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Alfred Friendly (AC 1933) Papers

Identifier: MA.00161

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence, and writings by Friendly: columns written for the Washington Post (or its precursor, the Washington Daily News), or for other publications; manuscripts; and various other endeavors. The majority of the collection is housed in scrapbooks compiled by Friendly himself.


  • Creation: 1911-1983
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1927-1982


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the collection for research use. Particularly fragile originals may be restricted for preservation purposes. This collection is housed in off-site storage and requires advance notice before use. Please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Alfred Friendly Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Friendly, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and longtime managing editor of the Washington Post, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Edward Rosenbaum and Harriet Friendly. Friendly graduated from Amherst College in 1933 with high honors in German. Shortly after graduation, Willard Thorp, one of Friendly's former economics professors, helped him to secure a position at the U. S. Department of Commerce in Washington. Friendly later worked for Thorp in New York City on the reorganization of Associated Gas & Electric. From 1935 to 1936, Friendly and his friend Chalmers M. Roberts traveled around the United States; this experience, which the two men chronicled in an account entitled "The Trek: or, Adventures in Depression America," reportedly had a profound impact on Friendly.

Friendly worked for the Washington Daily News, the precursor to the Washington Post, which he joined as a reporter in 1939. During World War II he served in the Army Air Corps, Military Intelligence Service, earning the rank of Major. After the war he worked for a year in Paris as press chief for W. Averell Harriman. He became managing editor of The Washington Post in 1955 and helped to transform the newspaper into a national publication of great renown during a crucial formative period in its history. Friendly retired as managing editor in 1965 and moved to London to become a roving correspondent for the Post. In this capacity Friendly won a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for coverage of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Friendly retired from journalism in 1971 but continued to write columns on many occasions.

Friendly served as an Amherst College trustee from 1961 to 1967. His diverse personal interests included archaeology, mathematics, naval history and atomic energy. His interest in archaeology prompted him to take a house in Turkey in 1971. Alfred Friendly was the author of several books, including "The Guys on the Ground" (1944); "Crime and Publicity: the Impact of News on the Administration of Justice" (with Ronald L. Goldfarb, 1967); "Israel's Oriental Immigrants and Druzes" (1972); "Beaufort of the Admiralty: the Life of Sir Francis Beaufort, 1774-1857" (1977); and "The Dreadful Day: the Battle of Manzikert, 1071" (1981).

Friendly was married with five children. Suffering from terminal throat and lung cancer near the end of his life, Friendly committed suicide in his Georgetown apartment on November 7, 1983 at the age of 71.


8 Linear feet (5 records storage boxes, 10 flat boxes, 1 half archives box)

Language of Materials



Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and longtime managing editor of the Washington Post. Collection consists of correspondence and writings by Friendly, including columns written for the Washington Post or for other publications, manuscripts, and various other endeavors.


This collection is organized into five series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1970-1983
  2. Series 2: School Days, 1927-1933
  3. Series 3: Writings, 1934-1981
  4. Series 4: Scrapbook Folders, 1939-1983
  5. Series 5: Subject Files, undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession #: 2002-139 The collection was the gift of Mrs. Alfred Friendly in August 2002.

Related Materials

  1. Alumni Biographical Files - 1933 - Friendly, Alfred
  2. Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships: Articles highlighting some of Alfred Friendly's work, including coverage of the Six-Day War and its aftermath.

Processing Information

2002 August-September
Jess Mynes, Library Technical Services Associate
Jess Mynes, Peter A. Nelson
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299