Eleanor Franklin Egan

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Eleanor Franklin Egan (April 28, 1879 — January 17, 1925) was an American journalist and foreign correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post.

Early life[edit]

Bertha Eleanor Pedigo was born in 1879 (some sources give 1877), the daughter of Henry Pedigo and Bina Graves Pedigo. She lived for a time at the Rose Orphan Home in Terre Haute, Indiana,[1] and was raised by her adoptive family in Kansas City, Missouri.[2]


Eleanor Pedigo Franklin moved to New York City in 1898 in search of an acting career, having done some theatre work in Kansas City. From there she became a theatre critic at Leslie's Weekly magazine, and eventually moved into political journalism. In 1903 she was sent to Japan and later Russia; she covered the Russo-Japanese War, and the Russian Revolution for Leslie's and, from 1915 to 1925, World War I[3] and its aftermath for the Saturday Evening Post.[4][5] In 1915, she survived the deadly submarine attack on the British passenger ship Barulos.[6] Her reporting from Armenia in 1919[7] featured eyewitness accounts of desperation:

I did not believe that there were people anywhere down on their knees eating grass. I thought it very likely that starving persons might go out and gather grasses and greens of various sorts to be prepared for food, but that men, women and children should gather like cattle in herds to graze, this I did not believe – not until I saw it.[8]

She moved to the Philippines to co-edit the Manila Times with her second husband, and served as first president of the Philippine Anti-Tuberculosis Society while she was there.[9] She served on the advisory committee of the 1922 Conference on the Limitation of Armament,[10] in Washington, D. C.[11]

Egan helped First Lady Helen Herron Taft to write her memoirs.[12] She also published The War in the Cradle of the World (1917), about British military actions in Iraq.[13] Her book is still studied as an early 20th-century American analysis of the region.[14] Egan had opposed women's suffrage in print, but published an essay admitting to a change of heart soon after suffrage was won: "I feel like apologizing to the women of the combat battalions who have done all the fighting and who now bear all the scars."[15]

Personal life[edit]

Eleanor Pedigo married twice; first, briefly, to Joel Dalbey Franklin in 1895; they divorced. Her second husband was journalist and publicist Martin Egan; they married in 1905, in Japan.[16] She died in New York in 1925,[17] aged 45 years, from pneumonia secondary to giardia, a food- and water-borne parasite; among the honorary pallbearers at her funeral were Herbert Hoover, James Harbord, and Newton W. Gilbert. Other prominent attendees were Walter Lippmann, Kathleen Norris, Frank Munsey, Melville Elijah Stone, and Thomas W. Lamont.[18]


  1. ^ Bertha E. Pedigo, Records of Rose Orphan Home, Terre Haute, Indiana State Archives.
  2. ^ David Hudson, "‘A woman so curiously fear-free and venturesome’: Eleanor Franklin Egan reporting the Great Russian Famine, 1922" Women's History Review 26(2)(April 2017): 195-212.
  3. ^ Eleanor Franklin Egan, "Little Orphaned Allies" (1917), reprinted in War Readings (National Board for Historical Service, Scribner's 1918): 58-61.
  4. ^ Eleanor Franklin Egan, The FictionMags Index, Chronological List.
  5. ^ "Braves Dangers of the War Zone" Argus-Leader (February 28, 1916): 10. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  6. ^ "British Ship is Attacked by Submarine" The Tennesseean (November 29, 1915): 1. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "American Women Stirred by Armenian Horrors" Brazil Daily Times (February 7, 1920): 3. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  8. ^ David Hudson, "'Having Seen Enough': Eleanor Franklin Egan and the Journalism of Great War Displacement" in Ingrid Sharp and Matthew Stibbe, eds., Aftermaths of War: Women's Movements and Female Activists, 1918-1923 (BRILL 2011): 390. ISBN 9789004191723
  9. ^ United States Philippine Commission, Report of the Philippine Commission to the Secretary of War (1914): 122.
  10. ^ "Important Part At Arms Conference" Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (November 10, 1921): 17. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  11. ^ "Women on the Advisory Committee, Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington D. C., 1922" Who's Who Among the Women of California (Security Publishing Company 1922): 31-32.
  12. ^ Helen Herron Taft, Recollections of Full Years (Dodd Mead 1914): Foreword.
  13. ^ Eleanor Frankin Egan, The War in the Cradle of the World (Harper and Brothers 1918).
  14. ^ Paul J. Rich, ed., Iraq and Eleanor Egan's The War in the Cradle of the World (Rowman & Littlefield 2009). ISBN 9780739127087
  15. ^ Eleanor Franklin Egan, "Women in Politics to the Aid of their Party" Saturday Evening Post (May 20, 1920); excerpted at Jeff Nilsson and Eleanor Franklin Egan, "Against Her Self-Interest: An Anti-Suffragist Admits Her Mistake" Saturday Evening Post (August 25, 2016).
  16. ^ "Eleanor Egan Best Qualified Woman Aide" San Bernardino County Sun (November 21, 1921): 4. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  17. ^ "Eleanor Egan, Noted Authority on Far East Matters, Dead" Albuquerque Journal (January 19, 1925): 2. via Newspapers.comopen access publication – free to read
  18. ^ "Funeral of Mrs. Egan; Many Prominent Men Attend Services for War Correspondent" New York Times (January 21, 1925): 21.

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