Dorothy Dix: 1766-1951
bibliography of her writings
Inga A. Filippo,
MLS. Professor of Library Administration
Austin Peay State University
Dorothy Dix (Elizabeth Meriwether
November 18, 1861 – December 16, 1951
1766-1843. Charles Meriwether, son of Nicholas
Meriwether of Albemarle County, Virginia and Margaret Douglas Meriwether
of the Douglas House, Scotland, was born and reared in Albemarle County,
Virginia. His father died in 1772, and his grandfather, Parson Douglas,
tutored him and helped provide for his education. In 1789 Charles went
to Edinburgh to enter medical school.
1790s. Charles Meriwether
marries a Scottish cousin, Lydia Laurie and they have one daughter who
lived only a few years as did Mrs. Meriwether.
Meriwether marries Nancy Minor (1781-1801), daughter of Dabney and Ann
Anderson Minor. A son, Charles Nicholas, was born to them in august
1801. Death claimed the mother shortly thereafter.
Charles Nicholas Minor Meriwether, born in Halifax County, Virginia and
died at Woodstock, Todd County, Kentucky. His wife Caroline H. Barker
was born in Virginia on May 18, 1804 and died at Woodstock December 3,
1807ca. Charles Meriwether marries for the third time and
his wife is Mary Walton Daniel, a Virginia widow. They have two
children, William Douglas (1809-1885) and James Hunter (1814-1890).
1809. Charles and Mary Meriwether moved to Guthrie, Kentucky and
settled on a farm consisting of 1600 acres. A year later they build a
commodious brick house on the farm and named it Meriville.
Charles Nicholas Minor Meriwether married Caroline H. Barker. Their home
was Woodstock, Todd County, Kentucky.
1824. Charles Edward (Ned)
Meriwether is born (Dix’s paternal uncle).
1827. Nancy Minor
Meriwether is born.
1830. Mary Walton Meriwether is born.
1837, January 1-1930, September 12. William Douglas Meriwether was Dix’s
1840, November 7-1878, September 6. Mariah Kimbrough
Winston was Dix’s biological mother.
1842, August 19-1886, August
31. Martha H. Mattie Chase Gilmer. Quincy, Adams County, Illinois (Dix’s
1853, April 2-1929, January. George Oglethorpe
Gilmer. Quincy, Adams County, Illinois (Dix’s husband).
November 18. Elizabeth Meriwether was born on the 5,000+ acre Woodstock
horse farm plantation located in both Montgomery County, Tennessee and
Todd County, Kentucky.
She was the oldest of three children. Her
father was William Douglas Meriwether and her mother was Maria Kimbrough
Winston Meriwether. Her sister Mary was the middle child and her brother
Charles Edward was the youngest of the three children.
stepmother was Martha (Mattie) Gilmer Chase Meriwether. Mattie’s
grandfather and father became medical men, general practitioners in
their hometowns. Mattie was the widow of a cousin to William Douglas
1861, December 29. Ned was killed in the Battle
of Sacramento, Kentucky.
1863. Dix’s father left Woodstock to
serve in the Civil War.
1865. Mary Douglas Meriwether Patch
(Dix’s sister) was born.
1869. Charles Edward Meriwether (Dix’s
brother) was born.
1877. Elizabeth graduated from the Female
Academy in Clarksville, Tennessee.
1877. Elizabeth completed one
semester at Hollins Institute in Botetourt Springs, Virginia (today is
Hollins University). While here she received the school’s annual
composition contest medal for her story titled Night Brings Out the
Stars, a romantic piece she composed in frustration over having been
referred to “as that little snip” by one of her teachers. In an
interview with Harnett Kane (author of the Dix biography) Dix mentioned
that her writing career began with this story (Kane, p. 34).
1878. Dix’s mother died and Elizabeth worked in her father’s Clarksville
office as part-time book keeper and letter writer before she married
1880s. Elizabeth has short stories published in the
Nashville American newspaper.
1880-1881. Elizabeth travels to
Quincy, Illinois to visit her stepmother’s family, the Gilmers. While
there she meets George who later becomes her husband.
November 21. Elizabeth marries George Oglethorpe Gilmer (her
1884. George O. Gilmer begins to show
signs of mental problems.
1896, December 5. “How Chloe Saved the
Silver,” by Dix. Daily Picayune.
1887, April 2. The Albert Sydney
Johnston statue was unveiled at Metairie Cemetery. The sculptured horse
General Johnston sits on is (supposedly) Firefly, a horse from the
Woodstock horse farm in Kentucky. It is documented in family letters
that some of General Johnston’s horses came from Woodstock.
Elizabeth Meriwether marries George Oglethorpe Gilmer. He died in 1929.
1890s. George O. Gilmer (Dix’s husband) sets up a plant in New
Orleans for the distillation of turpentine products. U.S. government
publications list him among “pioneers of the industry.”
Elizabeth is taken by her family to Bay St. Louis on the Mississippi
Gulf Coast to rest. Here she meets Eliza Jane Poitevent Holbrook
Nicholson (Pearl Rivers), the owner of the New Orleans newspaper Daily
1894-1901. Elizabeth worked as a columnist and reporter
for the Daily Picayune.
1894. Elizabeth has her first publication
in the Daily Picayune, How Chloe Saved the Silver, a story based on the
true account of how Mr. Dick, a Meriwether servant, buried the family
silver to protect it from theft during the Civil War. Ms. Nicholson paid
Elizabeth three dollars for the short story.
starts work at the Daily Picayune, writing vital statistics, obituaries
and short news items for a salary of three dollars per week. Three years
later she is writing theatre columns and editing the women’s page which
included the column “Dear Dorothy Dix.” This was the column that made
her famous and rich.
1894. Major Nathaniel Burbank is the editor
of the Daily Picayune and hires Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer.
1894. Elizabeth lives in a rented room on Camp Street, New Orleans while
working for the Daily Picayune which is located on the same street. Her
husband George stayed with her here.
1895. Application filed to
the U.S. patent office to take on the trade-mark Dorothy Dix.
1895. Dix begins writing her column “Dorothy Dix Talks of Women We Know”
for the Daily Picayune.
