A Woman to Know: Marguerite Higgins

God dammit, I've had my typhus shots! Lay off me, I'm doing my job! — Marguerite Higgins

(image via Wikimedia Commons)


TOKYO, Tuesday, July 18, 1955 -- Marguerite Higgins, a correspondent for The New York Herald Tribune, has been ordered out of the Korean battle area as part of a plan to remove all American women from Korea except nurses, an Army spokesman said today.

But Marguerite refused the order.

The 35-year-old journalist had covered concentration camp liberation, the Nuremberg war trials and the start of the Korean War. When the mandate came down that all women were to evacuate the war zone, she escalated the issue to General MacArthur, who immediately telegraphed an apology: "Ban on women correspondents in Korea has been lifted. Marguerite Higgins is held in highest professional esteem by everyone."

Marguerite went on to report from combat for the rest of her career, winning the the Pulitzer Prize for her wartime coverage. She died while on assignment in 1965, after multiple newsroom honors and four books about her journalism travels.

As fellow reporter Tania Long wrote in her review of Marguerite's memoir, headlined "Marguerite Higgins files her own story":

Every woman reporter is asked once if not one hundred times during her career how she came to enter the newspaper business. The questioner is nearly always of the same sex; frequently a girl with vague ambitions to become a reporter herself.

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