Oklahoma journalist Edith Cherry Johnson was born on November 11, 1879, to Smith L. and Mary Caroline Hatcher Johnson in New Lexington, Ohio. She attended Miss Phelps's English and Classical School for Young Ladies and later Ohio State University. She left college after her mother's death and assumed the care of three younger sisters. In 1903 Johnson's father moved the family to Oklahoma City. His financial losses and death sent Johnson in search of employment. Newspapermen E. K. Gaylord and Roy Stafford hired her as a society editor for the Daily Oklahoman in 1908. She became the voice of traditional domesticity for Oklahoma women, and her column with her name and picture remained on the editorial page of the Oklahoman until her retirement in 1958. Unmarried and childless, Johnson devoted her life to her career. She published two advice books, Illusions and Disillusions (1920) and To Women of the Business World (1923), and some serialized romantic fiction. Johnson, a founder of Oklahoma City's Goodwill Industries, received numerous civic awards, including being the first woman named as an honorary member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1935, and Oklahoma City University awarded her an honorary doctorate in literature. She died in Oklahoma City on March 11, 1961.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Naomi Taylor Casey, "Miss Edith Johnson: Pioneer Newspaper Woman," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 60 (Spring 1982). Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 13 March 1961. Durward Howes, ed., American Women, 1935-1940: A Composite Biographical Dictionary (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1981). "Edith Johnson," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mary Hays Marable and Elaine Boylan, A Handbook of Oklahoma Writers (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939). Linda W. Reese, "'Dear Oklahoma Lady:' Women Journalists Speak Out," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 67 (Fall 1989). Linda W. Reese, Women of Oklahoma, 1890-1920 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997).
Linda W. Reese
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