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 Douglas Southall Freeman

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Douglas Southall Freeman Famous memorial

Birth
Lynchburg, Lynchburg City, Virginia, USA
Death
13 Jun 1953 (aged 67)
Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Burial
Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID
6023427 View Source

Author, Historian, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Newspaper Editor. He is best known for his multi-volume biographies of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and US President George Washington, for which he was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes. His father was an insurance agent who had served four years in Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War and from childhood, he exhibited an interest in Southern history. In 1892 his family moved to Richmond, Virginia where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Richmond College in 1904. In 1908 he earned a Doctor of Philosophy in History at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Unable to secure a position in academia, he joined the newspaper staff of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1909 and six years later, he became editor of The Richmond News Leader, a position he held for 34 years. In 1911 he came into possession of a cache of long-lost wartime communications between Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He spent four years working on the documents and in 1915 he published his book "Lee's Dispatches to Jefferson Davis". The book was received enthusiastically by American Civil War historians and became an important primary source for Civil War scholars. Following its success, he was approached by New York publisher Charles Scribner's Sons and invited to write a biography of Robert E. Lee. He accepted but chose to retain his position at The Richmond News Leader and work longer days to work on the biography. His research of Lee was exhaustive, evaluating and cataloging every item about Lee, and reviewed records at West Point, the War Department, and material in private collections. In narrating Lee's Civil War years, he used what came to be known as the "fog of war" technique-providing readers only the limited information that Lee himself had at a given moment, which helped to convey the confusion of war that Lee experienced, as well as the processes by which Lee grappled with problems and made decisions. "R. E. Lee: A Biography" was published in four volumes in 1934 and 1935 and he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1935 for its work. After completing his exhaustive studies of Lee, his generals, and the Confederate war effort, he began working on a biography of Continental Army General and US President George Washington. Applying the same approach that he undertook with writing Lee's biography, he completed the first two volumes, titled "Young Washington," in 1948. The following year, he retired from journalism in order to complete his monumental work on Washington. His works "George Washington Volume 3: Planter and Patriot" and "George Washington Volume 4: Leader of the Revolution" were published in 1951 and the following year, he published "George Washington Volume 5: Victory with the help of France." He completed work on "George Washington Volume 6: Patriot and President" just before he died, and it was published after his death in 1954. In 1958 he was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his 6-volume "George Washington: A Biography" set. The concluding book, "George Washington Volume 7: First in Peace" (1957) was written by his associates John Alexander Carroll and Mary Wells Ashworth, based on Freeman's original research. In addition to his 40-year career in journalism, he became one of the first radio analysts in 1925 and his twice-daily radio broadcasts helped make him one of the most influential men in Virginia. From 1934 to 1941, he commuted weekly by air to New York City, New York to teach journalism at Columbia University. He also taught as a lecturer at the US Army War College for seven years and served as Rector of the University of Richmond.

Author, Historian, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Newspaper Editor. He is best known for his multi-volume biographies of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and US President George Washington, for which he was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes. His father was an insurance agent who had served four years in Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War and from childhood, he exhibited an interest in Southern history. In 1892 his family moved to Richmond, Virginia where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Richmond College in 1904. In 1908 he earned a Doctor of Philosophy in History at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Unable to secure a position in academia, he joined the newspaper staff of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1909 and six years later, he became editor of The Richmond News Leader, a position he held for 34 years. In 1911 he came into possession of a cache of long-lost wartime communications between Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He spent four years working on the documents and in 1915 he published his book "Lee's Dispatches to Jefferson Davis". The book was received enthusiastically by American Civil War historians and became an important primary source for Civil War scholars. Following its success, he was approached by New York publisher Charles Scribner's Sons and invited to write a biography of Robert E. Lee. He accepted but chose to retain his position at The Richmond News Leader and work longer days to work on the biography. His research of Lee was exhaustive, evaluating and cataloging every item about Lee, and reviewed records at West Point, the War Department, and material in private collections. In narrating Lee's Civil War years, he used what came to be known as the "fog of war" technique-providing readers only the limited information that Lee himself had at a given moment, which helped to convey the confusion of war that Lee experienced, as well as the processes by which Lee grappled with problems and made decisions. "R. E. Lee: A Biography" was published in four volumes in 1934 and 1935 and he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1935 for its work. After completing his exhaustive studies of Lee, his generals, and the Confederate war effort, he began working on a biography of Continental Army General and US President George Washington. Applying the same approach that he undertook with writing Lee's biography, he completed the first two volumes, titled "Young Washington," in 1948. The following year, he retired from journalism in order to complete his monumental work on Washington. His works "George Washington Volume 3: Planter and Patriot" and "George Washington Volume 4: Leader of the Revolution" were published in 1951 and the following year, he published "George Washington Volume 5: Victory with the help of France." He completed work on "George Washington Volume 6: Patriot and President" just before he died, and it was published after his death in 1954. In 1958 he was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his 6-volume "George Washington: A Biography" set. The concluding book, "George Washington Volume 7: First in Peace" (1957) was written by his associates John Alexander Carroll and Mary Wells Ashworth, based on Freeman's original research. In addition to his 40-year career in journalism, he became one of the first radio analysts in 1925 and his twice-daily radio broadcasts helped make him one of the most influential men in Virginia. From 1934 to 1941, he commuted weekly by air to New York City, New York to teach journalism at Columbia University. He also taught as a lecturer at the US Army War College for seven years and served as Rector of the University of Richmond.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 11 Dec 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 6023427
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6023427/douglas-southall-freeman: accessed ), memorial page for Douglas Southall Freeman (16 May 1886–13 Jun 1953), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6023427, citing Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave .