Barnes, Russell Curtis, 1897-

Hide Profile

Russell Curtis Barnes was born in Huntington, Indiana on August 31, 1897, the son of James F. and Lucy A. (Stewart) Barnes. There he attended high school and worked for the Huntington Press before entering the University of Michigan. During his years at the University, Barnes was active in a variety of student activities including working for the Michigan Daily, the Gargoyle, and the Wolverine and writing the book and lyrics for two Michigan Union Opera productions. In addition, he acted as campus correspondent for the Detroit News . In 1920 he received his A.B. degree in economics.

Immediately after graduation Barnes began full-time work at the Detroit News . During the years 1920-1925 he reported from the Detroit, Lansing and Washington news bureaus. In 1925 he was assigned to Paris as foreign correspondent. While there he met Constance Ingalls and they were married in 1927.

Barnes returned to the U.S. in 1931, again assigned to cover stories in Detroit, Lansing and Washington. During this time he also became a radio commentator on Detroit News Station WWJ. In 1937 he organized the Detroit Committee on Foreign Relations and became its first secretary.

Barnes was made London correspondent in 1941 and reported on the effects of the war there for the Detroit News, WWJ, and for the North American Newspaper Alliance. However, he was recalled for assignments in the U.S. before the end of the year.

In 1942 Barnes received a leave of absence from the Detroit News to join the Office of War Information in New York. Here he compiled war news stories and made overseas broadcasts for the Voice Of America. By February of 1943 he was appointed Special Assistant to the American Minister to Egypt and General Representative of the Overseas Operations Branch of the OWI. In this capacity Barnes acted as one of the two press officers allowed to attend the Cairo and Teheran conferences of Allied leaders. In 1944 he became chief of the OWI, Mediterranean Theater and director of the Psychological Warfare Bureau, Allied Forces Headquarters. He commanded over 4,000 men in the preparation and dissemination of propaganda in preparation for the Allied invasion in August 1944. In addition, he was responsible for the overall distribution of news in print and on radio in Italy, North Africa and the Middle East. After his resignation from the post in 1945 he received the War Department's Exceptional Civilian Service Emblem.

Rejoining the Detroit News as foreign correspondent, Barnes sent back stories from numerous foreign countries and covered the Paris Peace Conference and other meetings of national leaders before returning to New York as United Nations correspondent. In 1953 he returned to Detroit to become the newspaper's foreign news analyst until his retirement in 1970. During that time and since his retirement Barnes has been active as a lecturer on politics and foreign affairs at Oakland Community College and for a variety of community organizations.

From the guide to the Russell Curtis Barnes papers, 1920-1978, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Russell Curtis Barnes papers, 1920-1978 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Algiers (Algeria)
Huntington (Ind.)
Detroit news


Birth 1897

Related Descriptions


Ark ID: w63p6x6s

SNAC ID: 73608248