By Elizabeth A. Novara
Curator, Historical Manuscripts
University of Maryland
Winifred Mallon was born in 1880 in North Evans, New York, to Robert Patrick Mallon (died 1912), a businessman, and Carrie L. Morsman (1853-1940). She had one sister, Mrs. Charles Dennison Oothoudt. Her father, Robert Mallon, was actively engaged in politics and took part in the 1888 presidential campaign. The Mallon family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1891.
Winifred worked for the cable desk of the State Department and later was a clerk for the War Department. She became a freelance journalist in 1902. In 1905, Winifred began working for the Washington bureau of the Chicago Tribune and specialized in reporting on women’s suffrage. She would remain at the Chicago Tribune for 20 years. Before the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU), founded in 1914, had a press department under Florence Boeckel, Winifred used her journalism skills to compose press bulletins for the organization. Winifred also wrote news articles and book reviews for The Suffragist, the weekly newspaper of the CU, later the National Woman’s Party (NWP). Her articles and editorials appeared in many other national newspapers.
As Chairman of the NWP’s Fifth Precinct of Washington, D.C., Winifred hosted meetings for the Fifth Precinct at her family’s house at 431 New Jersey Avenue, S.E. She and her family would often host members of the NWP who needed a place to stay while visiting Washington. Winifred also participated in a suffrage parade in Baltimore on June 28, 1912. In 1916, she was chosen to represent the District of Columbia and served as a special correspondent on a five-week CU railroad media tour, named the “The Suffrage Special,” to the western United States to rally support among women voters for the federal suffrage amendment and to organize the NWP.
In 1926, Winifred began working as a reporter for the New York Times news bureau in Washington, retiring in 1949. Her area of expertise was political conventions, hearings, Washington society, and the lives of the First Ladies. She was one of the founders of the Women’s National Press Club, serving as secretary from 1923 to 1927 and as president in 1935. She was also a member of Theta Sigma Phi and the American Press Society.
Winifred died of a heart ailment in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 1954, and is buried in a family plot in Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill.
There are many newspaper articles that contain small pieces of biographical information about Winifred or serve as examples of her work as a journalist. These are but a few examples:
"Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations in the War Department," Evening Star, August, 8, 1908.
“Recent Clerical Changes,” Evening Star, August 3, 1911.
“Capital Women March in the Rain,” The Washington Times, June 28, 1912.
“Patrick R. Mallon Dead,” Evening Star, December 29, 1912.
“Campaign Through the Country,” The Suffragist, July 24, 1915.
“Conference of Officers of the Congressional Union,” The Suffragist, April 15, 1916.
"The Woman’s Party and the Press," The Suffragist, September 13, 1919.
“Some Measures Now Pending in Congress in Which Women Have a Special Interest,” Evening Star, March 26, 1922. (by Winifred Mallon)
“Women and Public Affairs,” Evening Star, April 30, 1922. (by Winifred Mallon)
“Mrs. Mallon, 87, Mother of D.C. Writer, Dies,” Washington Post, July 22, 1940.
“Miss Mallon Dies; Retired From Times,” Washington Post, April 5, 1954.
The Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery has a pamphlet titled Congressional Cemetery Walking Tour: Suffrage! (https://congressionalcemetery.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Suffrage-Walking-Tour-rev.-2020_compressed.pdf) that contains a brief biography of Winifred and shows the location of her grave in the cemetery. Additionally, there is an oral history transcript of an interview with Alice Paul that contains some biographical information about Winifred:
Conversations with Alice Paul: Woman Suffrage and Equal Rights Amendment: Oral history Transcript, 1972-1976, University of California Berkeley, 1976. (Available on the Internet Archive) https://archive.org/stream/conversationsalice00paulrich/conversationsalice00paulrich_djvu.txt