Reporting for Duty: Robert Boyd Brings Decency to Four Decades of D.C. Journalism

Robert Skinner Boyd '49 has always been a linguist.

When he came to Harvard College more than 50 years ago, the young Boyd dreamed of someday uncovering an ancient and long-forgotten language and writing about his discovery for the edification of equally obscure academics.

But Boyd--who speaks a half-dozen languages--ultimately built a life around the art of English itself, rather than anything so foreign as the phonology of ancient Mesopotamia.

Washington politics proved sufficiently exotic.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Boyd has spent decades covering the glorious--and the ignominious--scenes of American political life.


Through some of the most remarkable moments of the 20th century, Boyd has had a front row seat.

He received a personal tour in Cuba from a young Fidel Castro, following the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Later Castro took center stage for Boyd as he witnessed the Cuban missile crisis.

He traipsed around China with Nixon. He visited Hanoi at the height of the Vietnam conflict. He covered political campaigns and conventions from Kennedy to Clinton--not to mention McCarthy and McGovern.

He has known them all, watched them rise and watched them fall.

And for a man who never chased the limelight, accolades still came, largely due to--rather than in spite of--the decency he brought to his trade.

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