Sharlot Hall Award Recipient 2019
Peggy Williams Bryant is the 2019 Sharlot Hall Award honoree for her decades-long career in journalism that has left an indelible contribution to the history or Arizona communities.  A native Texan, Peggy and her family moved to Fort Grant, Arizona, where she graduated (1948) class salutorian at Safford High School, and was editor of the campus newspaper.  She enrolled at Arizona State College (now ASU) where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism (1952) and considered becoming a teacher, but chose journalism.

She first wrote for the Centralia (WA) Daily, moved on to the Eloy (AZ) Enterprise, then the Mesa Tribune and Chandler Arizonan, where she was the first female editor in a time when newspaper newsrooms were largely male dominant.  Peggy took that experience and went to Tempe, where she would stay at the Tempe Daily News.  Over the years, Peggy’s knowledge of and participation in local history has been invaluable towards providing an accurate record of Tempe’s past.  She is best known for her prolific writing, her willingness to cover community events, and her unflinching support of local organizations through media exposure and unwavering community service.

Appreciation for her work has been demonstrated in many ways, but certainly one of the highlights was when “Peggy Bryant Day” was proclaimed in Tempe (September 1969).  Her decades-long career in journalism is reflected in the professionalism, attentiveness, doggedness and magnanimity described by those with whom she influenced and motivated, including:

     Frank and Irma Connolly, owner/publishers of the Tempe Daily News;
     Hon. J. Howard Pyle, former governor of Arizona;
     Hon. Wesley Bolin, former governor or Arizona;
     Hon. John Rhodes, member of the U.S. House of Representatives (HR-1);
     Hon. Harry Mitchell, eight-term mayor of Tempe, Arizona state senator, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives; and
     Hon. John McCain, congressman and six-term U.S. Senator.

These are only a few of those who helped form Arizona’s destiny.  By association and involvement, Peggy has played a part in that formation.

She has held leadership roles in such local organizations as Tempe Center for the Handicapped, St. Luke’s Hospital, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Business and Professional Women, American Association of University Women, and many others.  From close to its creation in 1969, she has been a member of the Tempe History Society and provided years of selfless service on its board of directors. Her donation of personal papers and artifacts has added significantly to the museum’s collections.

Peggy Bryant has represented the best in Arizona journalism, in broad community service, and in documenting community life across four decades -- all of it now preserved in museum microfilm and in yellowed clippings cherished within newspaper readers’ scrapbooks.