Drew Pearson was born on 13 December, 1897, in Evanston, Illinois. In 1902 the family moved to Pennsylvania, where his father, Paul Pearson, became professor of public speaking at Swarthmore College.
Pearson was educated at the Exeter Academy and Swarthmore College, where he edited the student newspaper, The Phoenix. In 1919 Pearson traveled to Serbia where he spent two years rebuilding houses that had been destroyed during the First World War.
After returning to America, Drew taught industrial geography at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1923 he embarked on a worldwide tour visiting Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and India. He paid for his trip by writing articles for an American newspaper syndicate.
Pearson taught briefly at Columbia University before returning to journalism and reporting on anti-foreigner demonstrations in China (1927), the Geneva Naval Conference (1928), and the Pan American Conference in Cuba (1928).
In 1929 Pearson became Washington correspondent of the Baltimore Sun. Three years later he joined the Scripps-Howard syndicate, United Features. His Merry-Go-Round column was published in newspapers all over the United States.
Pearson was a strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal program. He upset the more conservative editors when he advocated United States involvement in the struggle against fascism in Europe. Pearson’s articles were often censored, and so in 1941 he switched to the more liberal Washington Post.
During the Second World War Pearson became a radio broadcaster. He soon became one of America’s most popular radio personalities. After the war he was an enthusiastic supporter of the United Nations and helped to organize the Friendship Train project in 1947. The train traveled coast to coast collecting gifts of food for those people in Europe still suffering from the consequences of the war.
In the early 1950s Pearson was one of the few journalists to stand up against Joe McCarthy. Along with George Seldes, I. F. Stone, Walter Lippmann, Jack Anderson, Edward R. Murrow, and Herb Block, Pearson played an important role in Sen. McCarthy’s downfall. Drew Pearson died in 1969.
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