1895, May 5. Elizabeth begins writing her
first weekly column named “Sunday Salad” for the New Orleans Daily
Picayune p. 25 (101) 892 words, per Major Nathaniel Burbank’s
suggestion. Within 4 months the article had expanded to 1800+ words.*
1896. Elizabeth adopts the pen name Dorothy Dix for her column.
Dorothy, because she liked the name and Dix in honor of the old family
slave Dick who had saved the Meriwether family silver during the rages
of the Civil War. Within months the column was renamed to “Dorothy Dix
Talks” and became the world’s longest-running newspaper feature. The
“Dorothy Dix Talks” column became Dix’s second column writing of her
1896-1901. Sometime during these years Dix serves as the
Women’s Page Editor for the Daily Picayune.
1897. Daily Picayune
sends Dix to England to cover Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Dix’s
father traveled with her (Kane p. 79).
1897, June 4. Dix writes
from Glasgow, Scotland. “From New York to Glasgow,” New Orleans Times
1897, June 8. Dix writes from Ayr, Scotland. “On
Scotland’s Fair Strand,” New Orleans Times Picayune.*
June 10. Dix writes from Stronach la Char, Scotland. “In Bonnie
Scotland,” New Orleans Times Picayune.*
1897, June 12. Dix writes
from Edinburgh, Scotland. “Scotland’s Capital City,” New Orleans Times
1897, June 22. Dix writes from London, England. “In
Greater London,” New Orleans Times Picayune.*
1897, July 1. Dix
writes from Paris, France. “Shopping It Is Fun and Trouble - A New
Orleans Woman Tries It Abroad,” New Orleans Times Picayune.*
1898, July 17. Column article titled “The Selfishness of Men,” Picayune.
Dix talks about two violent tragedies; the sinking of the steam-ship
Bourgogne and a fire at a charity bazaar in Paris. In both incidences
men were saved at the expense of the lives of women and children.
Of the 300 women on board the ill-fated Bourgogne, which sunk at sea
a few days ago, only one woman was saved. Of the 200 people who came out
alive, only one was a woman. Survivors tell how women, struggling to
reach the boats, were beaten down and trod upon, how those who succeeded
in getting on the rafts were pushed off and thrust under the water with
boat hooks, how the little white hands of women and children, clinging
to life lines, were hacked off with knives.*
1900. Dix wrote short stories under her real name. Mara’s Story, Juba
and the Ghost, Her Christmas Gift and others.
1900. Dix got the
first offer to work for the Hearst Journal in New York which she turned
down. She wanted to stay with her mentor Major Burbank at the Picayune.
She granted permission for the Journal to use some of her writings, and
accepted a part time contract to report to the Journal on the notorious
temperance crusader Carry Nation’s endeavors.
1900. Dix’s brother
Edward moved from Clarksville to New Orleans to take over the management
of the turpentine business Dix’s husband George had started but was
unable to uphold.
1901. Dix’s mentor and Editor Nathaniel Burbank
died of a heart attack.
1901-1907. Dix and her husband George
lived at 440 Riverside Drive, New York City, New York. They bought their
first car during this time. Dix enjoyed riding in a car throughout her
1901-1917. Dix covers the New York criminal scene for the
New York Evening Journal in addition to the “Dorothy Dix Talks” column
published three times per week at first and later daily. In her “My
Autobiography” for the Ledger Syndicate she says that “it was my first
writings for my gender about relationships of men and women.”
1901. Dix’s address in New York was: Mr. and Mrs. George Gilmer, 440
Riverside Drive, New York, NY.
1901. Dix is hired by the
newspaper magnate Randolph Hearst and moves to New York City to write
for the New York Evening Journal.
1901. Dix became inundated with
mail from New Yorkers and realized they also had problems.
Dix moves to New York from New Orleans and takes her cook Milly with
her. Miss Milly (surname unknown) became well known among Dix’s artsy
friends as the “Southern Cook of many well tasting dishes.” First-class
tasting food was important to Dix.
1901, April 1. Dix hired by
William Randolph Hearst and starts work in the New York City Journal
office. Immediately begins to cover murder trials.
begins to cover the Carrie Nation’s salon smashing which became a
nationally known episode.
1901. Dix continues to write her
“Dorothy Dix Talks” column three times per week for the next 16 years in
the Journal. She became inundated with mail from New Yorkers and
realized they also had problems.
1901. Dix becomes known as one
of the four original “Sob Sisters;” Ada Patterson, Nixola Greeley-Smith
and Winifred Black (Annie Laurie). Dix, and the other three Sob Sisters,
became a fixture at murder trials that involved women in the roaring
1902. Dix and her husband George took half a double
house at 1617 Jackson Avenue, next to St. Charles. At this time she
wanted the chance to establish her own home. She printed Mrs. George O.
Gilmer on her calling card, and did not want the “Dix part” of her
intrude on her life at this time. She hoped to rekindle their marriage
(Kane p. 124).
1902. Dix’s first book Fables of the Elite was
1905. Dix covers the Nan Patterson murder trial.
1905. Dix featured in a full page of The New York Herald due to her
outstanding journalistic activities. The salute included an interview,
work history, photographs and drawings.
1905. Dix started to
write five columns per week instead of three per request from Mr.
Brisbane. Her writings were also printed in other Hearst syndicated
papers such as the Cosmopolitan.
1906. Dix wrote the story of
Josephine Terranova that changed the verdict of the case and set
Josephine free. The judge and jury agreed with the city editor of the
Journal who was given the story by Dix.
1906. Dix covers the
Harry Thaw-Stanford White murder trial which subsequently brought her
permanently to New York coupled with a pay increase. Dix became the
highest paid woman journalist in the United States at that time.
1907, March. “Woman’s Most Attractive Age,” by Dix. Cosmopolitan
42:569-71, March 1907.
1908. Dix’s column “Dorothy Dix Talks”
becomes a daily feature.
1909. Times-Picayune dropped Dix’s
column “Dorothy Dix Talks.” Mr. Rapier serving as the Picayune treasurer
decided to cut costs, but the New Orleans Item picked it up (Kane p.
