Frances Crosby was editor of the Toledo News in the early 1900s. She was the first woman editor of a city newspaper in Toledo, and it is possible that she was the first woman editor for a daily newspaper in the United States. Frances, the second of four daughters, was descended from a well-known Toledo family. Her father was Alonzo Noteman, the respected inventor and pioneer druggist of early Toledo. Talent and interest in the newspaper business was a common vein that ran through the Crosby family. Her sister, Maud Gurney, was society and club editor of a Toledo newspaper, while nephew Edward Moore became the associate editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Frances had a long and distinguished career in the Toledo newspaper business. Before her position with the Toledo News, she had written society news and features for the Commercial, her first Toledo newspaper. She also reported news assignments as well as features. This was especially noteworthy because at the beginning of the 20th century hard news stories were not normally assigned to women reporters. Women who were included on newspaper staff at that time were designated as feature story writers or as society and domestic-related columnists. Frances also worked at the Sunday Courier Journal. Early 20th century journalists who went on location to cover stories usually had to travel on horse-drawn buggies and wrote the report in long hand.
Toledo, in the early 1900s, could have been considered a liberal city in relation to gender issues. The number of women in editorial positions on newspapers was proportionately high for the size of Toledo at the turn of the century. Frances was also associated with Florence Ingales, the society editor of the (Toledo Times, and Kate Murphy, club editor of the Commercial and editor of the Sunday Courier Journal.)
Frances moved to Indianapolis
, Indiana, after the death of her husband, Charles Crosby. She resided with her brother-in-law, Percy Oblinger, until her death on January 10, 1931.(Toledo Biography Scrapbook, Local History Collection, Toledo/Lucas County Public Library.)
(Photography of Woodlawn Cemetery by Josef Schneider.)