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Laura Searing

Essay by   •  November 9, 2010  •  Essay  •  637 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,415 Views

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Laura Searing was one of only a few women of the 19th century who was a respected journalist. She was on the staff of several publications and acted as a war correspondent during the American Civil War. She conducted interviews with soldiers and Union Army Commander Ulysses S. Grant on battlefields along with interviewing President Abraham Lincoln for a story.

Laura's poetry was published extensively and praised by literary greats like John Greenleaf Whittier and William Cullen Bryant. She was the first woman during her lifetime to have a town named after her. All of this is great but it becomes amazing when you consider that from the age of 11 Laura Searing was deaf.

She was born on February 9, 1840 in Somerset County, Maryland. Her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1851 and that is when she contracted cerebrospinal meningitis. This left Laura deaf and with a speech impediment that left her only able to speak in sepulchral tones. Throughout her life, Laura depended on written communication until she was 15 and attended the Missouri School for the Deaf. This is where she learned sign language.

While attending the institution Laura composed essays and poetry on subjects such as religion, politics, nature and her own deafness. For her class graduation Laura wrote a farewell poem and gave a speech at commencement which was both published in the American Annals of the Deaf. Her first professional work was done for a church in St. Louis. Her work impressed the editors at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch so much that they hired her. When the Civil War began the newspaper sent her to Washington D.C as its war correspondent. To avoid offending other readers who thought that journalism was "man's work," all of her writing was published under the name Howard Glyndon. But it was not very effective. It was largely known that Howard Glyndon was a woman and it was accepted.

Laura's first two books were published during the wartime period. "Notable Men in the House" was a series of informal mini-biographies that were each based on a different congressman. "Idyles of Battle and Poems of the Republic" was a group of war poems. Laura went to Europe in 1865 where she continued to write stories for the St. Louis Republican and the New York Times and the New York Sun. She returned to the U.S in 1868 and took a job with the "Evening Mail" in New York City where

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