The Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island admitted women in 1891, the first ladies golf tournament in the United States was held in 1894 and the Amateur Golf Association of the United States, soon to be renamed the United States Golf Association,[6] was formed in 1894.[7] As early as 1903 she was already recognized as a journalist to whom even men paid their homage: The Journalist, a New York City weekly periodical devoted to the interests of newspaper people and their work, profiled Winn in its series of prominent writers: "Among the feminist contingent of the Globe-Democrat's staff, a lady whose work is attracting particular attention, is Miss Jane Frances Winn, who writes of women's clubs, golf, whist, botany and kindred subjects. Under the pen name of "Frank Fair" her brilliant articles are widely read, as well as are her clever contributions each week in the magazine section."[8]

She was a member of the English-Speaking Union, the National Arts Club, the National Science Club and the Contemporary Club.[4][9]

In 1905 she wrote "Elsinore, or the Land of the Silver Lining", which was represented by children actors at the Century Theater in St. Louis under the direction of Jacob Mahler. The performance was for the benefit of the Memorial Home, Grand and Magnolia Avenue.[10] In 1909 Winn wrote "Papilla or the Culprit Fairy", which was represented at the Odeon Friday evening on May 7 always under the direction of Jacob Mahler. The proceeds were to go to the Baptist Orphans' Home.[11]

In 1915 Winn together with Anna G. Marten address the Missouri Women's Press Association during the Journalism Week in Columbia, Missouri.[12] Winn's panel was "The New Journalism in Its Relation to Women".[13] In 1920 she address the Missouri Press Association meeting in Rolla, Missouri, with the talk "Journalism for Women".[14] In 1922, during the 25th annual dinner and business meeting of the Ohio Society of St. Louis, Winn was elected among the directors.[15] In 1926, few months before her death, she spoke in front of the Society of St. Louis Authors on "The Woman on the Job".[16]

In 1921 Winn, speaking on free verse as a "protest against old-fashioned rhymes," called Walt Whitman the "father of the new movement" and Sara Teasdale the "Shelley of America".[17]

Personal life

Jane Frances Winn lived with her brother, Frank T. Winn (1865–1918), who was also engaged in newspaper work, near Forest Park University, where she could be in the midst of the trees and flowers she loved.[3][1][4]

She was never married, and spent the later part of her life writing.[5]

She died in 1927 and is buried with her family at Grandview Cemetery, Chillicothe, Ohio.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Faherty, William Barnaby (2001). The St. Louis Irish: An Unmatched Celtic Community. Missouri History Museum. p. 140. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  2. ^ "It's Equal Rights in Journalism - 09 Jul 1917, Mon • Page 2". The Evening Missourian: 2. 1917. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Johnson, Anne (1914). Notable women of St. Louis, 1914. St. Louis, Woodward. p. 250. Retrieved 17 August 2017.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Poem of Decedent is Read at Miss Winn's Funeral - 29 Dec 1927, Thu • Page 3". Chillicothe Gazette: 3. 1927. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Jane Frances Winn in Who's Who Book - 13 Aug 1914, Thu • Page 15". St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 15. 1914. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  6. ^ Shefter, David (November 30, 2014). "Celebrating 120 Years of the USGA (Part 1): 1894-1924". United States Golf Association. Retrieved October 1, 2017. Initially named the Amateur Golf Association of the United States before it became the USGA, the Association was officially formed on Dec. 22, 1894, in New York City. 
  7. ^ "Timeline -- Important Events in the History of Women's Golf". Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "The Journalist Pays Tribute - 23 Apr 1903, Thu • Page 7". Chillicothe Gazette: 7. 1903. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Reception at Washington - 10 Apr 1897, Sat • Page 8". The Times: 8. 1897. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Little Folks in an Original Play - 26 May 1905, Fri • Page 7". St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 7. 1905. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  11. ^ "07 May 1909, Fri • Page 16". St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 16. 1909. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  12. ^ "Journalism Week Is Closed by Banquet - 09 May 1915, Sun • Page 1". The Evening Missourian: 1. 1915. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  13. ^ ""Frank Fair" Coming, Too - 11 Apr 1915, Sun • Page 3". The Evening Missourian: 3. 1915. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  14. ^ "Missouri Editors Royally Entertained in St. Louis - 23 Sep 1920, Thu • Page 1". Rolla Herald: 1. 1920. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "Ohio Society Election - 17 Feb 1922, Fri • Page 19". The St. Louis Star and Times: 19. 1922. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Authors' Society Meets Tonight - 28 Oct 1926, Thu • Page 23". St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 23. 1926. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "25 Years Ago - 1921 - 22 Apr 1946, Mon • Page 14". The St. Louis Star and Times: 14. 1946. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
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