Who Was John Richard Hersey? Everything About American Writer


John Richard Hersey changed the journalism and literature scenario by his novels and journals between  1940-1993. He was an author who used to include real-life stories in his books. As a result, he succeeded in changing people’s thinking.

From working as a waiter, janitor, and many jobs, the late John got to know the real meaning of life. By gaining experience in every field, he published books like Men On Bataan and Into The Valley in 1942 and 1943. Each writing has a story within it.

Further, Hersey penned the world-famous book called Hiroshima in 1946. Through the novel, he had delivered people’s suffering, who got injured and lost the life due to the soul-shivering bombs in the Hiroshima, Japan. Likewise, The Wall, The Marmot Drive, The War Lover, A single Pebble are notable works.

Aren’t you curious to know more about his life? Let’s start going through the article to find out John Richard Hersey’s life in detail.

Quick Facts About John Richard Hersey:

Birth Name John Richard Hersey
Date Of Birth 17th June 1914
Date Of Death 24th March 1993
Profession Author, Journalist, and Professor

Frances Ann Cannon (1940-1953)

Barbara Day Addams Kaufman (1958-1993)

Children Martin, John Richard Jr, Baird Hersey, and Brooke
Net Worth $1 million - $5 million

John Richard Hersey Bio: Age And Early Childhood

John was born on 17th June 1914 in Tientsin, China. His birth name was John Richard Hersey. Being born in June, Hersey’s birth sign was Gemini.

Highlighting John’s childhood, it was not that easy. He was brought up in China until the age of ten. For him, life in China was every day. In other words, the late writer didn’t find it harder to adopt the Chinese culture and lifestyle.

After that, he moved back to the Briarcliff Manor, New York, United States, and his parents. Initially, Hersey adopted the American attitudes late because he spent half of the childhood in China. Even John was comfortable speaking Chinese rather than English. However, the late novelist began enjoying the American culture within no time.

John Richard Hersey field trip

John  Richard Hersey clicked while making a field trip. (Source: BBC)

As John’s family’s financial condition deteriorated, he commenced working multiple jobs, including waiter and janitor, while he was in his adolescents. Hersey didn’t escape from reality and took all the responsibilities on his shoulders at such a young age.

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What Was John Richard Hersey Parents Jobs?

The American writer was born to his father, Grace Baird Hersey, and a mother, Roscoe Hersey. Grace served at Young Men’s Christian Association as a secretary in China. In comparison, John’s mother was a missionary.

While they were in China, John, including his parents, lived a good life. But, Grace’s disease, encephalitis, made their return to the United States. Their return to the native land didn’t suit them, as they had to struggle financially. Luckily, Baird and Roscoe had a John who worked hard to provide a decent life.

John Richard Hersey Education

As John spent his childhood and adolescent days between China and the United States, he has changed many schools. While the late novelist was in China, he attended the British Grammar School.

Later, Richard joined Briarcliff High School in Briarcliff Manor, New York, United States. After studying for only two years, he got enrolled at the  Hotchkiss Preparatory School.

Then, the departed writer went to the Yale University in 1932. And he graduated from Yale in 1936.

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John’s academic qualification doesn’t end there. He even entered the Cambridge University to continue his study on a Mellon Scholarship. At Cambridge, Hersey majored the Eighteenth-Century English Literature.

Who Was John Richard Hersey Married To? Detail On His Wife And Kids

John married two times while he was alive. Initially, he tied the knot with Frances Ann Cannon in 1940. Frances was the daughter of Cotton Good Manufacturers. After living together for almost two decades, they separated legally in 1958.

John Richard Hersey first wifeJohn Richard Hersey with his first wife, Frances Ann Cannon. (Source: Pinterest)

During 1940-1958, Hersey and Frances became parents to their three children, Martin, John Richard Jr, and Baird Hersey. Baird is a renowned musician and a composer.

Later, the late author got hitched with Barbara Day Addams Kaufman. Together, they had one girl child, Brooke. 

John Richard Hersey Life Quotes

The late author was adored by every people, whoever he passed by. He was such an intelligent person who viewed the world by his heart and mind. Like John’s famous novels, his quotes are also used and cited by many people. Some of them are,

  • Learning starts with failure; the first failure is the beginning of education.
  • There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.
  • Journalism allows its readers to witness history; fiction gives its readers an opportuevery daylive it.
  • It's a failure of national vision when you regard children as weaponsday live and talents as materials you can mine, assay, and fabricate for profit and defense.

Even his quotes touch a soul. Indeed, Richard has left a legacy in the field of literature. 

John Richard Hersey Death

After spending 78 years on the earth, John took his last breath on 24th March 1993. He died peacefully at his Massachusetts’s located Martha’s Vineyard.

The day after Hersey’s sudden demise, New York Times took all space on the front page to deliver the condolences. His funeral was held near his residential area.

Unknown Facts About John Richard Hersey:

  • He was fluent in Chinese.
  • John was invited to join the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1953. This made him the youngest writer to achieve such an offer.
  • He had a strong faith in democracy.
  • Hersey was honored with Pulitzer Prize for A Bell for Adano.
  • John even served as the master from 1965-1970 at Pierson College.