Sep 10



Mary Shaw Leader (1835-1938) was a 28 year old newspaperwoman when she walked from Hanover, Pennsylvania to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to be present at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. She called President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, “a remarkable speech.” This view was taken from the southeast facing northwest at approximately 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.

Mary Shaw Leader (1835-1938) was a female newspaper reporter whom, legend says, walked from Hanover to Gettysburg to record President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. In the November 27, 1863 edition of the Hanover Spectator, she called the address, “A remarkable speech.” The Spectator was a pro-Republican newspaper. The legend states that Mary Shaw Leader was one of the few reporters to write down Lincoln’s entire speech, and the only one present to state that the speech was good. We know other Republican newspapers thought the speech was good, but we cannot say if they had reporters present during the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Of course we think she deserves credit for living to the age of 103. All that walking must have helped.



She is buried in “Old Section F” of Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hanover, Pennsylvania. This marker was erected in 1941. This view was taken from the southeast facing northwest at approximately 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.



A closeup of the front of the marker. The Hanover Spectator was a Republican newspaper. Other Republican newspapers also liked Lincoln’s speech. The legend about Leader being the only newspaperman to give President Lincoln’s speech positive notice is greatly exaggerated. We admit that we don’t know, off hand, how many of those positive comments about Lincoln’s speech came from newspapermen or newspaperwomen who were actually present to hear it. This view was taken from the southeast facing northwest at approximately 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.



Leader’s family owned the Republican Hanover Spectator, and at the time of the June 30, 1863 Battle of Hanover and the July, 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the newspaper was owned by her mother, Maria. This view was taken from the southwest facing northeast at approximately 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.



The markers in the front right of this photograph honor Mary Shaw Leaders parents. The marker on the front right is to her father, Senary Leader, who founded the Hanover Spectator in 1844, and operated it until his death in 1858. His wife, Maria Leader, whose marker is to the left of Senary Leader, owned the newspaper from 1858 until her death in 1875. The marker to Mary Shaw Leader is shown in the background between the markers of her parents. This view was taken from the southeast facing northwest at approximately 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.



So the Republican leaning Hanover Spectator was owned by a woman, and its chief reporter was a woman during the Civil War.  This view was taken from the southeast facing northwest at approximately 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.


About Us  •  Support  •  Archives  •  Subscribe  •  Creative Commons License