Academic journal article Journalism History

An American Poet in Paris: Pauline Avery Crawford and the Herald Tribune

Academic journal article Journalism History

An American Poet in Paris: Pauline Avery Crawford and the Herald Tribune

Article excerpt

Robertson, Charles L. An American Poet in Paris: Pauline Avery Crawford and the Herald Tribune. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001. 280 pp. $34.95.

This literary biography tells the history of a journalist who undoubtedly was like few others of her era.

Pauline Avery Crawford was an American in Paris who wrote for that city's Herald Tribune for decades before she got paid, even though she became popular throughout Europe. P.A.C. [one of the monikers she used] wrote hundreds of poems and essays for a reader-generated column called the "Mailbag." And unlike most of her compatriots, she stayed in Paris during the Nazi occupation and the difficult years just after the war. Largely confined to her small apartment without heat and often without much food, and weakened by serious health problems that compounded her difficulties, Crawford wrote nearly daily in her diary. These writings, along with material from her columns, form the basis of this book, which gives us rich glimpses into this woman's life and work in and around Paris from the mid- 1930s to the early 1950s.

Anyone with an interest in women journalists, American newspapers in Europe between the wars and World War II, and literary journalism will find this a worthwhile read. James Gordon Bennett Jr. started the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune in 1887. In the two decades between the twentieth century's two great wars, American residents in Europe and those passing through read the Herald Tribune, and by 1934 it was the sole American paper in Europe.

The "Mailbag" was but one of a number of the paper's popular features and columns. But what made it different was that readers could regularly contribute to it, and this is how Crawford got her start. …

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