Sunday, October 31, 2010
Betty Ewing and society writing
After weeks of not hearing back from a Texas history journal, I am working on my manuscript about Houston women's page writer and society editor Betty Ewing to send it off to a different journal. I went through Betty's papers at Texas Woman's University in 2005 and have been collecting information ever since.
Too often society columns found in women’s pages are reduced to being insignificant. After all, the women’s section where these columns typically ran was often referred to as the “step-child of the profession” in journalism histories. Yet, these columns chronicled the stories of the powerful – the movers and shakers of a community. And, these columns also highlighted the women married to those in power. In doing so, Ewing gave overlooked women a voice. Ewing highlighted the stories of the wives who worked quietly behind-the-scenes. The stories of these women deserve to be part of the historical record of the South.
Ewing’s reporting and writing revealed the personalities of the community she covered. The work of Ewing, and other columnists like her, demonstrated how community causes from libraries to museums could be championed. These journalists often helped to create the foundations of their communities. Ewing helped to promote the news and culture of Houston at a time of growth and development. Furthermore, the reporting skills developed during World War II served her well when she was restricted to the women’s pages in peacetime. Ewing, like other women reporters of her era, found a way to create her own path in journalism. Her story is important to add to the history of Texas and the South.