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Author photo. Louise Bryant (1885-1936)
1917 photograph
(Louise Bryant Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University Library

Louise Bryant (1885-1936) 1917 photograph (Louise Bryant Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University Library

Louise Bryant (1885–1936)

Author of Six Red Months in Russia

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Louise Bryant was born Anna Louise Mohan in San Francisco, California and raised in and around Reno, Nevada. As a girl, she rode horses and took part in other activities on the family ranch. After her parents divorced, her mother remarried and Louise adopted her stepfather's surname. She attended the University of Nevada, where she began contributing stories to magazines, and the University of Oregon, graduating in 1909. She got a job as an illustrator and society editor for the Spectator Magazine in Portland. That same year, she married Paul Trullinger, a dentist. She became involved in the women's suffrage movement and progressive politics, and was restless at home. In 1914, she met journalist and writer John Reed and they became lovers. She followed him to New York City's Greenwich Village, where she began writing for The Masses, among other publications. Among her circle of friends were Emma Goldman, Eugene O'Neill, Crystal Eastman, Max Eastman, Sherwood Anderson, Upton Sinclair, Amy Lowell, Inez Milholland and Carl Sandburg. She spent the summer of 1916 with Reed in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and participated in forming the Provincetown Theater Group with her play The Game. She married Reed in 1916; then during a separation from him the following year, she went to France to report on World War I. On her return, she and Reed decided to go to Russia together to cover the revolution there. They were present for many of the most dramatic events and interviewed key figures such as Lenin and Kerensky. Her resulting book Six Red Months in Russia was published in 1918. After Reed died in 1920, she traveled through southern Russia and Central Asia, reporting and writing. She published a second book, Mirrors of Moscow (1923). She went to Europe and covered the rise of fascism in Italy and the war for independence in Turkey. In 1923, she married a third time to William C. Bullitt, Jr., a wealthy former diplomat with whom she lived in Paris and had a daughter. They had a bitter divorce and Bullitt denied her access to the child. She worked on John Reed's papers and died in 1936 at age 50 of a cerebral hemorrhage.
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