Eugene Lyons papers , 1929-1964

Overview of the Collection

Lyons, Eugene, 1898-
Eugene Lyons papers
1929-1964 (inclusive)
3 linear feet, (2 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 117
Eugene Lyons (1898- ) was a newspaperman, foreign correspondent, editor, radio commentator and a political writer. The collection includes manuscripts, publications and letters.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

See the Collective Name Index to the Research Collection of Conservative and Libertarian Studies for a cross-referenced index to names of correspondents in this collection, if any, and 37 related University of Oregon collections, including dates of correspondence. See index instructions on use.

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

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.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists primarily of manuscripts of published works, such as Assignment In Utopia, Our Secret Allies, and biographies of Herbert Hoover and David Sarnoff. The four folders of letters in the collection include those from prominent people, such as Major Semyon Budenni (a hero of the Russian revolution), Cecil B. deMille, Lewis Gannett, Sir Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair, Joseph Stalin, and Harry Truman. Most of the correspondence, however, is of the nature of "fan" letters from readers of Assignment In Utopia. Of special interest is an original typed and corrected copy of an interview of Joseph Stalin by Lyons, dated November 22, 1930 and signed by Stalin.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

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

Personal Names

  • Budennyĭ, S. M. (Semen Mikhaĭlovich), 1883-1973
  • Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
  • Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
  • Sarnoff, David, 1891-1971
  • Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953