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Mabel Ruhl Carries on Publisher Husband’s Legacy

From the time Robert Ruhl and his wife Mabel arrived in 1911, they were distinguished members of Medford society.  Robert was a journalist who became editor of the Medford Tribune in 1919 and continued through 1958.  Although Mabel said she did not influence Robert, others disagreed.  Mabel claimed Robert was more liberal, she was more conservative.

When Robert opposed the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920’s and an extreme populist political movement in the 1930’s, the newspaper suffered financially. The movement, sometimes violent, briefly took over the reins of Jackson County’s government.

The Ruhls worried about their children’s safety after the district attorney received kidnap threats for his own children. When Robert left the area due to a family illness, Mabel telegrammed breaking news to him for his editorials that won a Pulitzer Prize for the newspaper.

Mabel continued to publish the Medford Mail Tribune after Robert died in 1967 and until it was sold in 1973.

She received an Oregon Pioneer Award in 1984 for her philanthropy, and founded the Robert Ruhl Learning Fellowship program at Southern Oregon State College and other programs at the University of Oregon, and donated property for Medford’s Ruhl Park.


Sources: Southern Oregon Historical Society Biography Vertical File, Ruhl folder; "Mabel Ruhl puts high value on MT public role." Mail Tribune 29 Oct. 1981 [Medford, Ore.] : D7. Print; “Mabel Ruhl named UO award winner.” Ibid. 4 Nov. 1984: B2.

Pat Harper is the archivist for the Southern Oregon Historical Society, where she digitizes records, manages websites and learns more about regional history from the SOHS volunteers. After receiving her Master’s Degree in library science from the University of Illinois in 1980, Harper worked as a reference librarian, then as a library administrator. From 1994 to 2005, she was the Siskiyou County library director and lived in the country near Hornbrook, California.