Martha Gellhorn

Martha Gellhorn has several synonyms like an American novelist, war correspondent, journalist, travel writer, etc. She started her writing career as a novelist that took off very well. She was hired by Collier’s Weekly as a war correspondent in Europe war in 1937. In 1938 she also reported on Adolf Hitler in Germany. She also wrote several fiction novels and contributed her part to society. She was married to Ernest Hemingway. She was the first female war correspondent. Gellhorn was a passionate writer and dedicated journalist. This is the reason that she chose career over marriage.


Childhood & Early Life

  • Martha was born on 8 November 1908 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother was a protestant and her father was Jewish. Gellhorn had two siblings, one, Alfred who was an oncologist and the younger brother was a law professor at Columbia University.


  • Gellhorn bagged her Graduation from John Burroughs School. She also applied to Bryn Mawr Collegebut left the college the following year without completing the degree. At the age of 7, she was a part of a rally for women’s suffrage under the Democratic Party in 1916. She and another girl were the first in the row to represent future voters.


  • The first article of Gellhorn was published in The New Republic.This was the turning point of her life as she decided to become a correspondent. In Paris, she worked at the United Press


  • While working in the United Press she was fired as she reported for sexual harassment against her by an agency person. This didn’t stop her as she became active in the pacifist moment. She expressed all her experiences in her book called What Mad Pursuit.





  • She was in United State by 1932 and was hired by Harry Hopkins. She also assisted the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in writing her column in Women’s Home Champion. 


  • Martha also was known as the first female war correspondent. She reported some important conflicts. Gellhorn met Ernest Hemingway who appointed her to cover Spanish Civil War. She went to Madrid and reported war for Collier’s Weekly.


  • She reported bombing weather illustrating Franco’s bomber in Republic territory in November 1938. She after that around 1940 returned to write for Collier’s Weeklyabout the Chinese Army’s Retreat from the Japan invasion.


  • In 1939 she covered the Soviet attack on Finland and the air attack by Germans on London. She also covered various aspects of World War II by being a part of Collier’s Weekly.


  • She left United States soon after World War II, as she criticized it being a colonial power. She was there in several countries like Italy, Cuba, Mexico France, etc. She then focused on covering the trails of German war criminal Adolf Eichmann for Atlantic Monthly.


  • There were several fiction novels crafted by her that gained much popularity. One of them was A Stricken Fieldpublished in 1939. The novel was about refugees in Prague. The Honeyed Peace and Two by Two also gained enough popularity amongst the readers.



Awards & Honor-


  • Being a fierce journalist there was a separate category of awards that was introduced called the Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism in 1999. This award is given to the journalist who performs extraordinarily in the field of journalism.


  • She was also one of the few to receive the Blue Plague. This is an American honor given to the journalists who are unmatched in their profession.


Personal Life


  • She was amongst the best writers of all time. She had a very academically versed family background. She had a very fruitful career and a diverse personal life.


  • The first major affair of her was with Bertrand De Jouvenel a French economist. They both couldn’t get married as his wife was not ready for a consensual divorce.


  • She met Ernest Hemingway in 1936 and they both got married in 1940. She was his third wife. But being a career-oriented woman she chose her career over love and they both got divorced.


  • Also being married she had an affair with paratrooper major general James A Gavin. He was the youngest commander during World War II. In between getting a divorce to Hemingway, Martha had an affair with an America Businessman Laurence Rockefeller.


  • Martha also had an adopted child. She adopted him from an orphanage in Sandro, Italy. His name was George Alexander Gellhorn. But she couldn’t look after him for a very long and left him to the relatives.


  • She suffered from ovarian cancer and committed suicide on 15 February 1998 in London.


Cause of Death: Suicide.

Personality: Ambitious

Character Traits: Enthusiastic,

Challenges Faced: Divorce, Sexual Harrasment.

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