Marguerite Higgins

Marguerite Higgins Hall (September 3, 1920 – January 3, 1966) was an American reporter and war correspondent. Higgins covered World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and in the process advanced the cause of equal access for female war correspondents.[1] She had a long career with the New York Herald Tribune (1942–1963), and later, as a syndicated columnist for Newsday (1963–1965). She was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Foreign Correspondence awarded in 1951 for her coverage of the Korean War.

Marguerite Higgins
October 1951 issue of Life magazine’s article by Carl Mydans

Early life and education

Higgins was born in Hong Kong, where her father, Lawrence Higgins, was working at a shipping company. The family moved back to the United States three years later. She worked for The Daily Californian, the University of California, Berkeley newspaper, serving as an editor in 1940. While at Berkeley, she was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. After graduating from Berkeley in 1941 with a B.A. in French, she earned a masters degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.


Eager to become a war correspondent, Higgins persuaded the management of the New York Herald Tribune to send her to Europe, after working for them for two years, in 1944. After being stationed in London and Paris, she was reassigned to Germany in March 1945. She witnessed the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in April 1945 and received a U.S. Army campaign ribbon for her assistance during the surrender by its S.S. guards. She later covered the Nuremberg war trials and the Soviet Union's blockade of Berlin.[2]

In 1950, Higgins was named chief of the Tribune's Tokyo bureau. Shortly after her arrival in Japan, war broke out in Korea, she came to the country as one of the first reporters on the spot. On 28 June, Higgins and three of her colleagues witnessed the Hangang Bridge bombing, and were trapped on the north bank of Han River as a result. After crossing the river by raft and coming to the U.S. military HQ in Suwon on the next day, she was quickly ordered out of the country by General Walton Walker, who argued that women did not belong at the front and the military had no time to worry about making separate accommodations for them. Higgins made a personal appeal to Walker's superior officer, General Douglas MacArthur, who subsequently sent a telegram to the Herald Tribune stating: "Ban on women correspondents in Korea has been lifted. Marguerite Higgins is held in highest professional esteem by everyone."[3]

This was a major breakthrough for all female war correspondents. As a result of her reporting from Korea, Higgins shared with five male war correspondents the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.[4] She contributed along with other major journalistic and political figures to the Collier's magazine collaborative special issue Preview of the War We Do Not Want, with an article entitled "Women of Russia".[5]

Higgins continued to cover foreign affairs throughout the rest of her life, interviewing world leaders such as Francisco Franco, Nikita Khrushchev, and Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1955, she established and was chief of the Tribune's Moscow bureau. In 1963, she joined Newsday and was assigned to cover Vietnam, "visited hundreds of villages", interviewed most of the major figures, and wrote a book entitled Our Vietnam Nightmare.[6]

Personal life

In 1942, she married Stanley Moore, a philosophy professor at Harvard but they divorced.

In 1952, she married William Evans Hall, a U.S. Air Force Major General, whom she met while Bureau Chief in Berlin. Their first daughter, born in 1953, died five days after a premature birth. In 1958, she gave birth to a son and in 1959, a daughter.[2]

Death and legacy

While on assignment in late 1965, Higgins contracted leishmaniasis, a disease that led to her death on January 3, 1966, aged 45, in Washington, D.C.[7] She is interred at Arlington National Cemetery with her husband Lieutenant General William Evans Hall.

In popular culture

Marguerite Higgins on-screen.


On September 2, 2010, South Korea posthumously awarded Order of Diplomatic Service Merit (Korean: 수교훈장), one of its highest honors, to Marguerite Higgins. In a ceremony in the capital, her daughter and grandson accepted the Heunginjang, a national medal. The award cites Higgins' bravery in publicizing South Korea's struggle for survival in the early 1950s.[8]

In 2016, South Korean Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs awarded Korean War's Heroine of May[9]


  • War In Korea: The Report Of A Woman Combat Correspondent. New York: Doubleday & Co. 1951.
  • News is a Singular Thing, 1955
  • Red Plush and Black Bread, 1955
  • Our Vietnam Nightmare: The story of U.S. involvement in the Vietnamese tragedy, with thoughts on a future policy. New York: Harper and Row. 1965. ISBN 978-0-06-011890-7.


