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Author photo. Flora Lewis, ca. 1941 [source: UCLA 1941 Southern Campus Yearbook]

Flora Lewis, ca. 1941 [source: UCLA 1941 Southern Campus Yearbook]

Flora Lewis (1922–2002)

Author of Europe: A Tapestry of Nations

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Flora Lewis was born in California. A talented student, she graduated from high school at age 15. She went to UCLA and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She then earned a degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Flora Lewis went to work for the Associated Press in New York, but was soon transferred to the Washington D.C., bureau to cover the U.S. State Department and the Navy. At the end of World War II, she was assigned to the London bureau. There in 1945, she married Sydney Gruson, a New York Times reporter with whom she had three children. Flora left AP the following year to accompany her husband to Poland. From 1946 to 1954, she freelanced for major magazines and newspapers such as Time, The New York Times, The Economist, the London Observer and France-Soir. During this period, she travelled on assignments throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Mexico. On her return to the USA in 1955, she was named the first woman foreign correspondent for The Washington Post and first chief of the Post's newly-created New York City bureau. Her investigative work landed her on the infamous Nixon enemies list. She traveled several times to Vietnam during the U.S. war there. In 1972, she was appointed The New York Times foreign and diplomatic correspondent and was the first woman to be given her own column on the paper's op-ed page. She also wrote five acclaimed nonfiction books, including Red Pawn: The Story of Noel Field (1965; published in England as The Man Who Disappeared), A Case History of Hope: The Story of Poland's Peaceful Revolutions (1958), Europe: A Tapestry of Nations (1987), and One of Our H-bombs is Missing (1987). Flora Lewis was honored four times by the Overseas Press Club for her foreign affairs reporting. She also won the Edward Weintal Award in 1978, the Matrix Award for Newspapers from New York Women in Communications in 1985, and the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award in Arts and Letters from New York University in 1987.
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