Hester Alverson Moffett · 1989
Hester Alverson Moffett, who is being inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame posthumously, was publisher along with her husband, the late Alonzo Dale Moffett, of the former Elwood, Indiana, Daily Record.
Joan S. Bey, Woman’s Press Club of Indiana historian, sets the stage nicely for this induction by providing the following information — a little historical perspective — on what occurred in Indiana during the week of February 17, 1913:
A Muncie druggist was arrested for selling cocaine.
State legislatures were preoccupied with utility bills, and the governor was complaining about the amount of time that the formation of a Public Service Commission was taking from his already busy schedule.
Child labor laws were under discussion with a proposal before legislature that would prohibit children under 14 from being hired.
Local suffragettes were planning their march to Washington while the Women’s Conference Temperance Union members were conducting spirited (not spirituous) local meetings.
The Indianapolis Press Club, all men, of course, met for a Monday dinner meeting in the Claypool hotel.
And on page three of The Indianapolis Star of February 19, 1913, next to an expose about a landowner who was indicted for renting his property for what the reporter called “immoral purposes,” was this headline: Women Organize Press Club.
One of the organizers was Hester Alverson Moffett. She was its first president. She also was a suffragette, serving as chairman of the Women’s Franchise League for Madison County.
Mrs. Moffett has been given credit for founding of the Elwood Public Library through her editorials in the Daily Record. During her years in Elwood she also lobbied for bills to assist those who lived in slums and tenements and for a state library. The legislature eventually adopted the bills.
In the Women’s Press Club Yearbook of 1915-16, Mrs. Moffett wrote: “In the Women’s Press Club we have a group of women who have an opportunity to voice the new demands and purposes of women in a far reaching and effective way. There are new methods and new traditions to be established in society and politics, and women are to have a great part in this work.
“What body of women has a better opportunity to lead in those things than the Press Club? What body of women is more in the public eye or has the public ear more than the Press Club?”
She left Elwood in 1919 but continued to work with libraries in San Diego and later Los Angeles.
Little is known of her from that period until her death at Laguna Beach, California, on August 27, 1935.
Mrs. Moffett is indeed a worthy addition to the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.