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Southern ladies' journal. : (Little Rock, Ark.) 1886-18??
Place of publication:
Little Rock, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Southern Ladies' Journal Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 2, no. 42 (Apr. 17, 1886)-
Monthly <June-July, 1887>
  • English
  • Arkansas.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204809
  • Women--Arkansas--Newspapers.
  • Women.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01176568
sn 90050095
Preceding Titles:
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Southern ladies' journal. April 17, 1886 , Image 1


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Rural and Workman and "Ladies' Little Rock Journal," Little Rock Ladies' Journal, Arkansas Ladies' Journal, and Southern Ladies' Journal

In late-nineteenth-century Arkansas, women's voting rights gained traction as one of the leading political issues. Little Rock quickly became the hub of the state's suffrage movement, since it was the state capital and Pulaski County seat, making it the center of the state both politically and geographically. The first major publication to advocate for women's suffrage in Arkansas was the Ladies' Little Rock Journal, started by Mary Ann Webster Loughborough in 1884. The Journal was also the first Arkansas newspaper started by a woman and written for a female audience.

Before launching her newspaper, Mary Ann Loughborough had published a popular book of her first-hand experience at the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, during the Civil War. Her husband, James Moore Loughborough, served as a major in the Confederate Army, and Mary Ann and their daughter Jean moved with him to his various duty stations. Mary Ann kept a diary during the Vicksburg siege, which she later turned into the book My Cave Life in Vicksburg, published in 1864. After the Civil War, the Loughboroughs moved to Little Rock, where James died in 1876.

In 1884 Mary Ann Loughborough launched her newspaper, first publishing the Ladies' Little Rock Journal as part of another local newspaper, the Rural and Workman, a paper for farmers, mechanics, and workmen. By August 1884, she moved to publishing the Journal as a stand-alone paper, rearranging the title to the Little Rock Ladies' Journal. The Journal was a lengthy publication, typically running at 12 or more pages, issued every Saturday. Loughborough had several women writing for the paper, including her daughter, Jean Moore Loughborough, and Ellen Maria Harrell Cantrell. The Journal was unique among newspapers in the South for focusing not only on women's concerns, but also advocating for political issues like women's suffrage at a time when many were against women's voting rights.

The Journal's name changes over the years reflected its growth and increased reach, progressing from the Ladies' Little Rock Journal to the Little Rock Ladies' Journal to the Arkansas Ladies' Journal, and finally the Southern Ladies' Journal. Along with the expanded coverage indicated by the name change to the Southern Ladies' Journal in 1886, Loughborough planned to expand the paper itself by increasing the number of pages while publishing it twice a month rather than every week. However, the Journal's run ended unexpectedly in 1887 after her sudden illness and death.

Despite its early end, Loughborough's newspaper inspired the opening of the Woman's Chronicle (1888-1???), the next year. Catherine Campbell Cuningham, Mary Burt Brooks, and Haryot Holt Cahoon created the Chronicle to continue Loughborough's work for the women of the state. In its inaugural issue, it reported that the Journal had died with Loughborough, and they hoped to fill the void left behind so that the "daughters of Arkansas … should have and take pride in a paper all their own." The Chronicle, like the Journal, was a strong supporter of women's suffrage. Unfortunately, like the Southern Ladies' Journal, the Chronicle lasted less than five years before it ceased publication due to Cuningham's ill health.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives