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Dr. Wilda Smith collection of Peggy Hull biographical materials

Call Number: RH MS 1485


Together with Eleanor Bogart, Dr. Smith wrote The Wars of Peggy Hull, which covers the life and actions of the first United States female war correspondent and Kansas native Peggy Hull Deuell. This collection consists of copied and original photographs, documents, and news articles used in the crafting of the book.


  • Creation: 1914 - 1991


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 Wilda Smith

Wilda Maxine Smith was born on May 17, 1924 in Gove, Kansas, the daughter of Corwin Leroy and Mabel (Roberts) Luzelle. She received her doctorate from the University Illinois in 1960. She worked as Assistant professor of history Fort Hays State College in Kansas from 1960-1963, then as an associate professor, 1963-1966, and finally as a full professor of history, 1966-1977. She functioned as department chairman for history between 1981 and 1986 and has been a professor emeritus since 1987.

Together with Eleanor Bogart, Dr. Smith wrote The Wars of Peggy Hull, which covers the life and actions of the first female war correspondent and Kansas native Peggy Hull. In the course of working on this biography, Smith and Bogart received materials from a variety of individuals who knew Deuell, which comprise this collection.

Biography of Peggy Hull Duell

Peggy Hull Deuell, the first female accredited U.S. war correspondent, was born Henrietta Eleanor Goodnough on December 30, 1889, near Bennington, Ottawa County, Kansas. Mrs. Deuell had one elder brother, Edward. Their parents, Edwy Goodnough and Minnie Finn Goodnough, divorced in 1892, and Peggy went to live with her mother and maternal grandparents.

In 1907, Peggy left high school to train as a pharmacist with her father's relations. However, she shortly returned to her mother, who resided in Junction City, KS. There, Peggy got her first job as a reporter for the Junction City Sentinel and also worked in a local department store on the side.

In 1909, Peggy moved to Colorado to work for a small paper when she got a job with the Denver Republican. It was during this time that she met her first husband, George Hull. They married in 1910 in Salina, KS. He was a well reputed journalist and writer, and together they went to San Francisco and then to Honolulu, Hawaii to work. She dabbled in public relations work and promotion of the Islands, but her relationship with Mr. Hull strained despite her financial success.

By 1914, Peggy returned to the U.S. mainland and took various jobs in Denver, Minneapolis, and Cleveland. In Denver, Peggy met Harvey V. Deuell, who would later become her third and final husband. Peggy moved on to work at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was given the opportunity to report on the Ohio National Guard when it deployed to the New Mexico border following Pancho Villa's Raid on Columbus, New Mexico in March 1916.

In this venture, Peggy became the first female war correspondent. Though she was not allowed to enter Mexico, she reported on camp life of the National Guard units defending the border. Soon though, it became apparent to Peggy and her Ohio newspaper that it would be best for her to begin covering the war from El Paso with the El Paso Morning Times.

Peggy convinced her El Paso Morning Times editor to send her to Britain and France to cover U.S. soldiers arriving to aid the Allies in 1917 in World War I. Despite lack of official accreditation from the War Department, Peggy eventually made her way to Paris where she used new acquaintances and former ones from the Mexican Border War to get to a U.S. training camp at Le Valdahon, France, near the front line, to interview troops for the papers back home.

In 1918 Peggy convinced the editor at the Cleveland Press to send her as war correspondent to Siberia to cover the U.S. Expeditionary Force defending the White Russian faction from the new Bolshevik government. She received official accreditation as a U.S. War Correspondent, making her the first woman to gain that distinction.

In late 1919, Peggy left Vladivostok, Siberia and sailed to Shanghai. She spent some weeks there waiting to return to the U.S. and enjoyed the small Western settlement. She got a job with the Shanghai Gazette and wrote of shopping, the intelligentsia, and evening parties. While she returned to the U.S. in 1920, by 1921 she was traveling again to Shanghai to work for the Gazette.

On February 22, 1922, in Shanghai, Peggy married for the second time, to Englishman Captain John Kinley. In 1924, Captain Kinley got a new job in Shanghai harbor, so Peggy resumed running in the elite social circle of Shanghai and got a job as a columnist for the Shanghai Times.

In 1927, Peggy went to New York and found work at the Daily News where her former colleague, Harvey Deuell, was the City section editor. Over the next two years, Peggy and Deuell became close, and Peggy decided that she must return to Shanghai to file for divorce from Kinley rather than conducting it via post. Peggy arrived in the middle of renewed hostilities between China and Japan, where Japan invaded and subsequently occupied Manchuria until 1945. Peggy had not wanted to cover another war, but when the Japanese attacked near Shanghai, her editor Deuell told her to report on the situation. In May 1932 Peggy got her divorce and returned to the U.S., where she married Harvey Deuell on June 17, 1933.

The Deuells' marriage was short-lived; Duell died of a heart attack in October 1939 after his 1935 promotion to managing editor for the Daily Times.

As the U.S. involved itself in WWII and her close friends joined the military, Peggy became impatient to cover war again. It took a year and a half to find a paper to sponsor her, receive War Department approval, and a commission to go to Hawaii. By January 1944 she was in Hawaii but not permitted to travel any nearer to conflict zones. Though disappointed, Peggy kept her head down and talked with troops in the Navy hospital on the Islands to get an idea of what the front was like and what other soldiers were facing. She became well-known and well-liked by the servicemen who had survived their wounds, and would receive unit patches from the men.

Peggy Hull Deuell retired to Carmel Valley, California. She died on June 19, 1967 at the age of 76.


.75 Linear Feet (2 document cases + 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 1485

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1485

Physical Location

RH MS Q453

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Wilda Smith, 2017.

Related Materials

Peggy Hull Deuell Papers, RH MS 130, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.



Guide to the Dr. Wilda Smith Collection of Peggy Hull Materials
Dr. Wilda Smith collection of Peggy Hull biographical materials
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for the processing of this collection was provided by the G. Baley Price Spencer Research Library Fellowship Fund.
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Preferred citation
Dr. Wilda Smith collection of Peggy Hull biographical materials, RH MS 1485, 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