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Mamie Boyd

Journalist. Born: December 13, 1876, Allen County, Kansas. Died: October 15, 1973, Kansas.

Mamie Alexander Boyd was born on December 13, 1876, near Humbolt, Allen County, to parents Joseph McDill and Hester Ann (Scott) Alexander. Boyd worked her way through college at Kansas State Agricultural College (now Kansas State University), selling her two-year old heifer calf for $18 and working other jobs. She worked at the college printing press where she met Frank Boyd. They became engaged before graduation in 1902. After Boyd contracted tuberculosis, doctors recommended a climate change and she moved to Colorado. Her fiancé visited on weekends. Her condition did not improve there and she eventually moved back to Kansas. She and Frank married on August 1, 1905.

The Boyds published the Phillips County Post in Phillipsburg and added several weekly newspapers from neighboring towns. Mamie became involved in many local, state, and national organizations. She was president of the Kansas Press Women, chairman of American Women’s Voluntary Services, Inc., charter member of the National Federation of Press Women, a delegate to General Federations of Women’s Clubs, and was the first women to lead the Kansas State Alumni Association. She was a featured speaker at the National Editorial Association and served as state president of the Woman’s Kansas Day Club and Native Daughters of Kansas. She is an honorary life president for both the Kansas Press Women and the Kansas Press Association. 

Five Kansas governors appointed her to positions. Governor Alfred Landon appointed her to the Kansas State Park Board, Governor Payne Ratner to the State Textbook Commission, Governors Frank Carlson and Edward Arn to the State Advisory Commission on Institutional Management, and Governor William Avery to serve on the Committee on Status of Women.

She received many awards such as the Newspaper Woman of the Year in 1954, Distinguished Service Award from Kansas State University in 1957, Kansan of the Year from Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas in 1958, Kansas Mother of the Year in 1965, the gold medallion for 50 years in the journalism industry by Theta Sigma Phi, the McKinney Award from the National Newspaper Association in 1966, and she was the first woman to receive the William Allen White Award for Journalistic Merit.

Three annual scholarships are presented in her memory to women in journalism at Kansas State University, University of Kansas, or Wichita State University. A residence hall is named in her honor at her alma mater, Kansas State University. The Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas present an annual student essay award in her honor, “Kansas! Say It Above a Whisper.”

Her autobiography, A Heifer Calf through College, was published in 1972.

She loved knitting and was often spotted with yarn and needle in hand even at K-State basketball games.

She died on October 15, 1973.

Entry: Boyd, Mamie

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2016

Date Modified: July 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.