Walter Lippmann '10 died early Saturday morning at the age of 85. Hailed by newspapers yesterday as the dean of 20th-century American journalism, Lippmann also had a long association with Harvard.
Lippmann played a central role in the formation of the Nieman Fellows program, begun in 1937. He advised then-Harvard President James Bryant Conant '14 on the use of money from the bequest of Lucius Nieman, late publisher of The Milwaukee Journal. The money was given to Harvard with the stipulation that it be used for the promotion of better journalism.
Conant asked Lippmann to serve on the first committee to select participants in the fellowship program, which brings practicing journalists to Cambridge for one-year academic sabbaticals.
Lippmann retained an active interest in the program and often came to Cambridge for its seminars, Louis M. Lyons, former curator of the Nieman Fellowships, said yesterday.
While an undergraduate, Lippmann helped found and became president of the Harvard Socialist Club, a large organization in the days of political turmoil prior to the First World War.
He graduated cum laude in three years, but stayed on for a fourth year as an assistant to George Santayana, professor of Philosophy.
In 1910 Lippmann began a journalistic career that spanned the succeeding six decades. Muckraker Lincoln Steffens came to Harvard to find an assistant, asking professors and members of the just-graduated class for "the ablest mind that could express itself in writing." Lippmann was his choice.
Lippmann went on to a career in journalism that saw him attain almost the status of an oracle in the course of publishing over 4000 columns, mostly for a syndicate headed by The New York Herald Tribune.
But at Harvard Lippmann wrote only for The Advocate and other literary magazines. He was cut from the Editorial Board competition of The Crimson, reportedly for failure to keep up with the demands of the comp.