Susan W. Ball Collection
Dates: 1904-1918
Accession Number: 20000413
Description: Three large flat storage boxes


A pioneer woman journalist, Susan W. Ball held regular staff positions at the Terre Haute Gazette and the Saturday Spectator. She was an early proponent of woman suffrage and equality for women in the home, the workplace, and the political arena. She wrote a regular column in the weekly Saturday Spectator called "Woman's World" for fourteen years (1904-1918) and is noted for her wit and intelligence in her writings about women.

Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on November 27, 1851, Susan Williams Ball was the daughter of Julia Creighton and William J. Ball. She was baptized at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and remained an active member throughout her life. In 1869, she graduated from Terre Haute High School; she continued her education at Vassar College for one year.

Although the time between her formal education and her first known job (which is documented in the 1887 Terre Haute City Directory) reveals a gap of nearly seventeen years, Susan Ball was active in local clubs, such as the Decorative Arts Society, and lived, at least part of this time, with her brothers William C. and Spencer F. Ball in a house on south 5th Street in Terre Haute. In 1893, she was a member of the Board of Lady Managers for the Columbian Exposition at the Chicago World's Fair.

During the late 1880s, Susan Ball worked as a clerk for the United States Revenue Office. Her brothers, William and Spencer, owned the Terre Haute Gazette newspaper and she eventually joined the daily Gazette staff as society editor in the early 1890s. On October 1, 1904, she began writing a regular column for the newly established weekly, The Saturday Spectator. As editor and writer of "Woman's World," Susan Ball transcended the typical society news columnist to make her mark as an advocate of woman suffrage and equality for women. Often with humor and an acerbic pen, she wrote on a variety of general topics as well - from critiquing Terre Haute culture to describing her many travels in the United States and abroad.

Susan W. Ball died on August 18, 1921 at Mercy Hospital in Chicago where she had been undergoing radium treatments for a long-term illness.

Content and Scope of Collection

This collection contains photocopies from the microfilmed newspapers of Susan W. Ball's column, "Woman's World," in The Saturday Spectator. The column spans fourteen years from its first appearance on October 1, 1904 to her last known article on August 10, 1918. Since there are missing issues of the Spectator in the Vigo County Public Library's microfilm collection, this collection does not represent all the columns written by Ball. (See list of missing issues in the inventory folder with the collection.) Consistently, her column appears in every issue except during the time period - May 7, May 14, May 21, and May 28, 1910 - when a guest columnist (Mary Foote Arnold) filled in while Susan Ball was on vacation.

Of special note: Starting with the April 29, 1911 issue, Susan Ball included short biographies or profiles of Terre Haute women in her column for nearly eight years. Since women did not get much coverage in traditional county histories, this collection is significant in uncovering the biographies of hundreds of local women.

Large Flat Storage Box 1






"Personal Impressions of the
World's Fair,"
The Spectator

July 23, 1904




Weekly columns:

"Woman's World"





Large Flat Storage Box 2





Weekly columns:

"Woman's World"





Large Flat Storage Box 3





Weekly columns:

"Woman's World"