The Margaret Sanger Papers


Reed, John (1887-1920)

Journalist and author. Married Louise Bryant (1917). Born in Portland, Oregon, Reed attended Harvard before arriving in New York's Greenwich Village and embarking on a career as a journalist. He joined the staff of American Magazine in 1911, Metropolitan Magazine in 1913, and then served as an editor and board member of The Masses. Politically radical, Reed supported many of the labor actions of the I.W.W.. Reed, who probably met Margaret Sanger in 1911, and soon became a close friend, worked with her during the 1913 silk workers' strike in Paterson, N.J., where he was arrested and jailed. Reed then produced the Paterson Strike Pageant held at Madison Square Garden. Reed had also emerged as a daring and adventurous foreign correspondent and author of The Day in Bohemia (1912) and Insurgent Mexico (1914). A supporter of birth control, Reed attended a fundraising meeting in support of Sanger at the Hotel Brevoort in 1916, and also wrote letters <303425>,<107610>defending her publication of The Woman Rebel. In 1917, when he decided to go to Russia with his companion, Louise Bryant, to report on the October Revolution, Margaret Sanger purchased Reed's Truro, MA home, providing him with a portion of the funds needed to make the trip. When he returned to the United States, Reed, an outspoken opponent of the war, found himself under tight government scrutiny; his passport was confiscated, and he was eventually indicted for sedition. In 1919 he published Ten Days That Shook the World, his influential eyewitness account of the Bolshevik Revolution. He also accepted an invitation from the Communist Labor Party to be a delegate to the International in Moscow 1919. Unable to leave the country legally, Reed managed to sneak out. He went to Moscow, but found he was unable to return to the United States. He died in Moscow at the age of 33.
References: Leslie Fishbein, Rebels in Bohemia: The Radicals of THE MASSES, 1911-1917 (1982); Robert Rosenstone, Romantic Revolutionary: A Biography of John Reed (1975); and Anne Huber Tripp, The I.W.W. and the Paterson Strike of 1913 (1987)