Evans, Marguerite B.A., English, Waynesburg College Master of Liberal Arts, Southern Methodist University

Sex, Lies, and a Pulitzer Prize Marguerite Higgins’ Place

in Journalism Memory

Advisor: Professor Jeffrey A. Engel Master of Arts conferred May 14, 2022 Thesis completed April 22, 2022

Marguerite Higgins was once but is no longer a well-known war correspondent, fifty-six years after her death, despite being the first female journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting as well as dozens of other journalism awards. She played the role of a celebrity journalist by covering WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, inserting herself into her stories, appearing in advertisements and television game shows, and writing six books. An outspoken war hawk, Higgins traveled the world lecturing on the need to contain communism and on the repercussions of the overthrow of Diem in Vietnam. She is not famous because she was infamous.

This thesis points out ways in which Marguerite Higgins’ behavior was unlike that of her female peers both prior to WWII and through the start of the Vietnam War. Higgins behaved in the way her male counterparts found acceptable for one another, yet used her feminine qualities to advance beyond those men. She used her sexuality, aggressiveness, and competitiveness to remain relevant and influential during her life, yet after her death those behaviors defamed her and left her with a reputation tarnished with rumors, innuendos, and accusations. Higgins embodied a form of feminism which Helen Gurley Brown would have approved of a decade later, because, unlike second wave feminists, Higgins did not remove her sexuality and physical appearance from her professional drive for success.

Degree Date

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name





Jeffrey A. Engel

Second Advisor

Crista DeLuzio

Third Advisor

Ezra Greenspan

Subject Area


Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Available for download on Tuesday, May 04, 2027