Miriam Folline Leslie (1836-1914)
Miriam Folline Leslie, magazine editor and publisher, is noted for founding and editing magazines in the Frank Leslie publishing empire, primarily Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, one of the 19th century’s most famous publications, and for contributing over $1 million to the suffrage cause after her death, helping finance the final drive for the vote. She died at 78, leaving half her estate to Carrie Chapman Catt for “the cause of Woman’s Suffrage.”
Miriam was born in New Orleans, the common-law daughter of Charles Folline, who directed her private tutoring in several languages. After a brief marriage was annulled, she married Ephraim Squier who became editor of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Miriam became editor of a series of Leslie’s magazines: the Lady’s Magazine, the Chimney Corner, a family magazine, and the Lady’s Journal, a fashion magazine. On a European trip together, Frank Leslie arranged to have Squier arrested for unpaid debts, while Miriam continued the trip with Leslie! She later divorced Squier and married Leslie, but his over-expanded publishing empire declined and, at his death (1880), he left Miriam a bankrupt business. Legally changing her name to “Frank Leslie,” she reorganized the business, and restored its finances and prominence, while lavishly presiding over a multi-lingual New York salon. Several romances and a failed marriage later, she sold the Illustrated Newspaper.
Reprinted from NWHM Cyber Exhibit "Rights For Women"
Author Kristina Gupta
- PHOTO: Miriam Folline Leslie, Carrie Chapman Catt Collection, Bryn Mawr College Library