Matthews, Herbert Lionel, 1900-

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American journalist and author.

From the description of Herbert L. Matthews Collection, 1929-1949. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122640587

From the description of Herbert Lionel Matthews papers, 1961-1964. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754867344

Herbert Matthews worked as a journalist for the New York Times for 45 years. Starting as a secretary in the business office, Matthews rose to hold a position on the Times' editorial board from 1949-1967. As a correspondent, he is most noted for his reporting from Spain during the Spanish Civil War and, much later, his editorials on Latin America. His 1957 interview with Fidel Castro was a journalistic coup, and Matthews' articles about Castro did much to shape American opinion about him.

Born in New York City on 10 January 1900, Matthews was raised and educated in that city until the age of 18. Matthews enlisted in the army to fight in the First World War, but arrived in France after hostilities had ceased. Returning to the United States at the conclusion of his tour of duty, Matthews entered Columbia University where he studied Romance languages and medieval history. Matthews intended to pursue a career in book publishing upon graduation in 1922. To that end, he responded to an advertisement for a publisher's secretary, only to find that the publisher was the New York Times.

Matthews worked in the business office of the Times for three years, and at the same time pursued a graduate degree in Romance languages at Columbia. In 1925, Matthews was awarded a Bayard Cutting Taylor Fellowship for one year's study in Europe. On leave from the Times, Matthews spent eight months of his fellowship year in Italy studying Dante at the University of Rome and the remaining four months in Paris attending lectures at the Sorbonne.

Matthews returned to New York and the Times in 1926, and was assigned to the news department as secretary to the acting managing editor, Frederick T. Birchall. From that post, Matthews went on to hold other positions in the news department: reporter with the city desk, rewrite man and ultimately night copy editor--first at the city desk and later at the cable desk. As a copy editor, Matthews worked side by side with the same individuals who would later edit his copy from Spain: Raymond McCaw, Clarence Howell, and Neil McNeil, among others.

Matthews cut his teeth as a war correspondent from 1935-36 while covering the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) war. The Times sent Matthews to cover the Italian side of the hostilities owing to his fluency in the language and his knowledge of Italian culture. The fact that Matthews' reportage often conflicted with that of the British and Ethiopian press led him to be labeled a Fascist.

By September of 1936, Matthews had requested a position as correspondent from Spain where hostilities had already begun. Matthews' reporting from the Loyalist side of the conflict put him in opposition to Franco's Nationalists, who were militarily supported by the Italians. The irony of such a reversal was not lost on Matthews, his editors, or his readers. Matthews was friend and colleague to Ernest Hemingway during the war, and the latter author occasionally sent dispatches to the Times.

Matthews served as Rome correspondent from 1939 to 1945, with a brief interlude in India from July 1942 to July 1943. At the conclusion of World War II, Matthews headed the London bureau of the Times until he joined the Editorial Board in 1949. Matthews penned virtually all of the Times editorials on Latin America from 1949 until his retirement in 1967. Matthews died in Adelaide, Australia, on 30 July 1977.

Matthews' publications include Eyewitness in Abyssinia (Secker, 1937), Two Wars and More to Come (Carrick, 1938), The Fruits of Fascism (Harcourt, 1943), and Fidel Castro (Simon & Schuster, 1969). For additional information on Matthews, the reader should consult Matthews' own Education of a Correspondent (Harcourt, 1946), and A World in Revolution: A Newspaperman's Memoir (Scribner, 1972).

From the guide to the Herbert L. Matthews Collection TXRC99-A6., 1929-1949, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center University of Texas at Austin)

New York City native Herbert Lionel Matthews (1900-1977), sickly as a child and scholarly as a youth, seems an unlikely candidate for a war correspondent, but he spent his entire career covering some of the most troubled regions in the world, and some of the most dangerous events of his time, while reporting for the New York Times.

Matthews served a brief stint with the United States Army Tank Corps in Europe during World War I. Following his military service, Matthews studied languages and history at Columbia University from which he graduated in 1922. In 1931 Matthews married Edith "Nancie" Crosse, a British citizen, with whom he had two children, Eric and Priscilla.

