John Richard Hersey, 1914 - 1993

portrait of John Hersey
Portrait by Carl Van Vechten (1958)
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Born: 17 June 1914, Tientsin, China
Died: 24 March 1993, Key West, Florida

Born to American missionaries, Hersey spoke Chinese before he learned English upon the family's return to the US when he was ten. He was educated at Hotchkiss School, graduated from Yale University, and was a Mellon fellow at Cambridge. He wrote an essay on the dismal quality of Time magazine, they hired him in the fall of 1937. Writing for both Time and Life, Hersey covered the war in Europe and Asia, surviving four airplane crashes and earning a commendation from the US Navy for helping evacuate wounded soldiers from Guadalcanal. After the war he was in Japan covering the reconstruction of that country for The New Yorker when he met a Jesuit priest who had survived the atomic bomb explosion over Hiroshima, his extensive article filled the magazine's 31 August 1946 edition. The article is often cited as one of the first examples of New Journalism. Hersey turned primarily to fiction after that, A Bell for Adano won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1945. He was Master of Pierson College at Yale from 1965 to 1970 and taught two writing courses at Yale for eighteen years. His wife Barbara, previously married to cartoonist Charles Addams, was the model for Morticia Addams.

Biography from Wikipedia and Yale Alumni Magazine

John Hersey quotes:

Quotes found: 10

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