1910-1920. Good Housekeeping magazine printed Dix’s “Mirandy”
1911, June. “Mirandy on Aids to Beauty,” by Dix. Good
Housekeeping 52; 679-81, June, 1911.
1913. Mammy Emily died.
1914. The “Mirandy” stories were published and in 1922 the
Mirandy Exhorts were published.
1914-1916. Dix works with the New Orleans feminists Kate and Jean Gordon
in lobbying for women’s rights (Kane p.198).
1914. Dix was the
keynote speaker at the Suffrage Jubilee meeting in Boston along with
professor Seubling. Also present were Miss Shaw, Mrs. Catt, Mrs. Belmont
and Mrs. Makey.
1914. Dix was the U.S. delegate to the
International Women’s Suffrage Convention in Stockholm, Sweden. Due to
W.W.I insecurities she decided not to attend. However, she visited
Stockholm later on one of her European travels and said it was “the most
beautiful city she had ever seen.”
1914, July. “Case for Women
Judges,” by Dix. Good Housekeeping 59: 48-51, July 1914.
Dix publishes the book Hearts a la Mode.
1916. Dix and George return to New Orleans from having lived in New
York City since 1901.
1916, July 19. Patent renewal of the
trade-mark Dorothy Dix subscribed and sworn to on this date before R.W.
Lickley, notary public. Registered March 13, 1917, Commissioner of
Patents, Washington, D.C.
1916. New York Journal editor Arthur
Brisbane did not agree to give Dix a reduced writing load upon her
request. Dix resorted to syndicated writing. She was 55 years old and
had worked for the Journal for 16 years.
1916. Dix signed a
contract with the Wheeler Syndicate.
1917. Dix leaves the Hearst
employment in New York City.
1917-1923. Dix writes for the
Wheeler Syndicate and concentrates her writing on the “Dorothy Dix
1917. Dix returns to New Orleans and writes
“sermonettes” three days per week and during the other three days she
publishes actual letters and the answers for Wheeler Syndicate
publications. Her secretaries are Ella Bentley Arthur and Mrs. Cyril
Ryan, the latter is referred to as “the other secretary,” who cared for
the mechanics of handling the columns.
1917, January 14. Dix and
her husband George leave for their journey to the Far East, a trip she
had longed to take for years. They visited Japan, China and Java.
1917, March 13. Patent application and declaration for the Dorothy
Dix trade-mark is renewed.
1918. A distraught Dix took a trip
around the world. Upon her return she moved back to New Orleans where
her father and brother had taken up residences.
1919. Dix took
her first world tour.
1920-1927. Dix served on the board of the
Picayune. She was the first woman to serve on this board.
Last time Dix saw her husband George before he went to Florida to stay
with relatives. He was later admitted to a place of safety by his
1920, April 22. Dix Among Honored Women Writers.*
1922. The book of Mirandy Exhorts was
1922. Holland’s Magazine, October issue, printed an
article about Dix titled “The Beloved Woman,” by Wynonah Breazeale
1922, December. The Times-Picayune selected Dix as a
member of their Board of Directors. She was their first female board
1923. Dix signs with the Philadelphia based Public
Ledger Syndicate which takes over the Dorothy Dix Talks column writings.
Dix’s writings are published in 273 papers. Her estimated reading
audience is about 60,000,000 in United States, England, Australia, New
Zealand, South America, China, Mexico, Hawaii, the Philippine Islands,
Puerto Rico and Canada (1923-1942).
1923, May 9. Dix addressed a
meeting of the New Orleans Business and Professional Women’s Club.*
1923, September. “Joy of being Fifty,” by Dix. Good Housekeeping
1924-1925. Dix built her new house in New Orleans on
6334 Prytania Street and Exposition Boulevard with the Audubon Park on
the west side.
1924. Dix publishes the book
My Trip Around the World.
December 7. Dix returns from Europe.*
1924. Dix serves as first
vice president of the Le Petit Salon next to Grace King as president.
Dix was a member of the first officers of the club after it had been
legally chartered on December 31, 1924.
1925. Dix published the
second volume of Mirandy writings called
1925. Dix addressed members of the New
Orleans Advertising Club.*
1925, October 28. Dix addressed pupils
of the Sophie B. Wright High School.*
1926. Dix returns to New
Jersey to cover the nationally known Hall-Mills murder trial as a
special favor to her syndicate, The Philadelphia Public Ledger
1926. Dix published the book
Dorothy Dix, Her Book: Every-day Help for Every-day People (based
on her column) was published.
1926, March 14. Dix tells about
this business of writing.*
1926, April 27. Dix addresses members
of the Parent Teachers Association at annual conference.*
July 30. John Cook of Baltimore names new crimson rose after Dorothy
1926, August 20. New crimson rose named after Dorothy Dix
at florists’ convention.* Encyclopedia of Rose Science, Three-Volume
Set; “flowers rose-pink, borne in clusters.”
1926, September 13.
Dix thanks Leonard K. Nicholson, president of the Times-Picayune, for
cable telling the florists had named a rose after her.*
returns to New York City to cover the (Frances) Halls-Mills trial.
1926, October 7. Dix was boarded on the De Grasse French cruise
lines which developed trouble while hours out from the New York harbor.
1926, December 12. Dix returns to New Orleans from New York after
the Halls-Mills trial.
1927, January. Mrs. Stanley Arthur (Ella)
begins her work as Dix’s secretary.
1927, January 1. Dix’s
father died while visiting his daughter Mary in Chicago. Mr. Meriwether
was brought to Clarksville, Tennessee for burial in the Greenwood
1927, March 9. Mrs. E. M. Gilmer advises “Y” girls how
to be charming and stunts rouse interest in adventures.*
1927, April 21. Dix gives talk at the Newcomb Book Fair on “Authors I
1927, June 9. Dix was awarded honorary degree of
Doctor of Letters by Tulane University in recognition of her
contributions to the quality of life in the United States.*
July 17. Dix awards the first annual Dorothy Dix scholarship prize of
$100 for an outstanding student pursuing a degree in the Tulane
University School of Journalism.*
1927, August 21. Dix was
elected complimentary member of the Orleans Club, New Orleans.*
1927, August 28. Dix addresses Newcomb students on “The Navy.”*
1927, November 14. Dix makes appeal for the Community Chest.*
1927, November 14. Dix speaks to Y.M.B.C. on “Tired Business Man.”*
1928, January 11. Judges select a winner in Dix $100 competition for
best human interest story written by a Tulane journalism student.*
1928, April. “Dorothy Dix: Matrimony and Horse Sense.” H: F.
