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Personal papers of Doris Fleeson

Call Number: PP 186


Doris Fleeson graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism in 1923. While at KU she worked on the University Daily Kansan. Flesson also worked for the New York Daily News and was a war correspondent for The Women's Home Companion. The collection includes newspaper clippings of her articles, photographs, and correspondence with members of the press in Washington, D.C., as well as administrators of the United States federal government.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1970


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Doris Fleeson (1901-1970)

Doris Fleeson was a newspaper reporter and syndicated columnist in Washington D.C. for nearly 40 years, beginning in 1933, and was known as an aggressive political reporter.

Fleeson was born in Sterling, Kansas on May 20, 1901. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism in 1923. During her time at KU, Fleeson was a correspondent for the University Daily Kansan; her first newspaper job was with The Pittsburg (Kan.) Sun. Fleeson was a member of newspaper staffs in both Evanston, Illinois, and Long Island, New York before obtaining a postion at the New York Daily News.

Within a few years Fleeson was assigned to the newspaper's Albany bureau and became acquainted with New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose administration she later covered in Washington when he became President.

On September 28, 1930, she married John O'Donnell, a fellow Daily News reporter. Their daughter, also named Doris, was born two years later. Fleeson joined her husband in The Daily News' Washington Bureau in 1933. Together they started the "Capitol Stuff" column. At one time, Fleeson was the sole permanent woman member of the press entourage who accompanied President Roosevelt on his campaign tours.

Fleeson and O'Donnell divorced in 1942. The next year Fleeson left The Daily News and went to Europe as a war correspondent for The Woman's Home Companion. After the war she returned to Washington and began a column on political affairs, which appeared first in The Washington Star.

In 1958, Fleeson married Dan Kimball, who was President Harry Truman's Secretary of the Navy from 1951-1953, as well as President and later Chairman of the Board for Aerojet General Corporation until 1969. By the time Fleeson went into semi-retirement in 1967, her twice-a-week column was distributed by United Features Syndicate, Inc. to 90 newspapers. Her reporting over the years earned her a number of awards and citations, including the Raymond Clapper award in 1954 from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. A champion of women's rights, she was an active member of the Women's National Press Club and an inveterate foe of the National Press Club, which did not admit women members.


2.25 Linear Feet (5 boxes + 8 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The collection of Fleeson's personal papers includes scrapbooks and photographs, as well as correspondence with family and several important Washington, D.C. figures including Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman and H.L. Mencken. Also in the collection are awards, speeches, materials of John O'Donnell (columnist and Doris Fleeson's first husband), and materials of Dan Kimball, Secretary of the Navy and Fleeson's second husband. Some material is oversize and housed at a separate location.

Physical Location

PP 186

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Doris O'Donnell; Lucinda Fleeson, 2015.

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Doris Fleeson Collection
Personal papers of Doris Fleeson
Finding aid prepared by sk, 2005. Finding aid encoded by sk, 2005. Finding aid revised by skt, 2010; eje, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Doris Fleeson, University Archives, PP 186, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States