On September 19, 1909 The Chicago Daily Tribune ran an article announcing a holiday contest: "$50 in Prizes for Christmas Gift Suggestions." Readers were encouraged to send in their creative gift ideas to Sally Joy Brown, c/o the Sunday Tribune, Chicago. The first suggestions began appearing in the paper in October and included a collar and cuff box, desk blotters, sewing cases, homemade shirts, match striker and recipes for fudge and seafoam candy. The suggestions would pour into the paper until Christmas.
In January of 1910 a new Sally Joy column appeared. This time it was "A Page for Practical Housekeepers." Once again, lots of recipes and "Heloise" type hints such as the recommendation to sew cotton flannel patches under the arms and the seat of new flannel underwear in order to save on mending later.
Another new column appeared in the Sunday Tribune November of 1911 and became extremely popular:
Some of the "work at Home" jobs were:
Turning an unused parlor into a Tearoom
Conducting sewing classes for children
The types of work were actually quite similar to the ones we see today. Women are still looking for ways to make money from home in their spare time. Take a look at the popular WAHM network board and you'll see what I mean.
Then, in September of 1912 the column expanded from a Sunday feature to running every day. "Sally Joy Brown" was what is known as a "paper" name, or pen name. It was a Tribune institution for many years. The columns written with that byline were actually penned by an assistant to the women's editor of the Tribune, Mary Eleanor O'Donnell, or maybe even O'Donnell herself on occasion. The writer varied. Unfortunately, I don't know the exact identity of the "Earn Money From Home" columnist.
That is, until late 1912 or early 1913. That's when Sally Joy Brown became the "paper" name of none other than Fanny Butcher.
Officially, Butcher began working full-time for the Tribune on June 11, 1913. At different times she served as assistant to the women's editor, society editor, fashion editor, crime reporter, assistant music critic, and special correspondent. What ever was asked of her she did.
Fanny Butcher's most notable title, however, was as the literary critic of the Chicago Tribune, a position she assumed in 1923 and held for 40 years until she retired in 1963. Butcher died in 1987 at the age off 99.
One other woman I know of who wrote under the name "Sally Joy Brown" was Jessie Reid Taylor. The "Friend in Need Column" was written by Taylor for 16 years. She died in 1972 at the age of 76.
Bookwomen building Chicago — the Fanny Buctcher story (Caxtonian; May, 2002)