Mary Elizabeth Bostwick · 1993

This obituary was run at the time of her death in 1959. She was 73 years old.

Mary E. Bostwick, one of the country’s most widely known women reporters and a member of The Indianapolis Star’s editorial staff 39 years, died yesterday in St. Vincent’s Hospital.

Miss Bostwick had been in ill health since January, 1950, when a fall on the ice dislocated some vertebrae. She spent several months in a cast at her home at 1616 North Pennsylvania Street. Although she never fully recovered from the fall, she was at her desk in The Star’s City Room most of last year.
Her health brought a quiet end for a tempestuous career that had made Miss Bostwick a tradition in Indiana newspaper circles.

In her earlier years in Indianapolis, she earned fame as a stunt reporter and an omni-present figure at almost every important event of the era. Later her “Last Page Lyric,” a sometimes whimsical, sarcastic review of a news event in rhyme, was read daily without fail by thousands of Hoosiers.

Until the last five years, the sprightly woman reporter was a familiar figure at most of the state’s outstanding murder trials. Her writing style, particularly of feature stories, was considered one to emulate.

In recent years she was the author of many of the “As the Day Begins” columns on the Star’s editorial page.

In the lusty days of newspaperdom just after the turn of the century, Miss Bostwick found her first newspaper job on the Denver Post, noted then as a crusading, fiery voice of the West. It was about 1903, a time when newspapers frowned on feminine reporters. But young Mary Bostwick, as harum-scarum and fiery as the Post itself, went right to work as a police reporter.

Only exceptional women could make the grade in reportorial circles of that day, and Mary Bostwick made it by riding patrol wagons and following police down dark alleys in pursuit of fugitives.

Some time later she moved to Kansas City and the Post there. But in 1913, she came “East” to work for the old Indianapolis Sun.

Miss Bostwick arrived here in the midst of the big 1913 flood. It was indicative of her life. She always arrived with big events.

Later, in 1914, she joined The Star and remained a member of The Star’s staff continuously with the exception of two years in World War I when she went to Europe with Base Hospital 32.

On The Star, Miss Bostwick made several reputations, any one of which would have been enough for the average reporter. Not content with making history as one of the first and youngest woman police reporters, she also won widespread recognition as a feature writer, a poet, a trial reporter, a stunt reporter and a colorful writer of any variety of spot news that might happen.

Anything that came along could be handled fast and accurately by Mary Bostwick, her newspaper associates recall.

As a stunt reporter, Miss Bostwick made balloon ascensions, rode an elephant in a circus parade, made a solo glider flight and swung across Kentucky Avenue on a rope from an eight floor Hotel Lincoln room in a lifesaving demonstration with a fireman.

She was the first woman to ride around the Speedway track at racing speed with a professional driver at the wheel – the late Howdy Wilcox.

She volunteered for anything that offered the chance for a new experience and a news story.
Her glider flight ended painfully for her and disastrously for the glider. She broke a couple of ribs. The glider broke everything.

Yet the incident failed to dim her passion for flying. She barnstormed Indiana with the reckless young pilots of World War I and flew the mail with more modern pilots and better equipment when letters were first given wings.


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