Biography and History

Emmett John Hughes was born in Newark, New Jersey on December 26, 1920, the son of John L. and Grace (Freeman) Hughes. He graduated summa cum laude in 1941 from Princeton University and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. His senior thesis, The Church and the Liberal Society (1944), was published by the Princeton University Press and was a Catholic Book Club selection.

He enlisted in the army during his first year of graduate studies at Columbia University. While in the army (1942-1946), he served as a press attachè with the United States Embassy at Madrid and with the Office of Strategic Services and Office of War Information in Spain.

Time-Life International appointed him bureau chief in Rome from 1947 to 1948 and then transferred him for a one-year assignment in Berlin. In 1949 he moved to the New York offices of Time-Life, Inc. His positions included articles editor for Life (1949-1953), Time-Life International special European correspondent (1953-1956), editor of Fortune (1956-1957), and Time-Life International chief foreign correspondent (1957-1960). Later he was a Newsweek columnist and editorial consultant (1963-1968). He retired from the board of editors of Fortune magazine in 1982.

Hughes was an aide and speechwriter for Dwight D. Eisenhower during various leaves of absence from Time-Life, Inc. He drafted speeches for Eisenhower's 1952 and 1956 campaigns and served as administrative assistant to Eisenhower in 1953. He wrote the “I shall go to Korea” speech which is credited with sealing Eisenhower's 1952 victory. Hughes accompanied the president-elect on this promised trip to Korea.

Hughes wrote several books on the presidency, including America The Vincible (1959) which criticized the Eisenhower administration and ended his friendship with the president. This book led to his position as the political advisor for the Rockefeller family from 1960-1963. He subsequently worked as a political advisor and speechwriter for Governor Nelson Rockefeller during his unsuccessful presidential bid in 1968.

Hughes authored other books, including Report from Spain (1947) based on his experience during his military service there, The Ordeal of Power: A Political Memoir of the Eisenhower Years (1963), and The Living Presidency: The Resources and Dilemmas of American Presidential Office (1973).

Hughes served as professor of political science at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University from 1970 until he died from a heart attack on September 18, 1982 at the age of 61.

Hughes had a son John with his first wife Mariefrances Pfeiffer whom he married while living in Spain. He had two daughters, Mary Larkin and Kathleen Freeman with Eileen Lanouette with whom he worked at Time-Life in New York and wed December 24, 1951. He later married Katherine Nouri with whom he had two daughters, Caitlin and Johanna.

Source: From the finding aid for MC073