Southern Ladies’ Journal

The Southern Ladies’ Journal, a weekly newspaper for women, operated from 1881 to 1887 in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Launched on June 21, 1881, as a section for women in the Rural and Workman newspaper under the title the Ladies’ Little Rock Journal, it would later become an independent publication. On August 8, 1884, it became the Arkansas Ladies’ Journal; in April 1886, it was renamed the Southern Ladies’ Journal. It ceased publication the following year.

Its founding editor was Mary Ann Webster Loughborough, the bestselling author of the Civil War memoir My Cave Life in Vicksburg. Its founding business manager was Sophie Crease, a resident of Little Rock known for her energy and enterprise. A women’s stock company, with Mary Loughborough as president, owned the newspaper. The company owned its presses, while several of Little Rock’s prominent women contributed to its content, which also included reprints of articles from other publications.

Joining a historic line of northern women’s publications, such as Susan B. Anthony’s Revolution (1868–1870), the journal was a major new departure for the South. The Woman’s Journal, the long-running national publication of the American Woman Suffrage Association, welcomed it for featuring not only women’s general domestic concerns, but because it took a stand on such women’s issues as the right to vote.

The newspaper originally ran its business side from Wilson and Webb’s store at 212 Main, but late in 1886, consolidated with its editorial offices at 8th and Main. Plans were announced in early 1887 to increase the size of the twelve-page publication and issue it every two weeks instead of weekly, but Mary Loughborough took ill and died on August 26, 1887. The Southern Ladies’ Journal stopped publication with her death.

For additional information:
Cahill, Bernadette. Arkansas Women and the Right to Vote: The Little Rock Campaigns, 1868–1920. Little Rock: Butler Center Books, 2015.

Evins, Janie Synatzske. “Arkansas Women: Their Contribution to Society, Politics and Business, 1865–1900.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 44 (Summer 1985): 118–133.

“Kindly Mention.” Arkansas Ladies’ Journal, November 28, 1885, p. 2.

“A Novel Newspaper.” Arkansas Gazette, June 18, 1884, p. 5.

“The Southern Ladies’ Journal.” Arkansas Gazette, February 16, 1887, p. 4.

Southern Ladies’ Journal. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. (accessed August 10, 2023).

Bernadette Cahill
Vicksburg, Mississippi


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