  1. ^ Michaelis, Colonel J.H. "Mike" (September 25, 1950). "Pride of the Regiment". TIME. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
  2. ^ a b "Biographical History". Marguerite Higgins Papers. Syracuse University. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Last Word", TIME, July 31, 1950.
  4. ^ "International Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  5. ^ Higgins, Marguerite (27 October 1951). "Women of Russia". Preview of the War We Do Not Want. Collier's Weekly. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  6. ^ Higgins, back jacket.
  7. ^ Sicherman, Barbara (1980). Notable American Women: The Modern Period : a Biographical Dictionary. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 340–1. ISBN 0-674-62732-6. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  8. ^ "US War Correspondent Posthumously Awarded National Medal in Seoul". Arirang News. 2010-09-02.
  9. ^ Award Announcement - South Korean Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs

External links

1951 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1951.

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Charles Chellapah

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He has won dozens of top awards for his work, including the 1973 Robert Capa Gold Medal (with Raymond Depardon and Chas Gerretsen) from the Overseas Press Club for work in Chile, Magazine Photographer of the Year from the National Press Photographers Association, and World Press Photo of the Year.He was a member of the Gamma photo agency and co-founded Contact Press Images.

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He was President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and is Vice President of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB. He was voted BAFTA 'Reporter of the Year' for his coverage of the war in Vietnam in 1968.

Kenneth R. Shadrick

Kenneth R. "Kenny" Shadrick (August 4, 1931 – July 5, 1950) was a United States Army soldier who was killed at the onset of the Korean War. He was widely but incorrectly reported as the first American soldier killed in action in the war.

Shadrick was born in Harlan County, Kentucky, one of 10 children. After dropping out of high school in 1948, he joined the U.S. Army, and spent a year of service in Japan before being dispatched to South Korea at the onset of the Korean War in 1950 along with his unit, the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. During a patrol, Shadrick was killed by the machine gun of a North Korean T-34 tank, and his body was taken to an outpost where journalist Marguerite Higgins was covering the war. Higgins later reported that he was the first soldier killed in the war, a claim that was repeated in media across the United States. His life was widely profiled, and his funeral drew hundreds of people.

His death is now believed to have occurred after the first American combat fatalities in the Battle of Osan. Since the identities of other soldiers killed before Shadrick remain unknown, he is still often incorrectly cited as the first U.S. soldier killed in the war.

Larry Burrows

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Lou Ann Walker

Lou Ann Walker is an author and a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature Program at Stony Brook Southampton, as well as a founding Editor of The Southampton Review. Her memoir A Loss for Words received a Christopher Award for high standards in Communication.Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Life, Allure, Parade, The Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Times Book Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, The Writer, and The Hopewell Review. Formerly an editor at Esquire and New York Magazine, Walker has lectured on writing at Smith College and Yale University, and taught at Marymount Manhattan College, Southampton College, and Columbia University.Her awards include a Marguerite Higgins reporting award and an NEA grant in Creative Writing. The author of several screenplays, she is also a member of the Writers Guild of America.

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Preview of the War We Do Not Want

Collier's Magazine devoted its entire 130-page October 27, 1951 issue to narrate the events in a hypothetical Third World War, in a feature article entitled "Preview of the War We Do Not Want - an Imaginary Account of Russia's defeat and Occupation, 1952-60". Twenty writers, including Edward R. Murrow, Arthur Koestler, Philip Wylie, Hal Boyle, Marguerite Higgins, and Walter Winchell, contributed to the article. The war, in which the United Nations is victorious over the Soviet Union, takes place from 1952 to 1955. Nuclear weapons are extensively used, but do not have the apocalyptic effects envisaged in other speculative scenarios.

The project, codenamed "Operation Eggnog", was put together by Associate Editor Cornelius Ryan under considerable secrecy. The special edition led Collier's to increase its print order from 3,400,000 to 3,900,000 copies. By spending $40,000 extra on these articles, Collier's almost doubled its usual sale of advertising.

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William Evans Hall

William Evans "Bill" Hall (22 October 1907 - 30 May 1984) was an American military officer, retired with the rank of Lieutenant general in the United States Air Force.

Hall attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated from the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Air Force Base in Texas. He served actively during World War II, first as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces and later as Deputy Commander of the 15th Air Force in Bari, Italy. After the war he was placed in charge of the United States Continental Air Command, an organization of more than 15,000 military personnel and over 8,000 civilian employees, and served as Senior Member and Air Force Representative to the United Nations Military Staff Committee in New York.

He married photojournalist Marguerite Higgins in 1952, with whom he had three children, one of which died in infancy.

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