Woman of the Century/Jennie Cunningham Croly
CROLY, Mrs. Jennie Cunningham, pioneer woman journalist, was born in Market-Harborotigh, Leicestershire, Kngland, 19th December, 1831. Her father was a Unitarian minister, descended from Scotch ancestors who left Scotland with James I and settled in England. Her mother belonged to an old country family. Her father, Rev. Joseph Howes Cunningham, brought his family to the United States when Jennie was about nine years old. Fie was a man of pronounced view s, and he had made himself unpopular by preaching and lecturing on temperance in his native town. On account of his obnoxious temperance views his English neighbors once mobbed his house, and his children were assaulted on their way to school. He had visited the United States before settling here. Jennie inherited her father's traits of character. She was a precocious child and early showed her literary trend in little plays written in childhood. Her first production that was published appeared in the New York "Tribune." Her taste lor journalism grew rapidly, and she at an early age took a position on the New York "Sunday Dispatch," at a salary of three dollars a week. Soon after she took a position on the New York "Sunday Times." at a salary of live dollars a week. That position she held for five years, doing general work in the line of items for women readers. She soon became a correspondent of the New Orleans "Delta" and the Richmond " Whig," an editorial writer on the "Democratic Review" and a regular contributor to the "Round Table." In 1856 she invented the duplicate system of correspondence and became one of the editors and the dramatic critic of the "Sunday Times." Her activity was remarkable. She became editor of the fashion department of "Frank Leslie's Magazine" and wrote the fashions for "Graham's Magazine." She aided in starting Madame Demorest's "Mirror of Fashions." a quarterly, which she wrote entirely for four years, and which was consolidated with the " Illustrated News" and became " Demorest's Illustrated Magazine." She edited it for twenty-seven years, and also started and controlled other minor publications for the same house. She introduced main-novelties in New York journalism. Early in life she became the wife of David G. Croly, then city editor of the New York " Herald," on which paper she did much work. In 1860 her husband was chosen managing editor of the New York "World." just started, and Mrs. Croly took charge of the department relating to women, which she controlled until 1872, and during eight years of that time sin- did similar work for the New York "Times." When the "Daily Graphic" was started in New York. Mr. Croly became its editor, and Mrs. Croly transferred her services to that journal. During those busy years she corresponded for more than a score of prominent journals in different States, and she is still serving many of them in that capacity. Her work throughout has had the distinct aim of building up the intellectual status of women. Her ideas have taken form in the organization of women's clubs and societies. In March, 1868, Mis. Croly, "Fanny Fern," Alice and Phœbe Cary, Mrs. Charlotte B. Wilbour, Miss Kate Field, Mrs. Henry M. Field, Mrs. Botta and other women met in Mrs. Croly's home in New York and started Sorosis, with twelve charter members. Alice Gary was chosen president, Mrs. Croly vice-president, Kate Field corresponding secretary, and Mrs. Wilbour treasurer and recording secretary. The New York Press Club invited Sorosis to a "Breakfast," at which the ladies had nothing to do but sit and eat. Sorosis, in return, invited the Press Club to a "Tea," and there the men had to sit and listen while the women did all the talking. The women were soon recognized, and Sorosis grew in numbers and influence. Alice Cary resigned the presidency at the end of the first year, and Mrs. Croly was unanimously elected in her place. She served fourteen years. She was among those calling woman's congress in New York, in 1856, and again in 1869. In 1887 she bought a half interest in JENNIE CUNNINGHAM CROLY. "Godey's Lady's Book," and served as editor of that journal. She resigned that position and started a monthly publication, the "Cycle," in New York. That journal was consolidated with the "Home Magazine," and Mrs. Croly is at present the editor of that periodical. She was chosen president of the Women's Endowment Cattle Company, originated by Mrs. Newby. That company, incorporated under the laws of New Jersey, had a capital stock of $1,500,000 and controled 2,000,000 acres of grazing land in New Mexico, with thousands of head of cattle. Mrs. Croly has a pleasant home in New York City. Her family consists of one son and one daughter. She has contributed largely to scientific journals. She is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, a member of the Goethe Club and vice-president of the Association for the Advancement of the Medical Education of Women. Her home has for years been a center of attraction for authors, artists, actors and cultured persons. Her writings would fill many volumes. Her published books are "Talks on Women's Topics" (1863), "For Better or Worse" (1875), "Three Manuals of Work" (1885-89). In nearly all of Mrs. Croly's literary correspondence she has used the pen-name, "Jenny June."