Woman of the Century/Eliza J. Nicholson
NICHOLSON, Mrs. Eliza J., editor and business woman, born near Pearlington, Hancock county. Miss., in 1849. She is well known in literary circles by the pen-name "Pearl Rivers," and as the successful owner and manager of the New Orleans "Picayune." In her short life she has accomplished a wonderful work. ELIZA J. NICHOLSON. She is perhaps the only woman in the world who is at the head of a great daily political newspaper, shaping its course, suggesting its enterprises, and actually holding in her hands the reins of its government. Mrs. Nicholson was Eliza J. Poitevent, born of a fine old Huguenot family, whose descendants settled in Mississippi. Her childhood and girl-life were spent in a rambling old country house, near the brown waters of Pearl river. She was the only child on the place, a lonesome child with the heart of a poet, and she took to the beautiful southern woods and made them her sanctuary. She was a born poet, and it was not long before she found her voice and began to sing. She became a contributor to the New York "Home Journal" and other papers of high standing under the pen-name "Pearl Rivers " She is the poet-laureate of the bird and flower world of the South. Her first published article was accepted by John W. Overall, now literary editor of the New York "Mercury," from whom she received the confirmation of her own hope that she was born to be a writer. While still living in the country the free, luxurious life of the daughter of a wealthy southern gentleman, Miss Poitevent received an invitation from the editor of the " Picayune " to go to New Orleans as the literary editor of his paper. A newspaper woman was then unheard of in the South, and it is pleasant to know that the foremost woman editor of the South was also the pioneer woman journalist of the South. Miss Poitevent went on the staff of the " Picayune" with a salary of twenty-live dollars a week. The work suited her and she the work, and she found herself possessed of the journalistic faculty. After a time she became the wife of Col. A. M. Holbrook, the owner of the "Picayune." When her husband died, she was left with nothing in the world but a big. unwieldy newspaper, almost swamped in a sea of debt. The idea of turning her back on that new duty did not occur to the new owner. She gathered about her a brilliant staff of writers, went faithfully and patiently to her "desk's dead wood," worked early and late, was both economical and enterprising, and. after years of struggle, won her battle and made her paper a foremost power in the South, yielding her a handsome, steady income It has been under her management for fifteen years. To those in her employ she is always kind and courteous, and her staff honor and esteem her and work for her with enthusiasm. In 1878 she became the wife of George Nicholson, then business manager of the paper and now part proprietor. In their hospitable home the gentle poet's proudest poems, her two little boys, Leonard and Yorke, brighten and gladden the peaceful days. She has published but one volume of poems, "Lyrics by Pearl Rivers" (Philadelphia, 1873).