Lord, Walter, 1917-2002

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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

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Lord, Walter, 1917-2002. Lord, Walter, archive, 1957-1968 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn J. Walter Thompson Company. Biographical Information, 1916-1998 (bulk 1960s-1980s) David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library.
referencedIn John Phillips Marquand correspondence, 1892-1960. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Halsman, Philippe. Photographs by Philippe Halsman of Yale-affiliated individuals, 1946-1967 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Lord, Walter, archive 2002-242., 1957-1968 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The
referencedIn Autograph File, L, 1641-1976. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Poster, May 9-11, 1991. Naval War College, Henry E. Eccles Library
referencedIn Biography -- Lord, Walter. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
referencedIn J. Walter Thompson Company. Colin Dawkins Papers, 1776-1986 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Walter Lord Papers
creatorOf Walter Lord Papers. 1962 - 1965. Writings
creatorOf Lord, Walter, 1917-2002,. Oral history interview, 1976. Maryland Historical Society
referencedIn J. Walter Thompson Company. Writings and Speeches, 1912-2000 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf Walter Lord Papers. 1962 - 1965. Research Files
creatorOf Walter Lord Papers. 1962 - 1965. Correspondence
referencedIn J. Walter Thompson Company. Iconographic Collection, 1848-2005 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Theodore Roosevelt Collection: Books, pamphlets, periodicals, 18-- - <ongoing> Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
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.
creatorOf Hiles, Charles C. Papers, 1871-1975 (bulk 1929-1979). University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Beehler, Randy. person
associatedWith Bowie, James, 1805-1836 person
associatedWith Bowie, Lucy Leigh, 1872-1966 person
correspondedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Daughters of the Republic of Texas corporateBody
associatedWith Daughters of the Republic of Texas.Library corporateBody
associatedWith Gilman School (Baltimore, Md.) corporateBody
associatedWith Halsman, Philippe. person
associatedWith Hiles, Charles C. person
associatedWith J. Walter Thompson Company. corporateBody
correspondedWith Marquand, John P. (John Phillips), 1893-1960 person
associatedWith Maverick, Maury, 1921-2003 person
associatedWith Mitgang, Herbert person
associatedWith Ramsdell, Charles W. (Charles William), 1877-1942 person
associatedWith Shelton, Bertie person
associatedWith Shelton, Bertie person
associatedWith Yale Law School. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (N.Y.)
United States
Roland Park (Baltimore, Md.)
Baltimore (Md.)
America
Texas
Baltimore (Md.)
Maryland--Baltimore
New York (N.Y.)
Subject
Private schools
Historians--Interviews
History--Research
Texas - history
Authors, American--Interviews
Alamo (San Antonio, Tex.)--Siege, 1836
American history and culture
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1917-10-08

Death 2002-05-19

Americans

English

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