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American Women: Resources from the Manuscript Collections

Foreign Correspondents

Passport for Janet Flanner. 1921. Box 18, Papers of Janet Flanner and Solita Solano. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.39

In addition to the papers of May Craig, who was a foreign war correspondent as well as a White House reporter, the division's journalism holdings include several other collections of women who wrote about foreign affairs.

Dubbed “the first lady of the black press” for her pioneering coverage of civil rights, the Vietnam War, and international affairs for the Chicago Daily Defender and the Afro-American newspapers, Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991) was also the first black woman commentator on network television. A few months after Payne's death in 1991, the Manuscript Division acquired a collection (15,500 items; 1857-1991; bulk 1973-91) documenting her journalism career and her involvement in the civil rights movement and protests against South African apartheid.

Janet Flanner (1892-1978), who wrote under the pseudonym Genêt, and her longtime companion Solita Solano (1888-1975) were among the American journalists, writers, and literary editors who settled in Paris, France, in the twenties. They covered international affairs for The New Yorker and other American publishers. Their papers, known as the Flanner-Solano collection (3,000 items; 1870-1976; bulk 1955-75), provide a window into the literary and intellectual life of Paris and New York during the first half of the twentieth century. They counted among their friends and acquaintances prominent women such as Berenice Abbott, Margaret Anderson, Djuna Barnes, Kay Boyle, Nancy Cunard, Anita Loos, Carson McCullers, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas. Additional papers, relating primarily to the last decade of Flanner's career and her lesbian relationship with editor Natalia Danesi Murray (1901-1994), may be found in a separate Flanner-Murray collection (4,500 items; 1940-84), which includes the selections Murray published in Darlinghissima: Letters to a Friend (1985).

Boston Globe and New York Times Herald journalist Dorothy Godfrey Wayman (1893-1975), who lived in Japan for many years, donated a collection (6,000 items; 1862-1971) documenting her newspaper career, her research on Edward Sylvester Morse and others, and her interests in Catholicism and religious matters in Asia.

Manuscript Resources Referenced

The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.


  1. With this passport in hand in 1921, Janet Flanner (1892-1978) left her Greenwich Village literary life behind and embarked on what was to become a fifty-year career as one of the country's most influential foreign correspondents. Recently divorced and traveling with writer Solita Solano (1881-1975), with whom she would maintain a longtime intimate relationship, Flanner visited mainland Greece, the British Isles, and Italy before settling in France, where in 1925 she became the Paris correspondent for Harold Wallace Ross's recently launched magazine The New Yorker. Through her witty and informative “Letter from Paris” columns, written under the pseudonym Genêt, Flanner kept her American audience informed of the latest cultural and political happenings in France and throughout Europe. Back to text