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Timeline of Dorothy Dix: 1766-1951 and selected bibliography of her writings

by Inga A. Filippo, MLS. Professor of Library Administration, Austin Peay State University

Dorothy Dix (Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer)
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.

1800. Charles 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.

1801-1877. 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, 1878.

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.ar later they build a commodious brick house on the farm and named it Meriville.

1821. 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 father.

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 stepmother).

1853, April 2-1929, January. George Oglethorpe Gilmer. Quincy, Adams County, Illinois (Dix’s husband).

1861, 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.
Dix’s 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 (Dix’s father).

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 George.

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.

1882, November 21. Elizabeth marries George Oglethorpe Gilmer (her stepmother’s brother).

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.

1888. 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.”

1893. 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 Picayune.

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.

1894. Elizabeth 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 talks.

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 Picayune.*

1897, June 8. Dix writes from Ayr, Scotland. “On Scotland’s Fair Strand,” New Orleans Times Picayune.*

1897, 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 Picayune.*

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.*

1899-early 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 life.

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.

1901. 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.

1901. Dix 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 twenties.

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 published.

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. 185).

1910-1920. Good Housekeeping magazine printed Dix’s “Mirandy” series.

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 theMirandy 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.

1915. 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 Talks” columns.

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.

1920. 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 family.

1920, April 22. Dix Among Honored Women Writers.*

1922. The book of Mirandy Exhorts was published.

1922. Holland’s Magazine, October issue, printed an article about Dix titled “The Beloved Woman,” by Wynonah Breazeale Johnson.

1922, December. The Times-Picayune selected Dix as a member of their Board of Directors. She was their first female board member.*

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 77:23, 1923.

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 bookMy Trip Around the World.

1924, 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 Mirandy Exhorts.

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 Syndicate.

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.*

1926, July 30. John Cook of Baltimore names new crimson rose after Dorothy Dix.*

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.*

1926. Dix 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 Cemetery.

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 have Known.”*

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.*

1927, 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.*

1928, 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 pass-port visa.*

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.

1928, 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.

1929. Dix writes about her Old World travels in a series titledIn 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 Orleans.

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 Times Picayune.*

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 Times Picayune.*

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 Times Picayune.*

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 Times Picayune.*

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.*

1929, 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.*

1929, May 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.*

1929, October 20. Dix pleads to the people of New Orleans to support their Le Petit Theatre.*

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, Mississippi.*

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.

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 Orleans.

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.

1930, 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.*

1931. 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 Gotham writers.*

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.”*

1931, May 21. Dix is made honorary member of Theta Nu, Tulane Journalism fraternity.*

1931, May 24. William A. Bell, Jr., is awarded the Dorothy Dix award at the Tulane school of journalism.*

1931, May 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.*

1931, October 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 idea.*

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 King.*

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 today.*

1932, May 13. Dix addresses the members of the Le Petit Salon mourning the death of the late Miss Grace King.*

1932, May 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 Syndicate.

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 banking crises.*

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 Cave.

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.”*

1935, February 21. Dix honored by the Georgia Newspaper Group.

1936. 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 friends.”*

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 Journalism.

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.

1937, December 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. 264, 1952).

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.*

1939, September 20. Dix’s editorial in the Times-Picayune on “woman’s place in war.”

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 awarded.

1943, January 10. Dix talks on patriotism and nurses, New Orleans.*

1943, January 24. Dix recalls builder of paper (The Times Picayune) to grand daughter, New Orleans.*

1943, December 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.*

1946, May 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.*

1946, May 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 Club.*

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 Association.*

1948, November. “Heart Specialist,” Coronet 25: 28 November, 1948.

1949, April. Dix no longer answers her readers’ letters according to her secretary Ella Bentley Arthur.*

1949, May 14. Mrs. Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer is reelected president of Le Petit Salon.*

1949. Dix made her 21st and final trip to Ashville, N.C.

1950. Dix suffers a stroke.*

1951, December 16. Dorothy Dix died at Turo Infirmary in New Orleans.*

1951, 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.

1951, December 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 Commercial Appeal.

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 Leaf-Chronicle.

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.” Ashville Citizen.

1951, December 24. Obituary notice Time Magazine.

1951, December. Obituary notice. Newsweek Magazine.

1951, December. “Dorothy Dix Dies, Leaving Memory of Her Own Tragedy in Real Life.” Greenville [South Carolina] Piedmont.

1951. Dix was buried in the Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans.

1951, December 28. Dix memorial rites held at Le Petit Salon with George Healy as speaker.*

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.*

1952, February. Obituary. Wilson Library Bulletin 26:428 February, 1952.

1955. Dix’s home in Pass Christian burned.

1991, 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 symposium.

*denotes article available in the Times-Picayune


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)
Mirandy, Dorothy 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 asMy Trip Round the World (Philadelphia: Penn, 1924)
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, 1926)
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 Journalism Scholarships

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).*

1930, 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.

1940, 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.

1946, May 19. Quentin L. Ault (army veteran earned the award for his story of an A-bomb flight).*


William Douglas Meriwether
Business Chronology

1860-1870s, 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, Clarksville, Tennessee.

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 thePicayune 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).

Foster Coates was Dix’s city editor when she worked for the New York Evening Journal.

“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).

Family Relations, Friends and Staff

Morality is an affair of geography and of point of view,” Dorothy Dix.

Elizabeth 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, Illinois.
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.

While 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.

William Douglas 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

Dix’s father, William Douglas Meriwether, lived at 1225 General Pershing Street, New Orleans, Louisiana after he left Clarksville, Tennessee.

William 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).

William 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.

Mrs. Elizabeth 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 husband-publisher.

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 to California.

Clare, who became Mrs. Cyril Ryan, served as Dix’s “other” secretary. She was Beulah Gold’s sister.

Mrs. Stanley 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 Collection).

Dix’s secretary Muriel Nissen continued to answer letters for a year or two after Dix passed away.

Milly (surname 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. 183).

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