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Free, Ann Cottrell 1916-2004

FREE, Ann Cottrell 1916-2004

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born June 4, 1916, in Richmond, VA; died of pneumonia October 30, 2004, in Washington, DC. Journalist, activist, and author. One of only a few women journalists in America to work at a prominent newspaper during World War II, Free reported on events worldwide and later became a leading animal and environmental conservation activist. Graduating from Columbia University in 1938, her journalism career began at the Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch, where she was a reporter for two years. She then got a job at Newsweek clipping news articles. It was here that she would get her first reporting assignments for a major publication, becoming a Washington, D.C., correspondent. From 1941 to 1943 she served in that same capacity for the Chicago Sun, followed three years with the New York Herald Tribune. After World War II ended, Free worked in China as a correspondent for the United Nations Relief-Rehabilitation Administration; the next year, she was a Middle East and Near East correspondent and wrote about the transfer of power in India after that country gained independence from Great Britain. From 1948 to 1949 she worked as a special writer in Europe covering the efforts of the Marshall Plan to reconstruct a war-torn civilization. Marrying in 1950, Free took a break from journalism for five years before joining the North American Newspaper Alliance as a Washington correspondent, a job she continued in until 1985. During the 1950s, Free also started to get involved in causes for animal welfare and wildlife protection. She became friends with prominent conservationist Rachel Carson, and in the 1960s she wrote a column with her husband called "Whirligig" in which she addressed environmental issues. For this work, she received the Albert Schweitzer Medal in 1963. A founding member of the Friends of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., Free also helped establish the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine, was cofounder of the Vieques Humane Society and Animal Rescue in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and actively worked to get the Humane Slaughter and Animal Welfare Acts passed. For her work in animal welfare and conservation, she received the Rachel Carson Legacy Award in 1987. Other honors include a Junior Book award certificate from the Boys Club of America in 1964, humanitarian awards from the Washington Animal Rescue League, Montgomery County Humane Society, and Washington Humane Society, two news-writing awards from the Dog Writers Association in 1975 and 1978, and a Distinguished Alumni award from Collegiate Schools in 1992. Her published books also involve animal welfare and include Forever the Wild Mare (1963), No Room, Save in the Heart: Poetry and Prose on Reverence for Life—Animals, Nature, and Humankind (1987), and Since Silent Spring: Our Debt to Albert Schweitzer and Rachel Carson: An Address (1992). Named to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in 1986, and the 1997 recipient of a Lifetime Service award from the Washington Animal Rescue League, at the time of her death Free was writing an autobiography about her life in China.

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

periodicals

Chicago Tribune, November 1, 2004, section 2, p. 13.

Washington Post, October 31, 2004, p. C9.

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