In 1900, the young and beautiful Leonel Ross Campbell became the first female reporter to work for the Denver Post. As the journalist known as Polly Pry, she ruffled feathers when she worked to free a convicted cannibal and when she battled the powerful Telluride miners’ union. She was nearly murdered more than once. And a younger female colleague once said, “Polly Pry did not just report the news, she made it!”
If only that young reporter had known how true her words were. Polly Pry got her start not just writing the news but inventing it. In spite of herself, however, Campbell would become a respected journalist and activist later in her career. She would establish herself as a champion for rights of the under served in the early twentieth century, taking up the causes of women, children, laborers, victims and soldiers of war, and prisoners. And she wrote some of the most sensational stories that westerners had ever read, all while keeping the truth behind her success a secret from her colleagues and closest friends and family.
Julia Bricklin has authored a dozen articles in well–respected commercial and academic journals, such as Civil War Times, Financial History, Wild West, True West and California History, and spent several years contributing to Forbes.com. Bricklin grew up in southern California, obtained a journalism degree at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and worked in the TV/film industry for fifteen years before obtaining her Master’s degree in history at Cal State Northridge. In addition to serving as associate editor of California History, the publication of the California Historical Society, she is a professor of history at Glendale Community College. She lives in Studio City, California.