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Virginia Marmaduke Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical Materials


Writings by Marmaduke

Writings about Marmaduke, 1995-2001

Virginia Marmaduke Papers, 1937-1957 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

By Aaron M. Lisec and David Bond

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Collection Overview

Title: Virginia Marmaduke Papers, 1937-1957Add to your cart.

ID: 1/6/MSS 324

Primary Creator: Marmaduke, Virginia L. (Virginia Lee) (1908-2001)

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Arranged in 4 series: Biographical Materials, Correspondence, Writings by Marmaduke (sub-series "Articles" and "Radio Scripts," and Writings about Marmaduke.

Date Acquired: 01/17/2013. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Marmaduke, Virginia L. (Virginia Lee), 1908-2001, Women and journalism, Women in the broadcasting industry

Forms of Material: Chicago (Ill.) - Newspapers

Languages: English


Biographical materials, photographs, correspondence, newspaper articles both by and about Virginia Marmaduke, radio scripts and other items related to her long career as a writer/columnist in Herrin, Illinois, and Chicago, as well as radio broadcaster during the 1940s and 1950s.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of the papers of Virgina L. Marmaduke. It  includes varied biographical materials from her wedding announcement and yearbook pages to a guide to Marmaduke's "Brag Wall." There are a good number of photographs depicting her career in Chicago broadcasting as well as publicity shots.

The Papers include some general correspondence plus 40 typed broadcast scripts for Virginia Marmaduke's advice show, circa 1957, with summaries of questions received and Marmaduke's on-air answers, as well as brief correspondence between Marmaduke and her assistant, NBC staffer Valetta Press.

The bulk of this collection is of course Marmaduke's own articles from the Herrin Daily Journal and the Chicago Sun/Sun-Times, from 1937-1968. Included is an inventory of all headlines for articles in the Chicago papers. Another large series holds writings about Marmaduke, from 1995-2001. Of additional interest is a script from a Marmaduke documentary, "A Date with the Duchess," WSIU-TV, March 2 and 6, 1996.

Collection Historical Note

Virginia L. Marmaduke spent more than three decades in journalism, much of it in Chicago.  Marmaduke made a name for herself as a newspaper reporter in the 1940s, assigned to murders and other crimes when few women covered such stories. The collection contains the articles that brought her to prominence in Chicago journalism, particularly her coverage of the sensational Suzanne Degnan murder case.

In the 1950s Marmaduke worked in Chicago radio and television.  This collection includes forty broadcast scripts for an advice show in which she answered viewers' personal questions on air.  The scripts, prepared by her assistant Valetta Press, offer a snapshot view of family dynamics, gender roles, and generational transition in postwar mid-America.  Photographs depict Marmaduke during this period, interviewing subjects and posing for publicity shots in the role of celebrity broadcaster.

Biographical Note

Virginia Marmaduke was a longtime Illinois journalist, first in downstate Herrin in the 1930s, and beginning in 1943 in Chicago, where she broke gender barriers to cover serious news stories and won the nickname "The Duchess."  Local fame led to a 1953 appearance on "This Is Your Life," which in turn meant a promotion from print to radio and tv journalism in Chicago.  In 1965 she retired to Pinckneyville, Illinois, where she helped promote Southern Illinois University and retained a keen interest in journalism and politics.

Subject/Index Terms

Marmaduke, Virginia L. (Virginia Lee), 1908-2001
Women and journalism
Women in the broadcasting industry

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center


Accession Nos. 2313, 2325

Addition of 1991 postcard and 2001 obituary donated by Special Collections, St. Louis Public Library, November 2013.

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted except for :  Folder 13 containing nine letters to Marmaduke (circa 1957) seeking personal advice is restricted until 2032.

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright.  Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection.  Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Acquisition Source: Cary O'Dell

Acquisition Method: Donation.

Preferred Citation: [Item], Virginia Marmaduke papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Materials],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Writings by Marmaduke],
[Series 4: Writings about Marmaduke, 1995-2001],

Series 2: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Froney, KaceyAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Press, Valetta (includes her obituary)Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Schalm, Mary SandmeyerAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Schalm, Edward (Eddie) and JudyAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Materials],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Writings by Marmaduke],
[Series 4: Writings about Marmaduke, 1995-2001],

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