Leland Stowe

Leland Stowe, Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign and war correspondent and professor emeritus of journalism, died here Jan. 16. He was 94.

A journalist, radio commentator and author, Stowe gained international acclaim for his vivid accounts, exclusive stories and “scoop” reporting of World War II.

“Leland Stowe was one of the most honored American journalists of his time,” said Graham Hovey, professor emeritus of communication. “He achieved the pinnacle of his profession and became something of a household word as a World War II correspondent.”

Reporting for the Chicago Daily News, and later ABC, he covered the Russian invasion of Finland; revealed the collaboration of Norwegian Vidkun Quisling in helping the Nazis seize Oslo without a shot; recounted the British debacle at Trondheim, Norway, which helped to weaken the government of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain; witnessed other German conquests in the Balkans; uncovered the scheme of Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek to use U.S. military supplies against Chinese Communists rather than the Japanese; reported how the Greeks drove Mussolini’s troops back into Albania, only to fall to Germany; and covered the Russian army from combat zones not accessible to journalists.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Stowe’s honors included the Sigma Delta Chi medallion and award for Norway reporting in 1940; the University of Missouri Medal for outstanding foreign correspondence in 1941; France’s Legion of Honor; the Military Cross of Greece; honorary M.A.from Harvard University; honorary M.A. and LL.D. and the James L. McConaughty Award from Wesleyan University; and LL.D. from Hobart College.

Stowe, who graduated from Wesleyan University in 1921, began his career with the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and, in 1922, joined the New York Herald Tribune. Four years later, he became a foreign correspondent and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1930 for his coverage of the Paris Reparations Conference.

After World War II, Stowe was foreign editor of Reporter magazine and director of Radio Free Europe’s News and Information Service.

He began his career at the U-M as a visiting professor in 1955, and a year later, became a full professor. He retired in 1970. During his tenure at the University, Stowe taught one term each academic year, spending the rest of the time as a roving editor and staff writer for the Reader’s Digest.

“It was a system that worked very well,” said William E. Porter, professor emeritus and former chair of communication. “When Lee was on campus, he did nothing but teach—no outside writing at all during the term. He gave teaching his best effort, made a solid contribution, and was popular with his students.”

Stowe wrote eight books, including Nazi Germany Means War in 1933, the first book to document the systematic militarization of Germany under the Nazis. His other works include No Other Road to Freedom, They Shall Not Sleep, While Time Remains, Target: You, Conquest by Terror, Crusoe of Lonesome Lake, and The Last Great Frontiersman.

He donated more than 300 books by war and foreign correspondents to the Department of Communication and endowed the Leland Stowe Journalism Award, given each year to a student for the best critical essay based on at least three books in the collection.

Stowe was born Nov. 10, 1899, in Southbury, Conn. He is survived by wife Theodora (Dollika) of Ann Arbor; son Bruce Stowe of New Haven, Conn.; two grandchildren, Eric of New Haven and Mark of Gainesville, Fla.; and two sisters, Fern Stowe of Sandy Spring, Md., and the Rev. Elsie Stowe of Shelton, Conn.

Cremation has taken place. Contributions in his memory may be made to United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.


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