Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Marguerite Higgins: Award Winning Journalist

As a writer of WWII mysteries that feature a feisty war correspondent, I am fascinated by the true stories of the more than 125 women who managed to secure accreditation as war correspondents with the Armed Forces between 1941 and 1945. This month I’m spotlighting Marguerite Higgins.

Although Marguerite only lived forty five years, she accomplished a tremendous amount in her short life. During her career she gained the respect of her colleagues, the U.S. military and the public for her courage and determination as a war correspondent. She received numerous awards including Woman of the Year by the Associated Press, The George Polk Award of the Overseas Press Club, the Marine Corps Reserve Officers Award, and a Pulitzer Prize.

She was born in Hong-Kong on September 3, 1920, the only child of American Lawrence Daniel Higgins and Marguerite Goodard. Her father was a pilot during WWI and served in Europe where he met his French wife. The family did not do well financially, but Marguerite was an excellent student and earned a scholarship to attend the Anna Head School in Berkeley, CA. After graduation she attended UCal Berkeley where she worked on the campus newspaper, The Daily Californian. Bitten by the journalism bug, Marguerite decided she wanted to become a professional foreign correspondent.

Unfortunately when she graduated in 1941, none of the newspapers or news services was hiring an inexperienced woman. Undeterred, Marguerite went to graduate school at Columbia University during which she secured a part-time position as a college correspondent at the New York Tribune. By the time she received her degree in 1943, the U.S. was in the war.

Still unable to get assigned to her dream job as a foreign correspondent, Marguerite approached Helen Rogers Reid, the wife of the paper’s owner. Mrs. Reid arranged for Marguerite to be posted in London in 1944. However, Marguerite was determined to get to the battlefront. She managed to get permission to go to Paris and by 1945 had land an assignment at the Berlin bureau.

Marguerite did not get to the front lines until the end of the war, however she covered the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald and witnessed the fall of Munich. After the war she covered the Nuremburg war trials and the Berlin blockade. Her career continued through the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. She passed away in 1966 from a disease she contracted in Vietnam.

By the world’s standards Marguerite Higgins was a great success. She was a beautiful woman who became famous doing something she loved, all while earning countless awards. But her personal life seemed to have suffered in that she was divorced twice. Did she have regrets? Several comments in her autobiography lead me to believe she did. Did she think the sacrifice was worth it? We’ll never know.

Have you ever made a sacrifice you later regretted?

Don't forget to comment for a chance to win Worth the Time by Laura Jackson.

A freelance writer for over ten years, Linda Matchett also writes historical fiction. She is currently seeking a publisher for her series about war correspondent Ruth Brown. Visit her at www.lindashentonmatchett.com


  1. She was certainly determined and brave.

    My greatest sacrifice I do not regret one little bit.

  2. She was determined! I'm glad you have no regrets about your sacrifice.

  3. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing with us, Linda.

  4. Had never heard of her before. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you for your interesting post! What great determination!

  6. Thanks for your comments. I am so fascinated by these kind of women who broke barriers, especially with regard to employment. Glad you enjoyed the post.