July 6, 2003 by

Gertrude Samuels


Categories: Writers/Editors

Gertrude Samuels, who died Wednesday at the age of 93, left a 50-year legacy of pictures and words.
Her career began in 1937 when she dropped out of college to join the staff of The New York Post. She covered national and foreign affairs for The Post and then published stories in Newsweek and Time magazine.
During World War II, Samuels worked as an editor, writer and photographer for The New York Times, where she wrote summaries for the Week in Review and then covered news events for the magazine.
In 1955, Samuels won a George Polk award for excellence in education reporting. However, she was best known for her coverage of the Middle East, particularly during the Six Day War.
Her pictorials were popular; they appeared in National Geographic, Redbook and The Saturday Evening Post. In the 1960s, Samuels collected her photographs and writings into the books: “B-G: Fighter of Goliaths; The Story of David Ben-Gurion” and “The Secret of Gonen: Portrait of a Kibbutz on the Border in a Time of War.”
Samuels began freelancing full-time in the ’70s, which gave her a chance to write stage plays and books for young adults. Until a few years ago, she worked as a United Nations correspondent for The New Leader magazine.

4 Responses to Gertrude Samuels

  1. Aaron

    I first read Gertrude’s book The Partisans when I was 12, and it had a large effect on me. I’m sorry to hear she’s gone. Thanks for the story.
    Rest in peace & God bless.

  2. Dr. Dianna L. Knox

    Gertrude Samuels came to a small, rural community in South Dakota 25 years ago this month to question officials of the school district about their decision to ban one of her books, “Run Shelly, Run”. I challenged the book ban that fall and she came to Onida, SD, to attempt to speak to officials about their decision. I spent a couple of days with her as we drove aroundn the countryside trying to get an audience with residents about the ban. No one would speak to her except for the school board president, an attorney, who would only say that it was a local decision. I just returned from seeing the movie, “North Country” and a flood of memories related to the event is on my mind this evening. How coincidental that as I logged onto the National Book Award web site that I noted her death a few days ago. My thoughts are about her trip to SD a quarter century ago. I am particularly mindful of the usurping of American freedoms by the far right and urge all who value American freedoms to consider the encroachment by evangelicals and the like on America. Today I am a college professor but Gertrude Samuels’ visit left a profound mark.

  3. Lena Hautoniemi

    So now she is not over there anymore. I met her on Victoria and Albert station in London 1985 or 96 after a kidneystoneattack I was banned from the boattrip home to sweden by the docs at St Stephens hospital. I was infront of her at the desk buying a fligthticket back home and emtptied my account. I had no money for the subway and offered the clerk my wristwatch to get 1 pound for the ticket . He refused and Gertrude standing behind me got really irritated at him and said to me -How much do you need love? I got saftley home and we wrote to eachother for some years of and on. Thinking of her as my gurdian angel that time I was a young student then. Now an artist and designer. Sorry to see that she is gone. I will never ever forget her and has saved all her letter s to me.
    Sleep well angel.

  4. Gidon Levitas

    Gertrude Samuels and I first met at Kibbutz Gonen,
    located on the old Israeli-Syrian border in Upper Galilee, in 1958. I was then a member and called on to accompany and assist her while she visited to prepare a feature about Israel and the kibbutz
    for the New York Times magazine. She stayed with
    us for many days, interviewing and photographing members and researching the kibbutz story, which the magazine printed, featuring one of the kibbutz
    sheperdesses on its cover. While on many return visits to Israel for her assignments, over the years she maintained friendships and kept up her
    extensive correspondence. Her book ‘The Secret of Gonen’ was published in 1969 by Avon Books. After I left the kibbutz, Gertrude encouraged me in my first job as a news reporter at ‘The Jerusalem Post’ and subsequent work as a free lance writer.
    We kept in touch for many years. I last met her when invited to come to her New York apartment overlooking Central Park during my brief visit to the U.S. in 1991. Rereading many of her letters, I recall her energy, commitment and integrity in her professional journalistic work, her warmest sentiments she always expressed for her many good friends in Israel and her hopes for and belief in Israel’s bright future.

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