Pringle. Outlook, 148:538-40, April, 1928.
1928, May 24. This
date was designated as the “Dorothy Dix Day” in New Orleans. The
ordinary people of New Orleans honored Dix on this day in the City Park
with speeches and flowers. Reception followed at the Delgado Museum. Dr.
Brandt V. B. Dixon, president emeritus of Newcomb College, said a reason
for Dorothy Dix’s phenomenal popularity was that “in her solutions of
problems she always appealed to the self-respect of her questioner,
reminding them that within themselves were the only judges from whose
decisions there could be no appeal.”*
1928, May 27. Dix were to
meet admirers in City Park to bid her farewell on trip abroad.”*
1928, May 31. Dix honored at the Y.M.B.C. as the World’s Best Woman.*
1928, June 3. City will pay tribute to Dix today at 5:00pm with
reception in the Delgado Museum.*
1928, June 6. The public
tribute to Dix scheduled for yesterday is delayed by rain.*
June 6. Dix is welcomed as the nation of Egypt’s guest this summer. The
Egyptian Consulate in New Orleans refuses fee for famous traveler’s
1928, June 9. Katheryn Schell chosen to present
gift to Dix.*
1928, June 10. Dorothy Dix journalism award is won
by Samuel Lang, Tulane University School of Journalism.
June 11 (Sunday). Thousands of New Orleanians from all walks of life pay
tribute to Dix in a farewell reception before she leaves for a tour of
Europe and Asia.*
1928, October 30. Dix returns to New Orleans
from travels in Europe and Asia.*
1928, November 19. Dix lists
many claims of the Community Chest to the consideration of New Orleans.*
1929. Sociologists Robert S. and Helen Merrel Lynd’s study
Middletown, 1929 noted that Dorothy Dix was well known to the people of
Middletown (Muncie, Indiana) and wrote “perhaps she is the most potent
single agency of diffusion” from outside the town. Dix clearly shaped
the habits of thought of Middletown in regard to marriage.
Dix writes about her Old World travels in a series titled
In the Footsteps of Famous Women
published in The Times Picayune.*
1929, January. Dix’s husband
George O. Gilmer died in Orange County, Florida. There is no death
record of his death in Florida. “This is to certify that a thorough
search of the central registry of Florida containing all 67 counties in
Florida has failed to locate a record that falls within the criteria
provided and specified below, 01/01/1929-12/31/1929. Bureau of Vital
Statistics, Deputy State Registrar, Kenneth T. Jones, March 25, 2011.”
Mr. Gilmer is not buried with his wife in Metairie Cemetery, New
1929, February 17. The first part of the series titled
“Specialist in love takes you to home of great vamp.”
In the Footsteps of Famous Women, The
1929, February 24. The second part of the series
titled “Land of Cleopatra looks upon her sex without sympathy.” In the
Footsteps of Famous Women, The Times Picayune.*
1929, March 3.
Dix describes her travels around Palestine in the third part of the
series titled “Ruth with Naomi visioned in field of old Palestine.”
In the Footsteps of Famous Women, The
1929, March 10. Dix writes about Jerusalem in
the fourth part of the series titled “Most fascinating of world’s cities
is old Jerusalem.” In the footsteps of Famous
Women, The Times Picayune.*
1929, March 17. Dix continues
to depict her journey throughout the Middle East in the fifth part of
her travels in the Old World. “Dainty ghosts line roads of holy land and
haunt byways.” In the Footsteps of Famous
Women, The Times Picayune.*
1929, March 24. Dix writes
“Finds harem party with shingled hair and Parisian gowns.” The sixth
episode in the series about travels in the Old World,
In the Footsteps of Famous Women, The
1929, March 31. Dix describes in the seventh
episode about her travels in the Old World. “Finds Eve did well by being
driven out of Garden of Eden.” In the Footsteps of Famous Women, The
1929, April 7. Dix writes in her eighth part of
the series. “Persians so lovely shah issues orders that veils must go.”
In the Footsteps of Famous Women, The Times Picayune.*
April 14. Dix’s ninth episode which concludes the series In the
Footsteps of Famous Women, The Times Picayune. “”Memories of Helen cling
about shores along Grecian seas.”*
1929, May 3. Dix addressed
members of the Association of Commerce at a luncheon.*
21. Dix visited inmates of the United States Veterans Hospital and
answered their questions of love.*
1929, May 25. Dix took her
first airplane ride in a cabin monoplane to Mexico.
1929, June 9.
Dix’s annual journalism prize is awarded to the Tulane student Harnett
T. Kane. He later wrote a biography of Dix, the only one written.*
1929, November 5. The mother of Gloria Rouzer, alias Ione Orde, is
paying the price for her daughter’s escapades, says Dix after
interviewing Mrs. Rouzer on her arrival to New Orleans.*
October 20. Dix pleads to the people of New Orleans to support their Le
1929, October 28. Dix in an address before the
Arts and Craft Club of her experience as “confessor” to millions.*
1929, November 13. Dix welcomes steel men as the American Institute
of Steel Construction, Inc., open their convention at Edgewater Park,
1930, September 12. Dix’s father died at the age of
93 while visiting his daughter Mary in Chicago. His body was brought by
train to the Clarksville train station from Chicago where his daughter
Mary Patch lived. Family members accompanied the deceased on the train
from Chicago to Clarksville. He was born January 1, 1837. The funeral
was held in Greenwood Cemetery, Clarksville, Tennessee.
January. Dix’s husband George O. Gilmer died in Orange County, Florida.
