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Rachel K. McDowell

Document with Rachel K. McDowell's name

Image courtesy of the New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, NJ

Rachel K. McDowell (1880-1949) worked as a reporter for the Newark Evening Press (1902-1908) and the New York Herald (1905-1919) and became the Religion Editor for the New York Times (1920-19480.

In this role, McDowell advocated for temperate language. She organized a Pure Language League that was responsible for eliminating blasphemy and profanity from the newspaper. During her 28 year tenure at the Times, McDowell also wrote for many church periodicals and lectured on religious topics. She even ran her own radio program of religious news.

Additionally, McDowell was active in the New York City Women’s Press Club. She assumed a leadership role in establishing high standards for her peers and encouraged young women to consider reporting and editing both challenging and rewarding endeavors. McDowell was also active in the League of American PEN Women, New Jersey Women’s Press Club, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. McDowell’s National Federation of Press women membership card testifies to her long, active career.



Burstyn, Joan N. 1990. “Rachel K. McDowell”. Past and Promise, Lives of New Jersey Women. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/54795053 

Wayne, Tiffany K., and Lois W. Banner. 2015. Women’s rights in the United States: a comprehensive encyclopedia of issues, events, and people. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/900027864 


Questions to Explore

What was a temperate language? How did the Pure Language League work?

What are some of the topic McDowell wrote about? 

How did McDowell convince young women to consider reporting and editing their challegng and rewarding endeavors?

Additional Resources

Biddle Gertrude Bosler and Sarah Dickinson Lowrie. 2016. Notable Women of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia Pa: University of Pennsylvania Press. https://doi.org/10.9783/9781512814477