The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 9, 2013

Marquis Childs, Journalist

Clinton has had so many exceptional people; we should start a Clinton Hall of Fame. Readers could probably think of a dozen nominations very quickly. One such person would be world-renowned journalist Marquis Childs, who was born in Lyons. Young Marquis went out into the world in the 1920’s, lived a wonderful life and wrote extensively about Clinton.

It all started in the north end of Clinton in 1903. Son of a prominent Clinton lawyer who dearly wanted him to become a doctor, Marquis attended the State University of Iowa. He was well on his way to medical school, when he suddenly rebelled and transferred to the University of Wisconsin, taking a degree in journalism. Later, he returned to S.U.I., received his master’s degree, and also taught there.

First, however, young Marquis Childs went to work for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and earned his stripes as a correspondent and columnist. He spent a year in Sweden doing research about their government and, in 1936, published Sweden: The Middle Way. A sequel, Sweden: The Middle Way on Trial, was published in 1980. He was a war correspondent and interviewed presidents and international notables, writing one of his books, Witness to Power, about those experiences.

Childs later moved to the Washington Post and wrote a column called, “Washington Calling” that was syndicated in 140 newspapers! The pinnacle of his career was getting a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1969, the first such award given.

Marquis Childs spoke in Clinton on March 25, 1976 for the Bi-centennial. A 1918 graduate of Lyons High School, he remained impressed by the education he received there. His family lived at 1728 Pershing and his cousin, Superintendent of Schools’ Secretary Sarah Marquis, remembered him as a charming and handsome man who could entertain ANYone! Childs said he remembered Clinton developing from “three cars and a few paved streets.”

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