Anne Morrow Lindbergh Biography

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Anne Morrow Lindbergh Biography

Writer, aviator. Born Anne Spencer Morrow, on June 22, 1906, in Englewood, New Jersey. Her father, Dwight W. Morrow, was a partner in the successful banking house of J.P. Morgan & Co. who became a Republican senator from New Jersey in the early 1930s. Her mother, Elizabeth Reeve Cutter Morrow, was a poet and teacher who later served as acting president of Smith College in 1939 and 1940. Anne attended the exclusive Miss Chapin’s School in Manhattan, where the Morrows had an apartment, before enrolling at Smith College in 1924.
Anne Morrow met Charles Lindbergh in December 1927, when she was a 21-year-old college senior. Arguably the most famous man in the world after completing the first-ever nonstop solo transatlantic flight on May 27 of that year, Lindbergh was visiting the Morrow home in Mexico City, where Dwight Morrow was serving as the American ambassador to Mexico. The couple soon fell in love, and married two years later, making headlines all over the world after a simple ceremony at the Morrows’ New Jersey home. Morrow Lindbergh, who had graduated from Smith in 1928, soon became a fixture at her husband’s side on his various journeys, including missions to Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean to conduct research for aviation companies. She obtained her own glider pilot’s license in 1930 (she was the first American woman to do so), and served as Lindbergh’s navigator, radio operator, and copilot on many of his trips, including one on which he broke the transatlantic speed record.

The Lindberghs’ first child, Charles Jr., was born in the summer of 1931. The happiness of motherhood was all too swiftly followed by tragedy: on March 1, 1932, the 20-month-old Charles Lindbergh was stolen from his crib in his bedroom in the family’s sprawling but isolated home in Hopewell, New Jersey. After weeks of negotiation with the kidnapper and an abortive delivery of $50,000 in ransom money, the body of the “Lindbergh baby” was found in the woods near the Lindbergh home on May 12; he had been killed shortly after the kidnapping. “The Crime of the Century,” including the subsequent arrest, trial, and conviction of the carpenter Bruno Richard Hauptmann, captivated the attention of the international media for the next several years.

Hauptmann was executed for the crime in 1936, still protesting his innocence.

Overwhelmed by the public and media fascination with the crime in the United States, and disturbed by threats made against their second son, Jon, born in 1932, Anne and Charles Lindbergh moved to England late in 1935 to seek refuge. They eventually had four more children: two daughters, Anne (who died in 1993) and Reeve, and two more sons, Land and Scot.

Morrow Lindbergh’s first book, North to the Orient, an account of one of the aerial voyages she made with her husband, became a bestseller in 1935. She went on to write more than two dozen works of prose and poetry, including five volumes of her own diaries. With Gift From the Sea, published in 1955, Morrow Lindbergh became a hero to millions of readers, especially women, for her thoughtful and lyrical meditation on the lives of women in the twentieth century. The book remained on the nonfiction bestseller list of The New York Times for a formidable 80 weeks, including 47 weeks at No. 1, and sold five million copies in hardcover and paperback during its first 20 years in print.

In the years leading up to the Second World War, Charles Lindbergh became greatly impressed by the growing power of Germany’s air force. He visited Germany numerous times, even receiving a special decoration as a pilot from Hitler’s Air Minister Hermann Goring at a state dinner in 1938. Back in the U.S., Lindbergh made a number of speeches advocating American neutrality during World War II, a stance that earned him a great deal of criticism, most notably from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and even drew charges of anti-Semitism. Morrow Lindbergh herself was criticized for the positive views she expressed about the leadership of Germany and Italy in her controversial 1940 book The Wave of the Future.

The Lindberghs lived as quietly and privately as possible in the years following the war, keeping homes in Connecticut and on the Hawaiian island of Maui. In his later years, Charles Lindbergh became an active supporter of various environmental causes, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh continued to write. After Charles’ death of cancer in Hawaii in 1974, Morrow Lindbergh moved back to Connecticut, where she spent most of the next 25 years living in seclusion and writing and editing her own diaries for publication. She died on February 7, 2001, in her home in Passumpsic, Vermont, at the age of 94.

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