During the first decades of Matthews' forty-five year career with the New York Times he reported on the Abyssinian War, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II, following these conflicts to North Africa, Spain, Italy and India. After the war, Matthews was chief of the Times' London bureau from 1945 until 1949. Upon returning to New York in 1949, Matthews joined the Times' editorial staff where he remained until his retirement in 1967. Matthews retained his by-line while editor, which allowed him to cover events in Central and South America during the 1950s and 1960s.

When Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, claimed in 1956 that Fidel Casto had been killed by government troops, it was Matthews who broke the story that Fidel Castro was still alive and consolidating his revolutionary efforts in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Matthew's interview with Castro, published in, the New York Times on February 24, 1957 helped, in part, to undermine the Batista regime and revive the struggle of Castro, making him appear as the best hope for democracy and social justice in Cuba: "[Castro] has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the constitution, to hold elections." Matthews subsequently received much criticism for his coverage--which many deemed partisan--of Castro. William F. Buckley, for one, lampooned Matthews and the New York Times by stating that 'Castro got his job through the New York Times'.

Matthews made several trips to Cuba before his final visit in 1972, and spent the last years of his life defending his reporting of the events in Cuba leading up to and following the Cuban Revolution. On Saturday, February 17, 1997, the Cuban government unveiled a marble plaque commemorating the 40th anniversary of the meeting between Castro and Matthews. The plaque was placed on the spot where Matthews met with Castro at his hideout in the Sierra Maestra mountains of south-eastern Cuba.

Anthony DePalma's The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times, which was published in 2006 by Public Affairs, illuminates both Matthews the reporter and the controversy surrounding Matthew's coverage of Castro.

From the description of Herbert Lionel Matthews papers, 1909-2002 [Bulk Dates: 1937-1976]. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 458424487

Biographical/Historical Note

American journalist and author.

From the guide to the Herbert Lionel Matthews papers, 1961-1964, (Hoover Institution Archives)

BIOGHIST REQUIRED New York City native Herbert Lionel Matthews (1900-1977), sickly as a child and scholarly as a youth, seems an unlikely candidate for a war correspondent, but he spent his entire career covering some of the most troubled regions in the world, and some of the most dangerous events of his time, while reporting for the New York Times.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Matthews served a brief stint with the United States Army Tank Corps in Europe during World War I. Following his military service, Matthews studied languages and history at Columbia University from which he graduated in 1922. In 1931 Matthews married Edith "Nancie" Crosse, a British citizen, with whom he had two children, Eric and Priscilla.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED During the first decades of Matthews' forty-five year career with the New York Times he reported on the Abyssinian War, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II, following these conflicts to North Africa, Spain, Italy and India. After the war, Matthews was chief of the Times' London bureau from 1945 until 1949. Upon returning to New York in 1949, Matthews joined the Times' editorial staff where he remained until his retirement in 1967. Matthews retained his by-line while editor, which allowed him to cover events in Central and South America during the 1950s and 1960s

BIOGHIST REQUIRED When Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, claimed in 1956 that Fidel Casto had been killed by government troops, it was Matthews who broke the story that Fidel Castro was still alive and consolidating his revolutionary efforts in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Matthew's interview with Castro, published in, the New York Times on February 24, 1957 helped, in part, to undermine the Batista regime and revive the struggle of Castro, making him appear as the best hope for democracy and social justice in Cuba: "[Castro] has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the constitution, to hold elections." Matthews subsequently received much criticism for his coverage--which many deemed partisan--of Castro. William F. Buckley, for one, lampooned Matthews and the New York Times by stating that 'Castro got his job through the New York Times'.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Matthews made several trips to Cuba before his final visit in 1972, and spent the last years of his life defending his reporting of the events in Cuba leading up to and following the Cuban Revolution. On Saturday, February 17, 1997, the Cuban government unveiled a marble plaque commemorating the 40th anniversary of the meeting between Castro and Matthews. The plaque was placed on the spot where Matthews met with Castro at his hideout in the Sierra Maestra mountains of south-eastern Cuba.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Anthony DePalma's The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times, which was published in 2006 by Public Affairs, illuminates both Matthews the reporter and the controversy surrounding Matthew's coverage of Castro.

