The Distaff Side, 1885


EARLY IN THE HISTORY of amateur journalism girls as well as boys engaged in the enterprise. But at first they were comparatively few in number, and although some of them gained prominence in the literary field, they failed to secure recogni­tion in the world of politics for some time. As their numbers increased they were elected to minor offices, and in time were chosen to fill the highest positions in the institution. The first young lady to be elected President of an association larger than a local club was said to be Miss M. Beulah Ferguson, who was chosen President of the Atlantic Coast A.P.A. in 1906. Later, women became Official Editors and Presidents of the National A.P.A.


In February, 1885, Mrs. Edwin B. Swift, of Cincinnati, Ohio, in her magazine the Violet, which she edited under the name of “Zelda Arlington,” commented upon the increased number of girls in amateur journalism, and said: “We, the girls, should have an association of our own. It would be more interesting, and we could do better work as a body than we can singly.”


The idea was received favorably by many, and an organization was formed six months later. No conventions were ever held, all business was conducted by mail, the officers elected by proxy. Considerable discussion was held over a name for the organization. It was first known as the Ladies Amateur Press Association, and later as the Young Women’s A.P.A.

The officers chosen were as follows:


President, Zelda Arlington Swift, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Vice-President, Helen G. Phillips, New Bedford, Mass.

Secretary, Dora E. Sheldon, Rockford, Ill.

Treasurer, Bertha Y. Grant, New Glasgow, N. S.

Official Editor, Edith May Dowe, Worcester, Mass.


The Violet was made the official organ. The Association lived only a little over a year.


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