Sunday, April 10, 2016

Myrtle Levy Gaylord (1895-1960)

Poet, Author, Reporter, Columnist, Feature Writer
Born 1895, San Francisco, California
Died February 14, 1960, Spokane, Washington

Myrtle Levy was born in San Francisco in 1895 to Morris Harry Levy (1866-1924) and Jenny (Swartz) Levy (1879-1962). She attended school in Spokane, Washington, and was in the first graduating class of Lewis and Clark High School in that city, in 1913. She married Charles Augustus Gaylord, who died in San Diego in 1929 or 1930. Myrtle Levy Gaylord started with the Spokane Press a few months later. It was her first newspaper job.

Before going to work in the newspaper business, Myrtle was a writer for pulp magazines. Her stories and poems appeared in Breezy Stories, Droll Stories, and Lover's Lane from 1922 to 1927. Her lone story for Weird Tales was "The Wish," from April 1923. She also had one story in Street & Smith’s Love Story Magazine in 1942. One of her stories won her a $1,000 prize.

When the Spokane Press closed in 1939, Myrtle Gaylord moved over to the Spokane Chronicle, where she spent the rest of career covering "every type of assignment and nearly every newsbeat in the city." She also wrote a popular column called "Glimpses." "Her writing was warm and human," remembered the Chronicle. "She had a flare for feature writing, particularly human-interest features, [a]nd she covered more murder trials in the Inland Empire than any other Spokane reporter." She was called "the dean of Spokane newspaper women." It was her tradition each spring to give a dollar to the first child who delivered a buttercup to her desk. (1)

After thirty years on the job, Myrtle Levy Gaylord retired on February 1, 1960. She died two weeks later, on February 14, in Spokane. The cause was cancer. She was survived by her mother, two sons, and seven grandchildren. Her older son, Morris Levy Gaylord, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, died last year at age ninety-five. Her younger, Frank Lincoln Gaylord, Sr., a U.S. Navy veteran of both wars, died in 2011.

(1) The quotes are from "Myrtle Gaylord Taken by Death," Spokane Daily Chronicle, February 15, 1960, page 1.

Myrtle Levy Gaylord's Story in Weird Tales
"The Wish" (Apr. 1923)

Further Reading
Only the articles referred to or linked to in the text and note above.

Text and captions copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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