There is no death record of his death in Florida. “This is to certify
that a thorough search of the central registry of Florida containing all
67 counties in Florida has failed to locate a record that falls within
the criteria provided and specified below, 01/01/1929-12/31/1929. Bureau
of Vital Statistics, Deputy State Registrar, Kenneth T. Jones, March 25,
2011.” Mr. Gilmer is not buried with his wife in Metairie Cemetery, New
1930th. Dix’s estimated income was $80,000 a year.
Average income in the U.S. at that time was less than $1,500 a year.
1930th late. Dix continues to receive around a thousand letters per
week from readers, men and women alike and of all social levels. The
volume of mail necessitated a system for handling the correspondence.
Secretaries were hired to help sort and respond to mail.
February 22. Dix is guest at Hollins Institute‘s alumnae luncheon. Dix
displays medal won in early days for composition.
1930, June 8.
Fourth annual Dorothy Dix award for the best human interest story is won
by Mrs. Helen Hill of the Tulane School of Journalism.*
Dix visits Tahiti (Kane p. 253).
1931, February 25. Dix lauds
Miss Jean Gordon, civic worker whose death yesterday is regretted.*
1931, April 23. Dix is guest of honor at New York tea attended by
1931, April 26. Dix will be awarded an honorary
degree of doctor of letters by Oglethorpe university early in May.*
1931. Dix will deliver address before Newcomb college seniors and
Tulane university senior co-eds at a reception to be given by the New
Orleans branch of the American Association of University Women.*
1931, May 5. In an address before Newcomb College seniors, Dix
declares that “women make better news-gatherers than men.”*
May 21. Dix is made honorary member of Theta Nu, Tulane Journalism
1931, May 24. William A. Bell, Jr., is awarded the
Dorothy Dix award at the Tulane school of journalism.*
25. Dix is granted an honorary doctor of letters degree from Oglethorpe
University, Atlanta, Georgia.*
1931, May 28. Dix leaves New
Orleans for California on tour which is expected to take her to the Far
East and which will last until November.*
1931, August 8. Dix was
greeted by large crowd on her arrival at Manila.*
4. Dix returns home following a four month trip to the Far East.*
1931, November 16. Dix tells why she is sold on the Community Chest
1931, November 23. Dix delivers at today’s luncheon of
Community Chest workers.*
1932. Dix leaves New Orleans for the
East by plane.
1932, January. “And So You are in Love, by Dix.
Ladies Home Journal 49:6+ January 1932.
1932, January 24. Dix
becomes president of the Le Petit Salon succeeding the late Miss Grace
1932, March 9. Dix is among group of prominent Louisianans
and New Yorkers who sailed yesterday with Frans Blom for a visit of
Mayan ruins in Yucatan.*
1932, April 16. Dix talks at the first
annual Mother, Dad and Son dinner of the Y.M.C.A., defends the youth of
1932, May 13. Dix addresses the members of the Le Petit
Salon mourning the death of the late Miss Grace King.*
18. Dix in an address before members of the Orleans Club defends the
right of married women to hold positions in the business world.*
1932, May 22. John W. Burke, student at Tulane school of journalism,
wins the Dorothy Dix award of $100 for the best human interest story
written by a student during the past year.*
1932, May 29. Dix
delivers address at banquet closing the fifth annual convention of the
Louisiana Press Association in New Orleans.*
1932, August 6. Dix
leaves New Orleans for the East by plane.*
1932, November 7. Dix
says that it should not be necessary to ask for contributions to the
Community Chest this year.*
1933. Dix signs on to the Bell
1933. Dix writes the foreword to the cookbook
Gourmet’s Guide to New Orleans, by Natalie V. Scott and Caroline Merrick
Jones. The book was published by the authors with a first printing of 20
copies and subsequent copies in 1939 and 1941. The book was picked up by
Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. and reprinted in 1975, 1980 and 1987.
“A foreign critic once described America as a country which had one
sauce and twenty different religions. Evidently he did not reach New
Orleans in his travels, or else he would have discovered that its
gravies are even more varied than its theology, and that good cooking is
one of its religions. In this thrice blessed city….” (455 words).
1933, January 17. Dix addresses press and publicity luncheon of the
New Orleans Women’s Club. She says that “the art of ballyhoo is a great
and noble one.”*
1933, January 30. Dix’s paper giving hints on
marriage was read by Mrs. Arthur Nolte in the 3rd of a series of
lectures in a forum sponsored by the Y.M.C.A.*
1933, February 16.
Dix delivers address before the February program of the New Orleans
Assembly of Delphians.*
1933, March 8. Dix delivers talk before
members of the Orleans Club, New Orleans.
1933, March 9. Dix
receives numerous letters showing that America comes up smiling even in
1933, March 27. Dix delivers a talk before the
Alumni Association of the New Orleans University.*
1933, May 21.
Mr. Edmond Lebreton wins the Dorothy Dix award of the Tulane University
School of Journalism.*
1933, September 20. Dix returns from a
3-month trip through South and Central America, tells of “grand-time”
she had during the trip.*
1933, November 5. Dix delivers address
as honor guest at the annual fall luncheon of the Delphians.*
1934, January 16. Dix tells how she originated plan of advice column.*
1934, May 20. Dix speaks at church benefit in Pass Christian.*
1934, June. Dix visits Clarksville for a family reunion at Dunbar
1934, July. “Columnists as They See Themselves,” by Dix.
Literary Digest 118:10 July 21, 1934.
1934, August 19. Dix
journeys to Canada to explore Acadian country.*
1934, November 1.
Dix talks to the Bluebird Society on “Charms of Mexico.”*
February 21. Dix honored by the Georgia Newspaper Group.
Dix and her secretary Ella Bentley Arthur act as themselves in the
documentary March of Time, Post-War Problems and Solutions part 1 “Is
Everybody Happy?” This is the 6th part of the documentary that addresses
“America’s new way of dealing with stress, everything from palmists to
personal problem counselors. A very funny look at man’s desertion of his
traditional advisors.” Winner of a special Academy Award. Time Inc.1936.
