A podcast about history

That's not stuck in the past


Elsie Robinson was a pioneer of women in media, an early advocate for equal rights, and at one point the highest-paid woman writer in the nation. Before launching her journalism career, Elsie’s life was an astonishing rollercoaster that included everything from a marriage to a wealthy Victorian gentleman to a job working deep within the bowels of the Sierra foothills mining for gold. So how is it possible that her name has been largely forgotten? 

Julia Scheeres and Allison Gilbert confront this mystery in a fascinating new biography called “Listen, World! How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson became America’s Most-Read Woman.” In this episode, recorded at the Oakland Library in front of a live audience, we discuss Robinson’s unlikely rise from the Oakland Tribune to the upper echelons of national media, her legacy, and the challenges of uncovering this nearly forgotten story. Listen to the conversation via Apple, SoundCloud, Spotify, or wherever you get podcasts.

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“I’m tired of hearing the difference of men and women emphasized and exploited. It has built a wicked wall between the sexes and it’s time we knocked it down.” -Elsie Robinson, 1922.
This is where Elsie Robinson launched her journalism career in 1918. When the Tribune building was constructed in 1906, the iconic tower wasn’t part of the original design. The owner Joseph Knowland was inspired by seeing the campanile of Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, so he later had the tower added in 1923. [Source: Oakland Wiki]
Author Allison Gilbert poses with an incredibly fashionable audience member at the Oakland Library on October 2, 2022, following the live taping of this podcast. To listen to the episode, click here. Special thanks to Erin Sanders of the Oakland History Center for organizing this event.

What happened to “America’s most-read woman”?

Rediscovering Elsie Robinson
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