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 Agnes Smedley

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Agnes Smedley

  • Birth 23 Feb 1892 Osgood, Sullivan County, Missouri, USA
  • Death 6 May 1950 Oxford, City of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
  • Burial Beijing, Beijing Municipality, China
  • Memorial ID 2589

Author and writer, daughter of a laborer her father deserted the family in 1903 forcing Agnes to become a domestic to help support the family. At age sixteen she passed the New Mexico teachers exam and began teaching soon after she had to return home to again support her family after her mother passed away. While in college she met Ernest Brundin who would become her husband in 1912. Agnes became involved in politics and in 1926 joined the Socialist Party of America. The following year she divorced her husband and moved to New York. In 1918 she was arrested for starting up a rebellion against the British in India and for the distribution of birth control information. In 1920 Smedley moved to Germany with the Indian revolutionary leader, Virendranath Chattopadhyaya and set up Berlin's first birth-control clinic. Although they never married they lived as husband and wife. She also lived in Russia, and Germany prior to moving to China in 1928. There she began writing for the Manchester Guardian and the China Weekly Review and her autobiographical novel, Daughter of Earth was published in the United States and Germany. She then began a relationship with Richard Sorge in 1930. She also wrote several other books including Chinese Destinies: Sketches of Present-Day China in 1933, China's Red Army Marches in 1934 and China Fights Back in 1938. In 1941 Agnes returned to the United States and went on a nationwide tour to inform people on her experiences in China. In 1943 she published the book, Battle Hymn of China. It was at the time one of the best books on war reporting written about World War II. She was investigated for being a communist and spy which caused her to become very depressed and in 1949 left the United States to live in Oxford, England. Where she died of acute circulatory failure.

Bio by: Helaine M. Larina





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2589
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Agnes Smedley (23 Feb 1892–6 May 1950), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2589, citing Babaoshan Cemetery, Beijing, Beijing Municipality, China ; Maintained by Find A Grave .