1936. Time Magazine tells about the 40th anniversary of the Dix
writings. “There were three big parties held for Dix by the
Times-Picayune, the Tulane University School of Journalism and her
1936, February 14. Dix addresses L.S.U. students.*
1936, February 14. “Woman Reporter Advised Not to use Man’s Style,”
by Margaret Dixon. Matrix table talk by Dix.*
1936, April 5. Dix
celebrates 40 years in newspaper work. Described on its anniversary
(feature by Frost).*
1936, April 6. Dix featured on her 40th year
in the newspaper work, by Margaret Dixon.*
1936, April. “Decades
of Dix.” Time 27: 67-8 April 20, 1936.
1936, July 27. Dix
lectures in garden of “The Shadows,” per invitation from her good friend
Pattie (Harriet) Weeks (Harriett Weeks, born January 24, 1864, daughter
of William F. and Mary Weeks of The Shadows Plantation - Weeks Sugar
Plantation in New Iberia, Louisiana).*
1936, October 6. Dix is
portrayed in a new book about women of the press.*
1937, May 30.
Mr. Earl Culon receives the Dix journalism award at Tulane School of
1937, July 10. Dix’s life is topic of article titled
“Dorothy Dix Talks,” by New Orleans writer Herman Bacher Deutsch.
Saturday Evening Post 210: 16-17+ July 10, 1937.
2. “Dorothy Dix,” Woman’s Day.
1938. Editor and Publisher made an
authoritative survey showing that Dorothy’s column not only took first
place as the oldest feature in the newspaper field, but also as the
longest continuing feature. Its creator is still in service (Kane p.
1939. It is estimated that Dix received about 100,000
letters per year.
1939. Dix’s book How to Win and Hold a Husband
is a collection of essays advising the lovelorn, published by Doubleday.
1939. Time Magazine reviewed her book How to Win and Hold a Husband.
1939, June 7. Dix thanks mayor for alley paving.*
September 20. Dix’s editorial in the Times-Picayune on “woman’s place in
1940. Dix’s writings were printed in 273 newspapers and
read by approximately 60 million people in the United States, England,
Australia, New Zealand, South America, China, Mexico, Hawaii, the
Philippine Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada.
1940, April. “Lovelorns’
no. 1 Advisor Lives in New Orleans.” Life 8: 104-7, April 22, 1940.
1940, May 19. Miss Aedath Markel is awarded the Dorothy Dix
journalism award for the best human interest story of the year, from the
Tulane School of Journalism.
1941, May 18. Another Dorothy Dix
journalism prize was awarded.
1941, October 26. Picture spread:
“First Lady of the South.”*
1941, December 24. “Meet the
Confidante,” by Albert H. Morehead. Bell Syndicate, Red Book Magazine.*
1942. Biography of Famous Journalists , John E. Dreivery, ed. Random
House, New York, 1942.
1942, March. “Dear Dorothy Dix.” Newsweek
19:61 March 23, 1942.
1942, May 17. Dorothy Dix Journalism prize
1943, January 10. Dix talks on patriotism and nurses,
1943, January 24. Dix recalls builder of paper (The
Times Picayune) to grand daughter, New Orleans.*
4. Dix sponsored launching of SS Opie Read, 89th ship built by Delta
Shipbuilding Co. Inc.
1944. Dix’s sister Mary and Mary’s husband,
George Patch, died within a short period of time of each other (Kane p.
303). They are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Clarksville, TN.
1944. Dix was hit by a bus while crossing a street in Asheville, NC
(Kane p. 303).
1946. Time Magazine calls Dix’s advice
“sympathetic,” but not “syrupy.”
1946, May 5. Times-Picayune
celebrates the golden anniversary of Dix’s column.*
15. Associated Press creates a biographical services sketch of Dix.*
1946, May 19. Quentin L. Ault, army veteran wins the Dorothy Dix
journalism award for his story of an A-bomb flight.*
30. Dix honored by members of the Le Petit Salon and receives gift.*
1946, June 26. Dix to be honored at dinner meeting of the QUOTA
1947, April 20. Dix is one of six women honored by the
Federation of Women’s Clubs, New Orleans.*
1948. Dix’s longtime
friend Helen Pitkin Schertz died and Dix expressed that the same thing
might happen to her before long (Kane p. 304).
1948, May 30. Mrs.
Elizabeth Gilmer elected as an honorary member of the Newcomb Alumnae
1948, November. “Heart Specialist,” Coronet 25: 28
1949, April. Dix no longer answers her readers’
letters according to her secretary Ella Bentley Arthur.*
May 14. Mrs. Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer is reelected president of Le
1949. Dix made her 21st and final trip to Ashville,
1950. Dix suffers a stroke.*
1951, December 16.
Dorothy Dix died at Turo Infirmary in New Orleans.*
December 17. Obituary: “Dorothy Dix Dies; Wrote Advice to Lovelorn Over
Half-Century,” New York Herald Tribune.
1951, December 18.
Editorial: “Dorothy Dix,” New York Herald Tribune.
17. Times-Picayune editorial about Dix.*
1951, December 17.
“Dorothy Dix Dies; Advice to Troubled.” Knoxville [Tennessee} Journal.
1951, December 17. “Dorothy Dix Dies at 90; Sob Sister of Lovelorn.”
New York World-Telegram and Sun.
1951, December 17. “Dorothy Did
Dead: Counselor on Love.” New York Times.
1951, December 17.
“Columnist Dorothy Dix Dies; Millions Sought Her Advice.” Memphis
1951, December 17. “Dorothy Dix Expires at 90;
Rites Tuesday.” New Orleans Times-Picayune.
1951, December 17.
Obituary: “Dorothy Dix, Columnist, Dies in New Orleans.” Clarksville
1951, December 17. “Dorothy Dix’s Burial in New
Orleans Tuesday;” “2 Generations Mourn Dorothy Dix.” Atlanta Journal.
1951, December 19. “Dorothy Dix Buried After Private Rites.”
1951, December 24. Obituary notice Time
1951, December. Obituary notice. Newsweek Magazine.
1951, December. “Dorothy Dix Dies, Leaving Memory of Her Own Tragedy
in Real Life.” Greenville [South Carolina] Piedmont.
was buried in the Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans.
