Doris Fleeson

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Doris Fleeson
Doris Fleeson.jpg
Doris Fleeson (right) with Eleanor Roosevelt
Born(1901-05-20)May 20, 1901
DiedAugust 1, 1970(1970-08-01) (aged 69)
Other namesDoris Fleeson Kimball
Alma mater University of Kansas
Spouse(s) John O'Donnell

Doris Fleeson (May 20, 1901 – August 1, 1970) was an American journalist and columnist and was the first woman in the United States to have a nationally syndicated political column. [1]


Early life

Fleeson was born in Sterling, Kansas, to clothing store manager, William Fleeson, and Helen Fleeson (née Tebbe). [2] She was the youngest of six children. [1] In 1918, she graduated from Sterling High School, where she was the class valedictorian. [3]

In 1918, Fleeson attended Sterling College, then known as Cooper College, for an academic year. [1] Fleeson went on to attend and receive a B.A. in Economics from the University of Kansas in 1923. [4]


Early career

Fleeson's first journalism job was at the Pittsburg Sun . She moved to Evanston, Illinois, to become the society editor of the News-Index and then to Long Island, New York to be an editor at Great Neck News. In 1927, she joined the New York Daily News as a general assignment reporter, eventually moving to the newspaper's Albany bureau to cover state politics. [5]

Washington career

Fleeson and her husband, fellow Daily News reporter John O'Donnell, moved to Washington D.C. to work on at Daily News' Washington Bureau in 1930. They started a column together called "Capital Stuff" in 1933 that was published until their divorce in 1942. She left the Daily News in 1943 to be a war correspondent for Woman's Home Companion . She reported from France and Italy during the war before returning to Washington to write a political column for the Boston Globe and Washington Evening Star . In 1945, the column was picked up by the Bell Syndicate and distributed across the country. At its height in 1960, her column ran in about 100 newspapers. [6]

Honors and memberships

Personal life

In 1930, Fleeson married New York Daily News colleague, John O'Donnell, with whom she had a daughter, Doris O'Donnell. The marriage ended in divorce in 1942. [4]

In 1958, Fleeson married Dan A. Kimball, [8] who had been Secretary of the Navy from 1951–53, and later was President of Aerojet. [4] [9] Eleanor Roosevelt attended the wedding, as did financier Bernard Baruch. [10]

In 1970, Fleeson died of complications from a stroke. [11] [12]

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  1. 1 2 3 Sayler, Carolyn (25 April 2010). Doris Fleeson, Incomparably the First Political Journalist of Her Time. Santa Fe: Sunstone Press. ISBN   978-0-865-34759-5.
  2. "Dorris Fleeson - United States Census, 1910". FamilySearch . Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  3. Burnes, Brian (26 July 2010). "'Doris Fleeson' Blazed a Trail for Women Journalists". Popmatters . Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 "Personal Papers of Doris Fleeson, 1912-1970. Doris Fleeson Collection, University Archives, PP 186". Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries. 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  5. Riley, Sam G. (1 January 1995). Biographical Dictionary of American Newspaper Columnists. Greenwood Publishing Group. p.  89. ISBN   978-0-313-29192-0.
  6. Boylan, James (July 2010). "Brief Encounters". Columbia Journalism Review . Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  7. 1 2 Froman, Lewis A. (2 June 1957). "Doris Fleeson" (PDF). The Sage Colleges . Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  8. "Dan A. Kimball to Wed Doris Fleeson, Writer" (PDF). The New York Times . 4 July 1958. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  9. "Dan Able Kimball - First Lieutenant, United States Army Air Service Secretary of the Navy". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  10. "Dan Kimball Weds Mrs. Doris Fleeson" (PDF). The New York Times . 2 August 1958. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  11. "Doris Fleeson Kimball". Find A Grave . Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  12. "Doris Fleeson, Journalist, Dies; Winner of Journalism Honors" (PDF). The New York Times . 2 August 1970. Retrieved 11 July 2015.

Further reading