“Learning that a revolution was imminent in the Hawaiian Islands, she induced her editor to send her to Honolulu. She would have been the only special correspondent upon the ground at the time of the Queen’s disposition; but two days before she was to set out, she made a misstep and broke her foot.”
“This postponed her departure until the revolution was an accomplished fact. But eventually, with the foot in a silicate cast and on crutches, she made the journey, reached Honolulu safely, and remained until the American flag was hauled down from the government building – a ceremonial of which she was an eyewitness …”
“(S)he was at once placed in personal communication with the heads of the government, even Queen Liliʻuokalani giving her an audience.” (Hawaiian Gazette, December 24, 1901)
“When I visited the Islands first, in 1893, I went prejudiced in favour of the natives, deeply sympathising with them because they had been dispossessed of their lawful possessions.”
“A careful and conscientious study of the situation on the spot led me to change my views absolutely, and I perceived that whatever had been done had been done of necessity and with wisdom and forbearance.” (Krout)
Mary Hannah Krout was born on November 3, 1851 in Crawfordsville, Indiana, daughter of Robert Kennedy Krout and Caroline VanCleve Brown Krout. She was the oldest of eight children, and after their mother died early in Mary’s life, they were raised by their strict father.
Mary Hannah Krout traveled the world at a time when women stayed home and tended the hearth, but she always returned to her family on West College Street in Crawfordsville. (Turchin)
Mary became one of the leading feminists in Indiana, perhaps in reaction against the strict social structure that she and her other sisters were forced to follow by her father.
She was educated in Crawfordsville, first in subscription schools, then in Crawfordsville public schools. Like many women of her time, Mary Hannah chose teaching as a career and taught in the Crawfordsville schools for about a dozen years.
But her passion was for journalism, a field almost completely closed to women in the 1800s, except for occasional articles on homemaking and other feminine pursuits. First writing for area newspapers while she was still teaching, in 1879 she got a job on the Crawfordsville Journal and contributed to Indianapolis and Cincinnati papers.
On the Journal, besides reporting, she wrote a gossip column under the pseudonym “Heinrich Karl,” a lively, perhaps libelous account of Crawfordsville people and their activities, which was also sold to other papers.
In 1881 she became associate editor, and in 1882 was hired as editor by the Terre Haute Express. Long hours eventually forced a partial retirement during which she kept writing, but was unable to work at a job.
Krout’s career took a great leap forward in 1886 when she began a ten-year affiliation with the Chicago Inter-Ocean, presumably as a result of her position as a writer for the Chicago Interior.
The Inter-Ocean was a weekly paper delivered by mail via the transcontinental railroad across the country. For about forty years beginning in 1872, the paper was a definitive source of business news to subscribers throughout the American west. (Turchi)
That paper sent her to Hawaiʻi to cover the installation of the new provincial government. This led to her first book, Hawai‘i and a Revolution, in 1898, and later, two biographies of prominent Hawaiian women. In 1900, Alice’s Visit to the Hawaiian Islands (an ‘imaginary journey’ through the Islands) was published.
After an extended trip to New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia, “In 1895, Miss Krout was sent to London, where she remained nearly three years as staff correspondent of the Inter-Ocean … she saw London as few American women have ever seen it.”
“She was received not only be exclusive English nobility, but by artists, writers, musicians, men and women identified with the universities and worldwide philanthropic work.”
“In 1899, this noted correspondent went to China for a syndicate of newspapers, collecting data mainly relating to the commercial relations of that empire with the United States. “
“From Peking she made a journey into the interior with the wife of the Rev Mr Gamwell, one of the heroes of the siege of the British consulate. On this journey the two women, accompanied only by their native servants, penetrated the very fastnesses of the Boxer country, which was then even in a state of ferment.”
“When asked ‘if the demands of her profession had not overtaxed her strength,’ she replied: ‘On the contrary, I left the position of teacher a nervous wreck.”
“Engaged in a profession to which I felt myself adapted, and even the drudgery of which I loved, my physical condition steadily improved, until I am now in robust health, and good, I hope, for active duty for many years to come.’”
“Asked what she considered to be the chief essentials of good newspaper work, she said: ‘Energy in the doing, a knowledge of what is wanted, and accuracy – accuracy before all else, for, no matter how cleverly a statement may be put, one error invalidates the whole, and it is labor lost.’” (Hawaiian Gazette, December 24, 1901)
“She has an affection for Hawaii strengthened by several visits, and a great many residents here who know her personally are very anxious to make her present stay a permanent one.” (Hoosier State Chronicles, April 2, 1900)
“In my account of the political changes that have occurred, I have had occasion to criticise Mr. Cleveland and his personal representative, Mr. Blount, with some severity, and in defence of my statements I will merely say that much that I have written I saw; the rest is a matter of public knowledge”. (Krout, January 9, 1898)
It had been said, and truthfully, that the greatest influence of the 20th century would be the influence of educated women an influence which civilization had never yet felt.”
“The pupils of the Kamehameha Schools had been preparing themselves for the new duties which changed conditions ordained. The times had changed, and, in the highest and best sense, they were changing with them.” (Krout; Advertiser, October 20, 1907)
“The Hawaiian race had produced great women, who, in their natural qualifications, were equal to the greatest women rulers of Europe – Kapiʻolani, Kaʻahumanu, Kīnaʻu and Bernice Pauahi Bishop (Krout wrote a book, Memoirs of Hon. Bernice Pauahi Bishop.) There would be yet others, whose work and influence would be a blessing to the land and to the people.” (Krout; Advertiser, October 20, 1907)
She never married, but had no lack of suitors and never exhibited the appearance of the daring woman traveler she was. At the same time, she lectured whenever possible on women’s suffrage, in America, in England, in New Zealand, China and Hawai‘i. (Carnegie Museum)
Between 1898 and 1910, seven of her books were published. Krout died on May 27, 1927 at Crawfordsville, Indiana. (Lots of information here is from Carnegie Museum and Turchi.)