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Allen Drury

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Allen Drury

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Full Name: Allen Stuart Drury
Born: September 2, 1918
Houston, Texas, USA
Died: September 2, 1998
San Francisco, California, USA
Occupation: Journalist, Novelist
Nationality: American


Allen Stuart Drury was an American novelist. During World War II, he was a reporter in the Senate, closely observing Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, among others. He would convert these experiences into his first novel Advise and Consent, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1960. Long afterwards, it was still being praised as 'the definitive Washington tale'. His diaries from this period were published as A Senate Journal 1943-45.

Drury was born to Alden Monteith Drury (1895-1975), a citrus industry manager, real estate broker, and insurance agent, and Flora Allen (1894-1973), a legislative representative for the California Parent-Teacher Association. The family moved to Whittier, California, where Alden and Flora had a daughter, Anne Elizabeth (1924-1998). Drury was a direct descendant of Hugh Drury (1616-1689) and Lydia Rice (1627-1675), daughter of Edmund Rice (1594-1663), all of whom were early immigrants to Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Allen Stuart Drury grew up in Porterville, California, and earned his B.A. at Stanford University, where he joined Alpha Kappa Lambda, in 1939. He told Writer's Yearbook that he was "associate editor, wrote a column, and editorials." His last series of novels, written shortly before he died, were inspired by his experiences at Stanford. After graduating from Stanford, Drury went to work for the Tulare Bee in Porterville in 1940, where he won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for editorial writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He then moved to Bakersfield and wrote for the Bakersfield Californian, where he "handled what they called county news." Drury enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 25, 1942, in Los Angeles and trained as an infantry soldier, but was discharged "because of an old back injury."

In 1943, Drury moved to Washington. "I went East and wound up in Washington, which fascinated me, and I thought I would get a job for about a year for experience before coming back to the coast. I came back twenty years later, finally."

From 1943 to 1945, Drury worked as the United States Senate correspondent for United Press which, as he wrote, gave him the opportunity "to be of some slight assistance in making my fellow countrymen better acquainted with their Congress and particularly their Senate." He worked as a reporter, but also kept a journal in which he recorded the events of Congress as well as his impressions and views of individual senators and the Senate itself. Drury's journal followed the career of Harry S. Truman from junior senator to President of the United States, and also covered "President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his contentious relations with the Senate." The journal was published in 1963 as A Senate Journal 1943-45 after Drury had experienced great success with his 1959 novel Advise and Consent.

After leaving United Press, he free-lanced for a year, writing a column for local papers in the West. "This venture lasted about a year and did not succeed, as it does not for many people." He then moved to Pathfinder Magazine, a general news magazine. From there, he moved to the Washington Evening Star, where he gained a reputation for the quality of his writing. Various pieces from this period were collected in a volume entitled Three Kids in a Cart.

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