Kentwood Series: Susan Croce Kelly on Lucile Morris Upton

Kentwood Series: Susan Croce Kelly on Lucile Morris Upton

Front cover of the Lucille Morris Upton biographyTwo Independent Women, Changing Times, And A Bully Pulpit:  Join Author Susan Croce Kelly on February 8th For the Low-Down on Pioneer Newswomen Lucile Morris Upton and Betty Love

Before the word Ozarks was synonymous with the idea of goofy hillbillies, fast boats, and family vacations, it was a place where real people lived their lives day-to-day and learned about the world from their local newspapers.

Lucile Morris Upton was one of the people who made reading newspapers worthwhile, and she is the subject of a new biography published by the University of Arkansas Press: Newspaperwoman of the Ozarks: the Live & Times of Lucile Morris Upton, by Susan Croce Kelly.

One hundred years ago (1923), when Upton traded her teaching job for a reporter’s notebook, she had no idea that during her career, she would rub shoulders with presidents, fly with aviation pioneer Wiley Post, cover the worst single killing of US police officers in the twentieth century, write an acclaimed book on the vigilante group known as the Bald Knobbers, and chart the growth of tourism in the Ozarks.

Between and during all that, however, she may have been best known as half of the Lucile Morris Upton-Betty Love reporter-photographer duo sent by the Springfield News & Leader to cover everything from murders and bank robberies to centennial celebrations and Ozarks folkways, often making the news as much as reporting on it.

Come and listen to author Kelly discuss the achievements – and the adventures – of the two independent career women as they told the story of our changing Ozarks almost a century ago.

Kelly, a former reporter at Upton’s own Springfield News-Leader and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, is also the author of two award-winning books on the history of old US 66: Route 66: The Highway and Its People (University of Oklahoma Press), and Father of Route 66, the Story of Cy Avery. She is also managing editor of OzarksWatch Magazine for Missouri State University’s Ozarks Studies Institute.

This talk will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 8th in the Crystal Ballroom in Kentwood Hall, on east St. Louis Street across from the Shrine Mosque. Ample free parking is available at the Kentwood.

It is part of the new Kentwood Series, just one initiative of the MSU Libraries and its Ozarks Studies Institute. Others include OzarksWatch Magazine, a publication that focuses on local history and culture; and the Ozarks Book Series, a list of locally focused titles it has published. It also led the digitization of dozens of episodes of the Ozark Jubilee, a national TV show created in Springfield, and is home to regionally significant collections of books, ephemera and other research materials. Click here to learn more.

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