Emerson, Gloria 1930(?)-2004
EMERSON, Gloria 1930(?)-2004
OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born 1930 (one source says 1929); died after an apparent suicide August 4, 2004, in New York, NY. Journalist and author. Emerson was a prominent New York Times correspondent best known for her Vietnam War reporting. Because of a difficult childhood during which she suffered at the hands of an alcoholic father, she ran away from home and did not attend college. Instead, she found work on the staff of a magazine that was distributed for free to hotels. Fortunately for Emerson, her application to the New York Times was accepted, and she began work there in 1957 in what was then called the women's news department. Here she wrote articles about fashion, a job she hated but for which she was nevertheless grateful. By this point, she had already been divorced once, and she left her job in 1960 to marry second husband, Charles A. Brofferio. The couple lived in Brussels, but the marriage lasted only one year. In 1964, Emerson managed to get rehired by the Times as a reporter in Paris. Four years later, she moved to the London bureau and began to gain attention with articles she wrote about the conflict in Northern Ireland. This, in turn, led to her assignment in Vietnam from 1970 to 1972. Her work there earned her the George Polk Award for excellence in foreign reporting in 1971. Though she found reporting about war a depressing and difficult task, Emerson continued to write on the subject through much of her career and covered conflicts in such locations as Algeria and Gaza. She developed a marked distrust for the military, especially its officers, and was known for her exposés on such misconduct as the use of heroin by U.S. troops and the awarding of medals to officers who did not deserve them. She was also among half a dozen journalists who published a report that complained about how the U.S. government tried to prevent the press from reporting on wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Emerson, who was inducted into the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame in 1982 and was a visiting professor at Princeton University three times during the 1980s, was the author of several nonfiction books, including Winners and Losers: Battles, Retreats, Gains, Losses, and Ruins from a Long War (1976), which won the National Book Award, Some American Men (1985), and Gaza: A Year in the Intifada: A Personal Account from an Occupied Land (1990). She also penned a novel, Loving Graham Greene (2000). During her last years, Emerson suffered from Parkinson's disease, and friends speculated she committed suicide to avoid the inevitable effects of her illness.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Chicago Tribune, August 6, 2004, section 3, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2004, p. B9.
New York Times, August 5, 2004, p. C14.
Times (London, England), August 14, 2004, p. 44.
Washington Post, August 6, 2004, p. B6.