Image from the Carol C. Taylor Research Archives
*Sara Isadore Sutherland Callaway Miner
(pen name Pauline Periwinkle)
Born: 1863 in Battle Creek, Michigan
Died: 1916 in Dallas
Noted For: Pauline Periwinkle is noted for her pro-suffrage column appearing in the Dallas Morning News, as well as for her coverage of other social issues and her leadership in a number of community organizations.
The woman who would eventually become the famous journalist Pauline Periwinkle began preparing for her career quite early in life.
Not only did Pauline publish her first story at the age of nine, she was also the daughter of a suffragist.
When Pauline joined the Dallas Morning News in 1893 as the paper’s society and woman’s page editor, she had already authored or edited a number of children’s books and worked as a journalist and teacher in other states.
Over the next two decades, Pauline published a popular weekly column noted for its humorous and often biting observations about life in Dallas, taking on everything from local gossip to juvenile delinquency to panhandling ordinances. (More than 100 years later, D Magazine would describe Pauline as the Dallas “Dear Abby” of her era.)
Her work also appeared in the Galveston News, which was then under the same management as the Dallas paper.
Pauline’s influence and activism was not confined to her newspaper column. In addition to organizing first suffrage club in Dallas, she was a leader in a number of organizations and initiatives, including the Dallas Free Kindergarten Program, the Dallas Woman’s Forum, the Dallas Humane Society, and the employment of a prison matron and woman probation officer to supervise the needs of incarcerated women in Dallas County.
She was also a founding member of the Texas Women’s Press Association (today the Press Women of Texas).
Through her column, Pauline urged women to likewise become involved in civic leadership and reform, and she wrote frequently about the cause of suffrage. “Yes, Liberty is cracked whenever American women gaze at that bell and know they are not free…free in exactly the same sense that men are, free to participate in citizenship,” she wrote in 1915 in a column covering the arrival of the Liberty Bell in Dallas.
Sadly, Pauline passed away the next year, three years before the 19th Amendment was ratified in Texas. But her pioneering legacy lives on in the spirit of the thousands of Texas women who have written or spoken out about voting and women’s rights and continue to do so today.
“Pauline Periwinkle and Progressive Reform in Dallas” by Jacquelyn Masur McElhaney
*The woman who later became known as Pauline Periwinkle was born Sara Isadore Sutherland. Her stepfather was named Calloway, and her husband was named Miner (sometimes indicated as Minor).