Martha Gellhorn

November 8, 1908
Date of Death
February 15, 1998
Place of Death
United States

[Martha Gellhorn] Introduction

Martha Ellis Gellhorn (8 November 1908 – 15 February 1998) was an American novelist, travel writer, and journalist who is considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century. During her 60-year career, Gellhorn reported on numerous major world conflicts, and was the third wife of American novelist Ernest Hemingway from 1940-1945. In 1998, at the age of 89 and almost completely blind, she died by apparent suicide. Her legacy lives on in the form of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, named after her.

[Martha Gellhorn] Later career

In her later life, Gellhorn moved to London in the early 1990s. Her last great work, The Weather in Africa, was published in 1994. Martha Gellhorn passed away in 1998, aged 89.

Martha Gellhorn was an American journalist and novelist best known for her writing on World War II. After the war, she worked for the Atlantic Monthly, covering the Vietnam War and the Arab-Israel conflicts in the 1960s and 70s. Gellhorn was an indefatigable and tireless traveler who documented the world’s restlessness. In her 70s, she still managed to cover the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, going door to door in the slum areas of Panama City to report on civilian casualties resulting from the conflict. Even as her eyesight began to fail, she undertook one last overseas trip to Brazil in 1995 to report on poverty in that country. Throughout her lifetime, she created homes in 19 different places, finally moving to London in the early 1990s. Her writings, which include The Face of War (1959), The Lowest Trees Have Tops (1967), Travels with Myself and Another (1978), The View from the Ground (1988) and The Weather in Africa (1994), are a testament to a life of tireless exploration and resilience. Gellhorn passed away in 1998, aged 89.

[Martha Gellhorn] Early life

Martha Gellhorn was an intrepid journalist, suffragist and activist. Born into a family of academics, she grew up in a supportive environment, attending the "Golden Lane" rally for women's suffrage during her childhood. After high school, she enrolled in Bryn Mawr College, but left before graduating to pursue a career in journalism. Through her travels and writing, Gellhorn became an integral part of the anti-war movement of the 1930s, as well as the fight against poverty. Additionally, she was able to gain involvement in projects usually closed to women in the era, such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Gellhorn's powerful stories and commitment to justice inspired countless other journalists and activists.

Martha Gellhorn was born in 1908 in St. Louis, Missouri, and was raised in a family of academics and activists. Her father and maternal grandfather were Jewish and her maternal grandmother Protestant. At 7-years-old, she participated in the "Golden Lane" rally for women's suffrage at the 1916 Democratic Party National Convention in St. Louis. She later attended Bryn Mawr College but left before graduating and embarked on a career as a journalist, writing for The New Republic, Vogue, and other publications. Gellhorn took an active stance on the issues of the time, including the anti-war movement and poverty. She documented her experiences in a book, What Mad Pursuit, and was hired by Harry Hopkins, who she'd met through her friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Gellhorn worked as a field investigator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and used her research to write short stories and reports on the Great Depression. Her commitment to justice and powerful stories inspired countless other journalists and activists of the time.

More Details

 Educated at

  • Bryn Mawr College
  • John Burroughs School


  • Journalist

 Official Website


 Child of

  • Edna Fischel Gellhorn