Washington Press Club Foundation


Aline Mosby was selected for the Washington Press Club Foundation Oral History Project because she is one of the few women to make her mark as a foreign correspondent, a field traditionally dominated by men.

Mosby spent her entire career in journalism working for United Press International. She began working for the wire service in the United States, first in Seattle and then in Los Angeles. In 1959 she became the first American woman correspondent posted in Moscow. Following her assignment to Moscow, she worked for UPI in Paris (1961-63), New York (1964-65), Moscow again (1965-66), New York again (1967-68), Vienna (1968-70), and Paris again (1970-78). In 1979, she was among the first group of American journalists to re-open China-U.S. reporting. After returning from China, Mosby was again assigned to the Paris bureau. She retired in Paris and was living there at the time of our interviews in 1990.

I first met Mosby when I went to Paris to interview Flora Lewis, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist. Lewis, a good friend of Mosby's, introduced us. I visited her one afternoon in her Paris apartment. She lives on the Left Bank, so close to Notre Dame that she can see it from her apartment window. She shares her place with her cat and the mementos of life lived abroad: Russian icons and Faberge pieces from Moscow, a kitchen stocked with serious French cookware.

From the start, Mosby was very accommodating to the WPCF project. She agreed to stop in Washington for several days on her way to her summer home in Montana to do our audio interviews. She also agreed to stop on the way back to do a video interview. We conducted our audio interviews in the home of Fern Ingersoll, [former] director of the WPCF project, where Mosby stayed for two nights, and at the home of former New York Times reporter and author Nan Robertson, where Mosby stayed a third night. When she returned for the video interview, it was held at the UPI offices in downtown Washington, D.C.

Many of Aline Mosby's former colleagues very graciously talked with me about United Press International in general and Mosby's work in particular. Ronald Cohen, former managing editor at UPI, was very helpful, as were Carolyn Lesh, Mosby's colleague from the UPI Paris bureau, and Roger Tatarian, who, before his retirement in 1972, was editor-in-chief of UPI.

Also very helpful to me were: Down to the Wire: UPI's Fight for Survival (McGraw-Hill, 1989), the book by Ronald Cohern and Gregory Gordon about the history and decline of UPI; The Moscow Correspondents: Reporting on Russia from the Revolution to Glasnost by Whitman Bassow (William Morrow and Company, 1988); and Women of the World: the Great Foreign Correspondents by Julia Edwards (Houghton Mifflin, 1988). I also read Aline Mosby's book about her time in the Soviet Union, The View from Number 13 People's Street (Random House, 1962).

Kathleen Currie
December 1991

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