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MC 509

Coyne, Catherine. Papers of Catherine Coyne, 1925-1985 (inclusive), 1944-1970 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

This collection has been processed through the generosity of Susan Fales-Hill in memory of her mother, Josephine Premice Fales, and in honor of her father, Captain Timothy Fales.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 509
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Catherine Coyne
Title: Papers of Catherine Coyne, 1925-1985 (inclusive), 1944-1970 (bulk)
Date(s): 1925-1985
Date(s): 1944-1970
Quantity: 2.75 linear feet (2 file boxes, 2 folio boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Catherine Mary (Coyne) Hudson, journalist for the Boston Herald and foreign correspondent during World War II.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 95-M78
These papers were given to Schlesinger Library by her sister-in-law, Beatrice L. Coyne in June 1995.

Processing Information:

Processed: March 2005
By: Marilyn Morgan


Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers of Catherine Coyne is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Catherine Coyne Papers, 1925-1985; item description, dates. MC 509, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Catherine Coyne diary, 1945-1947 (A/C881).


Born on April 17, 1907, in Portland, Maine, Catherine Mary (Coyne) Hudson spent her childhood in southern Maine and from an early age displayed an affinity for writing and thoughtful articulation.
As a student of Portland High School, Coyne served as literary editor of the Totem and was an active member of the Debating Council and Glee Club. Following graduation with honors in 1926, Coyne entered the School of Journalism at Boston University. As an undergraduate she maintained an active role within the community at B.U., acting as an officer of the Benjamin Edes Association and Gamma Beta Alpha, directing the undergraduate drama group, and actively participating in Boston University's Women's Debate team. As a freshman, Coyne joined the staff as editor and writer for the student publication, Boston University News, and she also served as the Boston University correspondent for the Boston American throughout her undergraduate years. In 1930, her graduating year, Coyne earned an appointment as Associate news editor of BU News , making her the first woman to hold an upper staff position at that publication.
Upon graduation, Coyne wrote for the trade magazine, Granite, Marble, Bronze, and did other freelance writing. By 1934, she began writing features for the Boston Herald. Her earliest articles weren't "hard news" but addressed the interests and concerns of a female audience. She wrote features that highlighted accomplishments of extraordinary New England women, provided recipes and discussed food and diet, shopping tips and fashion trends, and discussed office etiquette for working women. As World War II escalated, she increasingly covered the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps. On May 30, 1944, the Boston Herald sent Coyne to England as foreign war correspondent. She transferred to northern France in July and remained stationed there until March 1945. She became one of a handful of American women who were permitted to accompany Allied troops as they landed in Normandy. Coyne reported on conditions in hospitals, wounded soldiers, and battles, and when possible she crafted human interest stories that focused on soldiers from the greater Boston area. Her articles became very popular with Boston audiences and she began writing a column "Catherine Coyne on the War Front."
From April to June 1945, Coyne reported from Germany and the Netherlands. After returning to the United States in July 1945, she was sent again to Europe from October 1945 to January 1946 to cover the Nuremberg trials. Upon her return, the United States War Department awarded Coyne, along with 489 war correspondents a campaign ribbon and certificate of merit for thorough and competent reporting from Europe during World War II. Shortly thereafter, Coyne resigned from the Boston Herald, reasoning that she'd fulfilled her dream job. The following year she was awarded a bronze medal of honor for distinguished public service by Boston University's Alumni Association.
Upon her return to the states, she became engaged to Judge Eugene [Gene] A. Hudson, who had served as an Army Air Force Intelligence Officer in England during the war. Hudson was appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1946 and the couple married in 1949. Though Coyne assumed Hudson's surname, professionally, she retained Coyne. They resided in Brookline and in West Harwich, Massachusetts. During the early days of her marriage, Coyne staffed the Time-Life Bureau in Boston and authored a Sunday column. From the 1950s through the 1970s the couple regularly traveled overseas for extended holidays in western Europe. They had no children. Coyne actively participated in Boston University alumni affairs, the American Association of University Women, and the Harwich Garden Club. Following Hudson's death in 1972, Coyne resided permanently in West Harwich, Massachusetts. She died in the Mayflower Point Nursing Home in Yarmouth, Massachusetts at the age of 85, on September 25, 1992.




