Mary Paxton Keeley Papers
|1886, June 2||Born, Independence, Mo.
First female graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism,
|1910 - mid-1910s
||Reporter, Kansas City Post; first woman news
reporter in Kansas City
|mid-1910s||Student of Journalism with a specialization in home
economics, University of Chicago
|mid-1917 - mid-1918
||Y.M.C.A. Canteen Service, France, during
World War I
|1919 - 1926||Married Edmund Burke Keeley (1919); son,
John Paxton Keeley born (1921); Edmund Keeley died (1926)
|early 1920s||Home extension agent, Holt County, Mo.
|mid-1920s||Correspondent, Atchison County Mail, Rockport,
|1928||Master's degree, University of Missouri
School of Journalism, Columbia, Missouri
|1929 - 1952||Professor of journalism and creative writing,
Christian (now Columbia) College, Columbia, Mo.; Founded the school
newspaper, The Microphone (1929)
|1952 - mid-1950s||Editor, Missouri Alumni
|1950s - 1980s||Took up painting and photography; continued to mentor
young women studying journalism; continued to write fiction, free-lance
articles, essays, poetry, and plays; authored Mary Gentry and John
Gallatin Paxton: A Memoir (1966), and her own memoir, Back
in Independence (Community Press, Inc., Chillicothe, Missouri,
1992; Keeley requested that her memoir be published posthumously)
|1986, December 6||Died, Columbia, Mo.|
The Papers of Mary Paxton Keeley consist of correspondence, dated between 1906 and 1963; clippings and miscellaneous material concerning Charles Ross, Bess Wallace Truman, and Margaret Truman; a collection of essays and sonnets by Keeley; and a Kansas City Times article (1966) honoring Keeley on her 80th birthday. The collection consists of one series, a subject file, arranged alphabetically.
Keeley grew up in Independence, Missouri, and lived next door to the Wallace family. She was a lifelong friend of Bess Wallace Truman and served as Margaret Truman's godmother. Letters from Margaret Truman, Bess Truman, and Bess' mother, Madge Wallace, are included in the correspondence. The letters span three decades, dated from the 1940s through the early 1960s.
Charles Ross also grew up in Independence and later taught in Columbia, Missouri at the University of Missouri School of Journalism where Keeley was a student. Ross and Keeley became engaged at the end of her first year there but never married. Letters from Ross, written between 1906 and 1950, comprise about half of the collection. Another folder contains letters written by Keeley and meant for Ross but never mailed. Some of these letters are dated in the 1920s while others are not dated.
Two versions of Keeley's sonnet cycle, To a Lost Lover, are included in the collection, along with two essays she authored entitled "Mandate from the Dead" and "The Tiber." The sonnets and essays are not dated. The miscellaneous material and clippings relating to Ross, Bess Truman, and Margaret Truman are dated from the 1940s through the early 1960s. Some of this material is not dated.
Other material at the Truman Library that relates to Mary Paxton Keeley includes an oral history interview conducted with Keeley (Oral History Interview # 25). The Western Historical Manuscript Collection at Columbia, Missouri maintains a much larger collection, the Papers of Mary Paxton Keeley, 1830-1983 (443 folders) that includes correspondence, diaries, manuscripts for articles, fiction, poetry, clippings, tapes, and photographs.
|1||Subject File, 1906-1963, 1966|
|Correspondence, 1906 to 1963; a collection of essays and sonnets by Keeley; and clippings and miscellaneous material concerning Charles Ross, Bess Wallace Truman, and Margaret Truman. Letters from Bess Wallace Truman, Margaret Truman, Madge Wallace, and Charles Ross make up the majority of the collection. There is one additional folder of personal letters meant for Ross but never sent. Arranged alphabetically by subject.|