Gruening, Ernest Henry

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GRUENING, ERNEST HENRY (1887–1974), U.S. journalist, administrator, and politician. Gruening was born in New York City to parents of German origin. He received a medical degree from Harvard in 1912, but decided on a career in journalism and joined the staff of the Boston Evening Herald. After serving as an artillery officer and on the War Trade Board's Bureau of Imports during World War i, Gruening edited The Nation from 1920 to 1923, winning fame for his crusades against U.S. economic exploitation of Latin America. In 1927 he moved to Maine and founded the muckraking Portland Evening News, which specialized in attacks on the power utilities. Gruening abandoned journalism as a profession in 1934 when he was appointed director of the Division of Territories and Island Possessions of the Department of the Interior, a post he held until 1939. From 1935 to 1937 he also served as relief and reconstruction administrator in Puerto Rico. Gruening became territorial governor of Alaska (1939–53), in which capacity he was a strong proponent of Alaskan statehood. When Alaska was admitted to the Union, Gruening was elected a U.S. senator (1958) and was reelected in 1962. He was defeated in his bid for a third term in the 1968 Democratic primary. Gruening's Senate career was marked by his vigorous opposition to American military intervention in Latin America and Vietnam and by his support for federal birth control programs and public power projects. His publications include: Mexico and Its Heritage (1928); Public Pays and Still Pays (1931, 1964); State of Alaska (1954); and Vietnam Folly (1968).

[Henry Sosland]