Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm was an American journalist, publisher, abolitionist, and women’s rights advocate. She was one of the first women journalists hired by Horace Greeley at his New York Tribune. She was active as a writer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and as a publisher and editor in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where she founded a string of newspapers and regularly wrote for them.
She was born Jane Grey Cannon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1815, one of several children of Mary (Scott) and Thomas Cannon, both of Scotch-Irish descent. Her father was a merchant and real estate speculator.
In the 1840’s, Swisshelm began writing articles against capital punishment, and stories, poems, and articles for an anti-slavery newspaper, the Spirit of Liberty, and others in Pittsburgh. Prompted by the demise of the Spirit of Liberty and the similarly themed Albatross, Swisshelm founded the newspaper Saturday Visiter in 1847. It eventually reached a national circulation of 6,000, and in 1854 was merged with the weekly edition of the Pittsburgh Commercial Journal. She wrote many editorials advocating women’s property rights.