Lyons, Eugene, 1898-1985

Alternative names
Birth 1898
Death 1985-01-07

Biographical notes:

American journalist and author; correspondent in the Soviet Union, 1928-1934; editor, Reader's Digest, 1946-1968; president, American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia, 1951-1952.

From the description of Eugene Lyons papers, 1919-1981. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754872158

Eugene Lyons (1898-1985) was Russian-born journalist and writer who was associated with Tass News Agency, American mercury, The pageant, and Reader's digest. A student of Soviet affairs, the U.S.S.R., and communism, Lyons wrote and lectured extensively on the Soviet system and world communism.

From the description of Eugene Lyons papers, 1933-1967. (University of Oregon Libraries). WorldCat record id: 18830762

Biographical Note

  • 1898, July 1: Born, Uzlian, Russia
  • 1907: Arrived in the United States
  • 1917 - 18 : Student, College City of New York
  • 1918: Private, U.S. Army
  • 1918 - 19 : Student, Columbia University
  • 1919: Naturalized as United States citizen
  • 1920: Employee, Erie Dispatch (Pennsylvania)
  • 1922: Employee, Boston Telegram
  • 1922 - 23 : Editor, Soviet Russia Pictorial
  • 1923 - 27 : Assistant Director, Tass Agency
  • 1927: Author, The Life and Death of Sacco and Vanzetti
  • 1928 - 1934 : United Press correspondent in the Soviet Union
  • 1934: Author, Six Soviet Plays
  • 1935: Author, Moscow Carousel
  • 1935 - 39 : Member, Ames and Norr Public Relations
  • 1937: Author, Assignment in Utopia
  • 1937: Editor, We Cover the World
  • 1939 - 1944 : Editor, The American Mercury
  • 1940: Author, Stalin, Czar of all the Russias
  • 1941: Author, The Red Decade
  • 1944 - 45 : Editor, Pageant
  • 1946 - 1968 : Editor, The Readers Digest
  • 1948: Author, Our Unknown Ex-President, a Portrait of Herbert Hoover
  • 1951 - 52 : President, American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia
  • 1953: Author, Our Secret Allies: The Peoples of Russia
  • 1959: Author, The Herbert Hoover Story
  • 1964: Author, Herbert Hoover: a Biography
  • 1966: Author, David Sarnoff: a Biography
  • 1967: Author, Workers' Paradise Lost: 50 Years of Soviet Communism: a Balance Sheet
  • 1985, January 10: Died, New York City

From the guide to the Eugene Lyons Papers, 1919-1981, (Hoover Institution Archives)

Eugene Lyons has been a newspaperman, foreign correspondent, editor, radio commentator, and a prolific political writer. He has corresponded with many of the prominent people responsible for major historical events in the twentieth century, and has dedicated himself to a lifetime of studies of Soviet affairs, the U.S.S.R., and communism. At first sympathetic to the "communist experiment," Lyons later turned fervently against it. He has written and lectured extensively on the Soviet system and world communism.

Lyons was born in Uzlain, Russia, on July 1, 1898, to Nathan and Minnie (Privin) Lyons. In 1907 he came to the United States. He attended the College of the City of New York in 1916-17, and Columbia University in 1917. In 1918, he joined the U.S. Army.

His career as a journalist began in 1919 as a reporter and editor for several eastern papers. In 1924, he received a position with the Tass News Agency offices in New York as either an editor or assistant director, depending upon the reference work cited.

In 1928, he was hired as a foreign correspondent for United Press and was stationed in Moscow. During this assignment he became the first foreign reporter granted an interview with Joseph Stalin. His experiences during this period are related in his book, Assignment in Utopia, published late in 1937.

During the war years (1939-1944) Lyons was the editor for The American Mercury in New York. In 1945 he initiated and served as the first editor for The Pageant ; and in 1946, he was offered a post on the editorial staff of Reader's Digest where he remained until his retirement in 1968.

In his other activities, he helped found and served as the first president for the American Committee for the Liberation of Peoples of Russia (known later as the Radio Liberty Committee), was among the founding members and the second president (1939-1940) of the Overseas Press Club and was a member of the Dutch Treat Club. Lyons currently resides in New York.

From the guide to the Eugene Lyons papers, 1929-1964, (Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries)


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  • Political Campaigns
  • Foreign correspondents--United States
  • Communism History 20th century
  • Conservatism
  • Anti-communist movements--United States
  • Foreign correspondents
  • Conservatives
  • Anti-communist movements
  • Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Communism
  • Conservatives--United States
  • Authors, American--20th century


  • Journalists


  • United States (as recorded)
  • Russia (Federation) (as recorded)
  • Soviet Union (as recorded)
  • Soviet Union. (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Soviet Union (as recorded)