28. Dix memorial rites held at Le Petit Salon with George Healy as
1952. Muriel Nissen, Dix’s advisor and assistant
answered Dix’s final mail.
1952, January 4. Dix will probate.*
1952, February 5. Dix estate valued at $2,316,398.*
February. Obituary. Wilson Library Bulletin 26:428 February,
1955. Dix’s home in Pass Christian burned.
September 27. Dorothy Dix Symposium held at Woodstock Manor, Trenton
Kentucky in memory of Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. The Symposium was
supported by the Austin Peat State University and the Felix G. Woodward
Library. Ms. Elnor McMahan and children, owner of Woodstock, hosted the
*denotes article available in the Times-Picayune
MAJOR POSITIONS HELD
Reporter and columnist, New Orleans Picayune (1894-1901)
New York Journal (1901-1916)
Wheeler Syndicate (1916-1923)
Ledger Syndicate (1923-1942)
Bell Syndicate (1942-1949).
Fables of the Elite, Dorothy Dix (New
York: Fenno, 1902)
Dix (New York: Hearst’s International Library, 1914; London: Low, 1914)
Hearts a La Mode, Dorothy Dix (New
York: Hearst’s International Library, 1915)
My Joy-Ride Round the World, Dorothy
Dix (London: Mills & Boon, 1922); republished as
My Trip Round the World (Philadelphia:
Mirandy Exhorts, Dorothy Dix (Philadelphia: Penn, 1925)
Dorothy Dix-Her Book: Every-Day Help for
Every-Day People, Dorothy Dix (New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls,
Mexico, Dorothy Dix (Gulfport,
Miss: C. Rand, 1934)
How to Win and Hold a
Husband, Dorothy Dix (New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1939)
“Mother Confessor to Millions,” Dorothy Dix. Times-Picayune New
Orleans States Magazine, 5 May 1946, pp. 6-7
Recipients of the Annual Dorothy Dix
1927, July 17. Dix awards
the first annual Dorothy Dix scholarship prize of $100 for an
outstanding student (name unknown) pursuing a degree in the Tulane
University School of Journalism; best human interest story.*
1928, January 11. Samuel Long.*
1929, June 9. Harnett T. Kane
(later wrote a biography of Dix, the only one written).*
June 8. Mrs. Helen Hill.*
1931, May 24. William A. Bell, Jr.*
1932, May 22. John W. Burke.
1933, May 21. Edmond Lebreton.
1937, May 30. Earl Culon.
1938-39, no records.
May 19. Aedath Markel.
1941, May 18. Luba Bersadsky (an interview
with a blind broom peddler earned the Newcomb student the award).*
1942, May 17. Name unknown, but prize was awarded.
19. Quentin L. Ault (army veteran earned the award for his story of an
William Douglas Meriwether
William Douglas Meriwether organized Turnley, Ely, & Co. Tobacco, and
General Commission Merchants Tobacco and Plows, Clarksville, Tennessee.
1873, William Douglas Meriwether bought a house for $6,000 for the
family on 400 block of Commerce Street, Clarksville, Tennessee.
???1874, William Douglas Meriwether built a large brick home on Madison
Street on a lot adjoining the currently located Baptist Church,
1923, American Tobacco Company bought the
Meriwether Tobacco Company for $3,000,000, Clarksville, Tennessee.
Dix’s “Finer Points”
“Love means caring for somebody more
than yourself. It is putting somebody else’s pleasure and happiness and
well-being above your own. It is sacrificing yourself for another and
enjoying doing it. It is the world being all right when someone is with
you and all wrong when he or she is absent. It is knowing someone’s
every fault and blemish and not caring. No one can define it; it just
is,” Dorothy Dix.
In her columns Dix provided solutions
that were satisfactory to her readers.
“Dorothy Dix Talks columns
were my first writings for the gender about the relationships of men and
women,” Dix says in her “My Autobiography,”
written for the Ledger Syndicate.
Due to Dix’s investigation in
the Ruth Wheeler murder incident Albert Walter was tried, convicted and
executed for the murder (not Ruth).
“Holy Thursday(s) were club
meeting days at the Le Petit Salon,” Dorothy Dix.
Dix wrote a
group of columns entitled “Jollies That We Know.” They dealt with the
power of flattery.
New Orleans Item was the name of the
Picayune rival paper. While writing for the paper, Dix
developed a friendship with journalist Stanley Clisby Arthur whose wife
Ella became Dix’s chief secretary upon Dix’s return to New Orleans from
New York, ca. 1917.
Irvin S. Cobb, journalist for the World
newspaper, and Dix became close friends over the years while covering
many of the same trials. According to Harnett T. Kane, Cobb said “I’d
hate to have that little demon of a reporter poking her eyes over me.”
Nell Brinkley, the famous creator of the “Fluffy-Ruffles Girls,”
was introduced to the press sections of courts by Dix. Nell’s first
visit was at the Thaw trial which Dix covered. The artist’s floating
sketches of the defender Evelyn Nesbit depicted her more beautiful than
the one in real life. The “feathery and demure type, with long lashes,
rosebud mouths, silken hair, and with dimpled cupids floating in the sky
above them.” Arthur Brisbane, the Journal editor, assigned Brinkley only
to cases involving women of such looks (Harnett T. Kane).
Coates was Dix’s city editor when she worked for the New York Evening
“But we all have to go where our fortune calls us, and
make the best of it” (Dix letter to Mamie, November 23, 1914).
“It is the women who have been married to rotters, and who have not one
kindly memory of their whole wifehood that loses their husbands even
while they are still alive,” (Dix letter to Mamie, July 7, 1923).
“George wouldn’t have wrapped a bundle or put up a piece of
mistletoe to have saved my life, and Pa wouldn’t have known how.” In a
letter to her sister Mary she writes about her brother Ed and his
changing his baby and putting up the Christmas tree (letter to her
sister Mary, December, 27, 1933).
Relations, Friends and Staff
“Morality is an affair of
geography and of point of view,” Dorothy Dix.
