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Starting Out

"I had a terrible time convincing him I could stand the hardships."

Ready to Report

In the uniform she borrowed from the Ohio National Guard.  (5)

Peggy Hull was born Henrietta Eleanor Goodnough in 1889 in Kansas. She applied for her first newspaper job on the Junction City, Kansas Sentinel when she was a young woman of twenty.  The newspaper editor told her the position had already been filled, but that she could work as a typesetter if she didn't worry about her fingernails and if she was willing.  She was.  The fact that she applied for and was accepted for this job proved that she would be willing to do whatever it took to reach her dreams of being an investigative journalist.  It also proved that she didn't mind getting a little dirty and playing a little rough to work herself up. Henrietta, ever the bold and eager opportunist, had the perfect chance to prove what a journalist she could be when a fire broke out and she was the only person available to cover the story.

Between 1909 to 1916, Henrietta worked at newspapers all over the country.  It was during this time "Henrietta" became "Peggy Hull."  A newspaper editor had told her that he would not have someone with the name "Henrietta Goodnough Hull" writing articles for his paper.  So she changed her name to the perhaps more fitting and spunky "Peggy Hull."  Along with her husband, Peggy had the opportunity to cover stories in Colorado, California and even Hawaii.


Peggy worked in Minnesota and then in Cleveland, Ohio in 1916.  In March of that year, Pancho Villa's forces raided Columbus, New Mexico.  The Ohio National Guard was sent to patrol the Texas-Mexico border, while Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing and his troops tracked Villa in Mexico. Peggy was not given permission by her editor to travel with the guardsmen, so she quit and traveled to El Paso, Texas to report on the events.  Peggy thrived, using her charm and bravery to win favor with the officers and soldiers.  She mastered the technique of “networking”- keeping up contacts with other correspondents and military men.  She never did make it to the front, but her fifteen-day hike along with other soldiers was something to be proud of.  She convinced the general to allow her to accompany the other twenty thousand soldiers.  Despite pain, heat, and a sandstorm, she made it through like a “hardened veteran.”  Peggy was up to anything, whatever it took to get the facts.  She played hard and proved herself in every way, from hiking under intense conditions to sleeping on the ground. 
 Pershing never managed to capture Pancho Villa.  After eleven months in Mexico, Pershing led his troops home across the border.  Peggy was ready for their return.  Her article published on the front of the El Paso Morning Times, “Pershing’s Ten Thousand Back from Mexico, Silent, Swarthy, and Strong,” is said to be the most accurate of all newspaper articles detailing the event.