Anna Louise Strong Collection-Oak Park Public Library
Journalist and activist Anna Louise Strong received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1908. In the same year as her graduation, several of her works were published in Oak Park. The collection contains clippings, reproductions, and vital information on the author.
Biographical / Historical
Anna Louise Strong was born 24 November 1885. As a teenager and young adult she lived in Oak Park from, where her father, Reverend Sydney Strong, was pastor of Second Congregational Church (now Pilgrim Congregational Church) from 1897-1906. Strong attended Oak Park and River Forest High School, where she wrote numerous stories and poems which were published in the school’s monthly newsletter, The Tabula. After high school, she spent one year at Bryn Mawr and later graduated from Oberlin College in 1904 at the age of 19. At age 22, she was the youngest woman to earn a doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1907. Around that time, she worked for the Oak Leaves and published her first book, a collection of poems.
In 1907, Strong left Oak Park and became involved in labor movements across the country. In 1920 she moved to Russia to do relief work and in 1921 began working as a journalist in Moscow. She would remain in Russia until 1949, when she was deported for publishing a pamphlet that praised the doctrines of Mao Zedong.
Upon returning to America, she was denied a passport and was accused of being a spy. In 1958, after taking her case to the Supreme Court, Strong received her passport. In that same year she moved to China, where she wrote books and published a periodical newspaper called Letters from China, which contained commentaries on the people involved in the Chinese Revolution.
Strong is perhaps more well known outside of her country of birth, but her writings provide an American perspective on foreign affairs. Anna Louise Strong died in China 29 March 1970.
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Part of the Oak Park Public Library Special Collections Repository
834 Lake Street
Oak Park IL 60301 USA