John Reed (journalist)

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John Silas "Jack" Reed (Portland, Oregon, October 22, 1887 – Moscow, October 17, 1920) was an American journalist, poet, and communist activist, best remembered for his first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution, Ten Days that Shook the World. He was married to writer and feminist Louise Bryant.



Early life and education

John Reed was born on October 22, 1887, in his maternal grandmother's mansion in Portland, Oregon.[1] His mother, Margaret Green Reed, was the daughter of a leading Portland citizen who had made a fortune through three enterprises: as owner of the first gas works in Oregon, owner of the first pig iron smelter on the west coast, and as second owner of the Portland water works.[2] John's father, Charles Jerome Reed, was the representative of an agricultural machinery manufacturer who had come to town from the East. With his ready wit, he quickly won acceptance in Portland’s business community.[3] His parents were married in 1886.

Young "Jack" grew up surrounded by nurses and servants, and his upper-class playmates were carefully selected. His brother, Harry, was two years his junior.[4] A sickly child, Jack and his brother were sent to the recently-established Portland Academy, a private school.[5] Jack was bright enough to pass his courses but could not be bothered to work for top marks, as he found school dry and tedious.[6] In September 1904, Jack was sent to Morristown School in New Jersey to prepare for college as his father, who never attended a university, wanted his sons to go to Harvard.[7] At this prep school, Jack continued his track record of poor classroom performance, although he did make the football team and showed literary promise.[8]

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