• IdentificationMidwest MS Wright
  • TitleInventory of the Paul Randall Wright Papers, 1899-1965 Midwest.MS.Wright
  • PublisherThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • RepositoryThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • Physical Description3.4 linear feet (5 boxes and 1 oversize box)
  • Date1899-1965
  • Location1 37 7
  • AbstractWritings and correspondence of Chicago journalist and foreign correspondent Paul Randall Wright, particularly newspaper stories reported from Siberia in 1918-1919, and Manchuria, China, Japan, and the Philippines from 1926-1930. The collection also includes diaries and a number of photographs relating to the periods in which Wright was stationed abroad.
  • OriginationWright, Paul Randall, 1876-1965

Gift of Priscilla Wright Hausmann and Joan Wright McIntosh, 1994.

The Paul Randall Wright Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

The Paul Randall Wright Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Paul Randall Wright Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Brian Silbernagel, 2003.

Paul Randall Wright was a Chicago journalist who served as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Daily News. From 1918-1919, Wright was attached as a staff correspondent to the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia and the Russian Far East. Later, Wright was stationed in Manchuria, Shanghai, Japan, the Philippines, and various other parts of Asia from 1926-1928 and again from 1929-1930. Wright married Heloise Gai Esterly in 1901, and the two had one son, Randall. Wright died in 1965 at the age of 88.

Wright was born in Monroe, Wisconsin, in 1876. He spent most of his childhood in Monroe and nearby Janesville, but his family later moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where Wright began college at Butler University . After Wright's father was severely injured in a railway accident the family moved back to Wisconsin and Wright followed, leaving Butler University to attend the University of Wisconsin, from which he graduated in 1900.

After college, Wright began his journalism career with a position at the Chicago Times-Herald. Four years later, in 1904, he left the Times-Herald's successor, the Chicago Record-Herald, and moved to the Chicago Daily News, where he served as an assistant editor, foreign correspondent, and eventually page editor before retiring because of poor health in 1932. Wright's first overseas assignment began in the fall of 1918, when he left Chicago for Siberia via Japan. Wright traveled with the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, which, along with British and French troops, occupied portions of Siberia in order to protect Allied interests during the Russian Civil War. While on this assignment Wright also filed a few reports from Manchuria and Japan before returning to Chicago in October, 1919.

Wright's next trip abroad took place in 1926. He and his wife traveled to Asia in the spring, and Wright was variously stationed in Manchuria, Japan, China, India, Korea, and the Philippines until he started back for Chicago in June, 1928. During this period he covered the Northern Expedition of Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Kuomintang party against the warlord-backed Beijing government, as well as the subsequent fighting between Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists and the Communists.

In 1929, Wright began his final foreign assignment by embarking with a group of other American newspaper reporters on a goodwill tour of Japan, Korea, and Manchuria sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. When the trip concluded that summer, he remained in Manchuria to cover fighting between Russian Communists and Chinese Nationalists in Manchuria. Wright then spent the winter in the Manchurian cities of Harbin, Mukden (now Shenyang) and Dairen (now Dalian), Manchuria, where he was joined by his wife in March, 1930. The two then traveled together eastward across Manchuria, Siberia, and Russia to Western Europe. After spending a few days in Berlin and London they returned to Chicago in August, 1930.

Unfortunately, however, Wright had contracted tuberculosis during his travels, and he decided to leave the Daily News in 1931. After spending some time in New Mexico and Arizona, Wright and his wife settled in La Jolla, California in March, 1932. Wright remained in the San Diego area until his death in 1965.

In addition to journalism and foreign travel, Wright's interests were diverse. He authored several poems and essays, and also wrote an unpublished monograph on Chicago geology. Wright was an Army Reserve Captain in Military Intelligence in the early 1920s, and in 1924 he wrote a booklet on developments under the National Defense Act of 1920. At some point, Wright developed an interest in microphotography and assisted the U.S. war effort during World War II by sharing his research with, and performing experiments for, the Office of Strategic Services.

The collection primarily consists of the writings and correspondence of Chicago journalist Paul Randall Wright (1876-1965). The bulk of the writings are newspaper articles and diaries that Wright wrote while serving as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Daily News during the years 1918-1919, 1926-1928, and 1929-1930. In addition to these writings, the collection also includes significant amounts of correspondence and photographs relating to the periods in which Wright was stationed abroad. Finally, there are also some other writings by Wright, such as poetry and essays, and various other documents that he kept pertaining to his life and interests. A few items were separated due to size and are housed in the oversized box at the end of the collection. See box and folder list for details.

Papers are organized in the following series:

Title Box Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1894-1965 Box 1 Series 2: Writings, 1899-1964, bulk 1918-1930 Boxes 1-3 Series 3: Correspondence, 1899-1960, bulk 1918-1933 Box 4 Series 4: Photographs/Prints, 1919-1932 Boxes 4-5 Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1910-1957 Box 5

  • Names
    • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
    • Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975 -- Portraits
    • Chicago Daily News, Inc. -- Employees - Photographs.
    • Chicago Daily News, Inc.
    • Dennis, Charles Henry, 1860-1943 -- Correspondence
    • O'Flaherty, Hal, 1890- -- Correspondence
    • Paul Randall Wright, 1876-1965
    • Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967 -- Portraits
    • United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces.
    • Wright, Heloise Gai
    • Wright, Paul Randall, 1876-1965 -- Portraits
  • Subject
    • Chicago
    • Journalism
    • Manuscripts, American
    • Politics
    • Reporters and reporting -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Geographic Coverage
    • China -- History -- Northern Expedition, 1926-1928
    • Manchuria (China) -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
    • Siberia (Russia) -- History -- Revolution, 1917-1921