Abramson, Rudy 1937-2008 (Rudy Paulk Abramson)

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Abramson, Rudy 1937-2008 (Rudy Paulk Abramson)


See index for CA sketch: Born August 31, 1937, in Florence, AL; died of head injuries from a fall, February 13, 2008, in Fairfax, VA. Journalist, correspondent, historian, biographer, and author. Abramson went to Washington, DC, in the late 1950s as a correspondent for the Nashville Tennessean. He moved to the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times in 1966 and filed stories from the nation's capital for nearly thirty years, retiring in 1993. Abramson reportedly enjoyed writing features about curious events and unusual people. One of his colorful subjects was business leader, politician, and philanderer W. Averell Harriman, whose life he attempted to capture in the hefty biography Spanning the Century: The Life of W. Averell Harriman, 1891-1986 (1992). It was a daunting task; even though the project had Harriman's permission, it didn't necessarily have his cooperation. The public life of the entrepreneur, senator, occasional diplomat, and would-be presidential candidate was complex, and his personal life was elusive, yet Abramson's biography was well received by critics and other readers alike. Abramson continued to pursue personal interests in addition to his reporting assignments. As a product of southern Appalachia, he was chagrined to learn that, in the world at large, common perceptions of the region were almost always negative images of poverty and ignorance. He spent ten years working to correct that, and in 2006 he published The Encyclopedia of Appalachia, nearly 2,000 pages from more than 1,000 contributors who saw the beauty and often nonmonetary wealth of the mountains and the people whose roots were deeply embedded in their rock and soil. Abramson was also active in efforts to preserve historic American venues. When he was the executive director of Protect Historic America, he led a successful effort to prevent the Walt Disney organization from building a history-based theme park near the Manassas Battlefield, where Americans on both sides fought and died during the Civil War. Abramson later wrote Hallowed Ground: Preserving America's Heritage (1996).



Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2008, p. B9.

Washington Post, February 15, 2008, p. B7.