Meriwether was born at Woodstock plantation located on the state line
between Tennessee and Kentucky. She also lived in Olmstead, Kentucky,
where the family had property, before her father built a house in
Clarksville where Elizabeth spent her later adolescent years before
moving to the Gulf Coast.
The Meriwether family was kin to
Meriwether Lewis, the famous American explorer, with roots in England,
Scotland and Wales. In 1680 three Meriwether sons moved from Wales to
the “freer air of the Old Dominion across the sea. Their father had an
extensive land-grant in Albemarle and New Kent counties in Virginia.”
Some of the family members continued farther out west (Kane, p. 17).
George Oglethorpe Gilmer, Dix’s husband, was Dix’s stepmother’s
brother and her father’s cousin. The Gilmer family lived in Quincy,
George Oglethorpe Gilmer set up a small plant at 820
Perdido Street in the industrial district of New Orleans for his
distillation of turpentine products (Kane p. 75).
Dix and her
husband were married for 47 years until his death in 1929.
living in New York City the Gilmers (Dix and her husband George) had
contact with Warren Gilmer, George’s nephew, who remembers Dix taking
him to “memorable Broadway first nights,” of which Dix wrote critical
reviews for the Journal (Dear Dorothy Dix: The
Story of a Compassionate Woman by Harnett T. Kane with Ella
Bentley Arthur. Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City, New York).
New York City address for Mr. and Mrs. George Gilmer was: 440
Riverside Drive, New York City, New York.
Meriwether left Woodstock, due to financial problems, and moved his
family to Olmstead, Kentucky where he had relatives. He later moved to
Clarksville, Tennessee. While in Clarksville Elizabeth (Dorothy Dix)
attended and graduated from the Female Academy of Clarksville.
William Douglas Meriwether owned a plow manufacturing business, among
other businesses, while in Clarksville, Tennessee
William Douglas Meriwether, lived at 1225 General Pershing Street, New
Orleans, Louisiana after he left Clarksville, Tennessee.
Douglas Meriwether, Dix’s father, spent the months of June, July and
August of his later years at the Diamond Springs resort in the cool
hills of Kentucky. Here his daughters Elizabeth (Dorothy) and Mary and
many of his relatives joined him regularly (Kane p.228).
Douglas Meriwether, Dix’s father, also entertained family and friends at
the Clarksville, Tennessee, Dunbar Cave resort during his later years.
This was the Meriwether-Barker-Ferguson Family Reunion which he
diligently worked on for months with his son Ed. Several thousand
invitations were sent to clan members and friends including pipe smoking
black Mammies of Civil War days (Kane p.229).
Dix’s sister Mary
was married to George Patch. His brother’s grandchildren are Elwyn Patch
and Margaret Patch Kimbrough of Clarksville, TN.
J. Nicholson (Pearl Rivers) was the owner and publisher of the New
Orleans Picayune. She was the first woman publisher of a major American
newspaper. She bought the Picayune after the death of her
Pearl Rivers; see above statement.
Dix’s first official secretary was Beulah Gold, a cousin of Dix’s
sister-in-law, Daisy Meriwether, who married Dix’s brother Edward.
Edward and his family lived on the first level of the two- story house
Dix built on 6334 Prytania Street. By 1928 Miss Gold married and moved
Clare, who became Mrs. Cyril Ryan, served as Dix’s
“other” secretary. She was Beulah Gold’s sister.
Arthur (Ella), a close friend of Dix, served as Dix’s secretary from
January 1927 until Dix died in 1951.
Mr. Stanley Clisby Arthur,
Ella’s husband, was one of Dix’s friends while a reporter on the New
Orleans Item. He later landed a job on the New York Evening Journal due
to Dix’s influence. Dix and the Arthur family, which included their two
children, became very good friends. Stanley later wrote a weekly feature
named “Young-Man-Afraid-of-His-Wife” which dealt with domestic
difficulties of newly married couples. Dix wrote a few articles about
how to bring up baby boys based on her interaction with the Arthur
babies who accompanied their parents to many of Dix’s parties where they
slept on her bed.
Sonny Boy’s Day at
the Zoo, by Ella Bentley and Stanley Clisby Arthur. The Century
Co., 1913. Preface by Dorothy Dix. A book of verse tells the story about
a young boy’s visit to the zoo and how he learns about the animals
there. The book is illustrated with Arthur’s black and white photographs
taken at the Theological Park (64 pages, 8”x10”; copy in the APSU Dix
Dix’s secretary Muriel Nissen continued to answer
letters for a year or two after Dix passed away.
unknown) was the name of the cook who Dix brought with her to New York
in 1901. Milly’s son became a well known physician in New York (Kane p.
Nellie, was Mrs. Arthur Nolte. She was a very dear friend
to Dix. Nellie was often invited to travel with Dix on her exotic trips
to far away places.
George Gilmer’s (Dix’s husband) turpentine
distillation company was located on Perdido Street, New Orleans.
Daisy Meriwether VanDenburgh’s and Bill Meriwether Jr.’s grandfather,
Charles Edward Meriwether, was Dix’s brother.
Ms. Johnny Givens,
Head Librarian of the Austin Peay State College Library, initiated a
search for literary materials unique to the area in the early 1960s. Via
this search the Dorothy Dix papers landed at the college library and
later became the Dorothy Dix Collection.
Mrs. P. (Paul) A.
Meriwether of Clarksville suggested to Dean Felix G. Woodward and Head
Librarian Ms. Johnny Givens, Austin Peay State University, that A.
Huntington Patch, nephew of Dorothy Dix, Ashville, North Carolina, may
have Dix material for the creation of a special Dorothy Dix Collection
for the University Library (1969).
A. Huntington Patch’s wife’s
name was Mary Ruth, referred to as Bee.
Mrs. Joanne Waggoner,
niece of A. Huntington Patch.
Warren Gilmer lived in New Orleans
and was a nephew of George Gilmer, Dix’s husband (Kane, p. 157).
The Gilmer family came from Quincy, Illinois. Dix’s stepmother was
Martha Gilmer Chase Meriwether (widowed). She was a cousin to Dix’s
father (who married her).
Meriwether family history papers.
*denotes article available in Times-Picayune
Dorothy Dix home page