From the guide to the Herbert Lionel Matthews Papers, 1909-2002, [Bulk Dates: 1937-1976]., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library, )

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Ernest Hemingway Papers. 1899 - 1977. Incoming Letters
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Lippmann, Walter, 1889-1974. Typewritten letter signed, dated : Washington, D.C., 23 September 1960, to Joan Peyser, 1960 Sept. 23. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Harvard Law School Forums Records Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Victoria Ocampo papers, 1908-1979. Houghton Library
referencedIn Guide to the Fredericka Martin Papers, 1926-2019 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Herbert Lionel Matthews Papers, 1909-2002, [Bulk Dates: 1937-1976]. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Leach, Walter Barton. W. Barton Leach Papers. 1920-1971. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
creatorOf Herbert Lionel Matthews papers, 1961-1964 Hoover Institution Archives
referencedIn Martin, Fredericka I. Papers, 1926-1990 (bulk 1968-1984). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Nelson, Godfrey Nicholas, 1878-1954. Papers, [ca. 1920]-1954. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904-1985. Papers, 1929-1991. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn DePalma, Anthony. Anthony DePalma papers, 1957-2006. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
creatorOf Bard, Phil. [Request for donation form letter dated July 9, 1937, with supporting facsimile material] University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Matthews, Herbert Lionel, 1900-. Herbert Lionel Matthews papers, 1909-2002 [Bulk Dates: 1937-1976]. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Sulzberger, Arthur Hays, 1891-1968. Papers, 1935-1968. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Herbert L. Matthews Collection TXRC99-A6., 1929-1949 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Anthony DePalma papers, 1957-2006 Hoover Institution Archives
creatorOf Matthews, Herbert Lionel 1900-1977. Herbert L. Matthews Collection, 1929-1949. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Herbert Mitgang collection of papers, 1950-1986 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Paul Blanshard Papers, 1912-1979 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Matthews, Herbert Lionel, 1900-. Herbert Lionel Matthews papers, 1961-1964. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Cox, Francis A. Papers, 1954-1973. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971. person
associatedWith Baker, Carlos, 1909-1987. person
associatedWith Bard, Phil. person
associatedWith Batista y Zaldívar, Fulgencio, 1901-1973. person
associatedWith Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904-1985. person
associatedWith Betancourt, Rómulo, 1908-1981. person
associatedWith Blanshard, Paul, 1892- person
associatedWith Bowers, Claude Gernade, 1879-1958. person
associatedWith Castro, Fidel, 1926- person
associatedWith Cox, Francis A. person
associatedWith Croce, Benedetto, 1866-1952. person
associatedWith DePalma, Anthony. person
associatedWith DePalma, Anthony. person
associatedWith Duvalier, François, 1907-1971. person
associatedWith Eaton, Cyrus Stephen, 1883-1979. person
associatedWith Frankel, Max, 1914- person
associatedWith Guevara, Ernesto, 1928-1967. person
correspondedWith Harvard Law School Forum corporateBody
associatedWith Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961 person
associatedWith James, Edwin L. person
associatedWith James, Edwin L. person
associatedWith Kubitschek, Juscelino, 1902-1976. person
associatedWith Leach, W. Barton (Walter Barton), 1900- person
associatedWith Lippmann, Walter, 1889-1974. person
associatedWith MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982. person
associatedWith Martin, Fredericka I. person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith Mitgang, Herbert person
associatedWith Muñoz Marín, Luis, 1898-1980. person
associatedWith Nelson, Godfrey Nicholas, 1878-1954. person
associatedWith New York Times corporateBody
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Ocampo, Victoria, 1891- person
associatedWith Quintanilla, Luis, 1900-1980. person
associatedWith Reston, James, 1909-1995. person
associatedWith Sulzberger, Arthur Hays, 1891-1968 person
associatedWith Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cuba History 1959-
Cuba
Spain
Cuba Foreign relations United States.
Spain
India
Cuba
United States Foreign relations Cuba.
Spain
United States
Cuba
India
Italy
Subject
World War, 1939-1945--Italy
World War, 1939-1945
Reporters and reporting
Radio scripts
Spain--History--Civil War, 1936-1939--Journalists
Occupation
Authors
Politicians
Statesmen
Heads of state
Foreign correspondents
Journalists
Revolutionaries
Activity

Person

Birth 1900-01-10

Death 1977-07-30

Americans

Spanish; Castilian,

English

Information

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