Lord, Walter, 1917-2002

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1917-10-08
Death 2002-05-19
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Author.

From the description of Oral history interview, 1976. (Maryland Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 32819047

Walter Lord (1917-2002), historian, educator and author, was a graduate of Princeton and Yale. He served with the Office of Strategic Services from 1941 to 1945. He published various works including The Past that Would Not Die in 1965. Lord was a member of the Authors Guild, the Authors League of America, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and the Royal United Services Institute.

From the description of Lord, Walter, 1917-2002 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10580338

Walter Lord, popular historian and author, was born on October 8, 1917, the only son of John Walterhouse and Henrietta (Hoffman) Lord. Raised in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, Lord attended the Gilman School and later received a Bachelors degree in history from Princeton University in 1939. During his time at Princeton, Lord cultivated his interest in historical research and won the Joline American History prize for excellence in his major subject.

While attending Yale Law School, World War II broke out and Lord went to work for the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency. At the close of the war in 1945, Lord returned to Yale to complete his law degree but decided against practicing law. From 1947 to 1950, Lord worked as an editor for the Research Institute of America, publishing newsletters on legal subjects for businessmen. He developed his writing skills during this period while writing books such as, Getting Military Work (1951) and How to Operate Under Wage and Salary Stabilization (1951). From 1953-56, Lord worked as a copywriter for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in New York City.

In 1954, while working for the advertising agency, Lord published The Fremantle Diary in which he edited and annotated the journal of Lt. Col. Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, an Englishman who toured the southern part of the United States for three months during the Civil War. Lord’s next book, A Night to Remember (1955), was prompted by a life-long fascination with the 1912 sinking of the SS Titanic. This book was revolutionary in that it incorporated interviews with Titanic survivors and provided a minute-by-minute account of the events of that fateful night. The success and popularity of A Night to Remember persuaded Lord to quit his job at the advertising agency and become a fulltime writer.

Over the next three decades, Lord wrote a dozen more books covering a variety of subjects. He examined topics such as artic exploration ( Peary to the Pole (1963)), World War II ( Day of Infamy (1957), Incredible Victory (1967), Miracle of Dunkirk (1982)), the War of 1812 ( The Dawn’s Early Light (1972)), the two-week siege of the Alamo ( A Time to Stand (1961)) and a follow-up to A Night to Remember entitled The Night Lives On (1987). Beginning with A Night to Remember, Lord’s writing style was characterized by intensive research and exhaustive interviews. Combining historical research with journalistic methods, Lord culled minute details and anecdotes from interviews with participants and ancestors to create a living history or historical narrative of an event. He used these details to compel the reader to feel that they were present not just as a spectator.

In 1994, the Society of American Historians awarded Lord the Francis Parkman Prize in recognition of his lifetime dedication to American history. He died of Parkinson’s disease in his Manhattan apartment on May 19, 2002. Lord never married and left no immediate survivors.

From the guide to the Lord, Walter, archive 2002-242., 1957-1968, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The)

Walter Lord, popular historian and author, was born on October 8, 1917, the only son of John Walterhouse and Henrietta (Hoffman) Lord.

Raised in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, Lord attended the Gilman School and later received a Bachelors degree in history from Princeton University in 1939. During World War II, Lord worked for the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency. He then received his law degree from Yale University. Lord worked as an editor for the Research Institute of America (1947-1950) and as a copywriter for the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency (1953-1956). Lord began publishing books, including A Night to Remember (1955), was prompted by a life-long fascination with the 1912 sinking of the SS Titanic. This book was revolutionary in that it incorporated interviews with Titanic survivors and provided a minute-by-minute account of the events of that fateful night. The success and popularity of A Night to Remember persuaded Lord to quit his job at the advertising agency and become a fulltime writer. Over the next three decades, Lord wrote a dozen more books covering a variety of subjects. Lord's writing style was characterized by intensive research and exhaustive interviews. Combining historical research with journalistic methods, Lord culled minute details and anecdotes from interviews with participants and ancestors to create a living history or historical narrative of an event. He used these details to compel the reader to feel that they were present not just as a spectator. In 1994, the Society of American Historians awarded Lord the Francis Parkman Prize in recognition of his lifetime dedication to American history. He died of Parkinson's disease in his Manhattan apartment on May 19, 2002.

From the description of Lord, Walter, archive, 1957-1968 (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 699494736

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http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6r50qnk
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Subjects:

  • Private schools
  • Historians--Interviews
  • History--Research
  • Texas - history
  • Authors, American--Interviews
  • Alamo (San Antonio, Tex.)--Siege, 1836
  • American history and culture

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Roland Park (Baltimore, Md.) (as recorded)
  • Baltimore (Md.) (as recorded)
  • America (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • Baltimore (Md.) (as recorded)
  • Maryland--Baltimore (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)