The collection is arranged in two series:


The collection consists primarily of scrapbooks of clippings, notebooks, and journals. It contains some biographical materials, tributes, as well as Coyne's notes and unpublished writings. Papers arrived loose and unlabeled; folder headings were created by the archivist.
Approximately half of the collection is comprised of clippings of Coyne's articles published by the Boston Herald (1934-1946). These clippings arrived at the library in four large scrapbooks, both loose and attached to pages. The processor arranged loose clippings in chronological order, when possible. Photocopies of each article are available for research use, unless otherwise noted, originals of loose clippings were discarded.
Series I. Biographical and personal, 1925-1985 (#1.1-1.16), is divided into two subseries.
Subseries A, Biographical, 1925-1985 (#1.1-1.6), contains identification cards, passports, immunization records, early clippings about Coyne in high school and college, and tributes to Coyne.
Subseries B, Personal, 1937-1972 (#1.7-1.16), contains address books, ration cards, travel journals, correspondence, etc. The correspondence, address book, personal records and tributes (1944-1946) highlights Coyne's journalistic accomplishments and the near celebrity status she achieved in her coverage of World War II. The bulk of the material in this series is composed of travel journals spanning 1937 to 1972. The journals record Coyne's perceptions and descriptions of various locations in England, Ireland, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, the Middle East, Africa, Greece, the United States, the Bahamas and Venezuela while traveling on holiday, often with Hudson. Coyne wrote daily entries which follow a similar format: describing the weather, their meals, shopping excursions and purchases, and sights the couple visited, and people encountered. Some journals include very detailed descriptions of conversations and experiences. In 1965, Coyne richly describes the Egyptian landscape and scenery as she and Hudson flew in a small United Arab Republic plane over the desert; she describes Hudson riding a camel, touring Bethlehem, the pyramids and tombs, in addition to commenting on food and clothing worn by local men and women.
Series II. Writings, ca.1929-1947 (#2.1-2.21v), contains writings, articles, notes and related papers, and is divided into three subseries.
Subseries A, Early writings, ca. 1929-1932 (#2.1-2.3v), encompasses Coyne's early writings: a college term paper, and two larger flip-top notebooks (ca. 1930-1932), written front to back, then flipped over and used back to front. These notebooks contain notes taken during interviews, research, and ideas for articles. One contains brief notes and outlines for articles presumably written for Granite, Marble and Bronze. The other contains titles, ideas, and some rough drafts for 24 fictional short stories including: "A Modern Woman," "Suggestions, "April Lane," "An Ounce of Charm," and a play Patterns. They also include detailed notes about a woman's place in Christianity, including names of clergy and their positions on women's role in Christianity; and notes about banks closing in Maine. Often Coyne wrote notes in shorthand and also indicated which magazine she would pitch the idea to, and indicated the story was completed by pacing a large "X" at the end. The second notebook holds ideas, titles, outlines, and brief rough drafts of short stories written in 1932.
Subseries B, Clippings, 1934-1946 (#3FB.2-2.13), encompasses clippings of articles written by Coyne for the Boston Herald in the United States and Europe. Coyne's early features highlight the accomplishments of outstanding local women. During the war years, domestic topics include food rationing, nutrition, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Topics about which Coyne wrote while overseas include: food shortages, rationing, the black market, cultural differences, relations between Americans and Europeans. She wrote a recurring column, "Coyne on the War Front." She regularly interviewed and wrote articles about individual soldiers and nurses from the greater Boston area stationed in Europe; these articles highlight everyday experiences during the war. Coyne also wrote extensively about Nazi popularity among typical people, George S. Patton's injury and death, Russian pogroms, interviews with concentration camp survivors, and the Nuremberg Trials.
The clippings and articles in this series are too fragile for research use; photocopies are available for research. Loose clippings were copied and arranged in chronological order; originals were discarded. At some earlier time, dates were penned directly or typed on some clippings (not in Coyne's writing). In many cases, the date handwritten on the clipping misidentifies the article's publication date. When possible, the processor added bracketed dates in pencil to the undated items and similarly noted incorrectly identified items on the photocopied clippings. Undated clippings which the processor was unable to date appear interspersed among dated copies, as they were found in the scrapbook. Loose clippings found in the front of the scrapbook, without a clear frame of reference, appear at the end of folder for each year in which they were found.
Subseries C, Notebooks, 1945-1947 (#2.14v-2.21v), holds Coyne's small flip-top reporters' notebooks in which she recorded notes taken during interviews, ideas for articles, general observations and opinions, cultural and geographical descriptions, addresses, appointments, and things to do. Most of the notebooks in this series collection were written front to back and then turned over and completed from back to front. Some of Coyne's interview notes, particularly with Germans and concentration camp survivors may not have been published as articles. Coyne interviewed numbers of individuals about the black market; the experience of American soldiers in France and Germany; food shortages, especially in Germany but throughout Europe, following the war; the Nazis, the Nuremberg Trials. She also recorded her impressions of people she met, various addresses, quotes, and lists of things to do.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Cookery, American
Journalists--United States
Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals--Nuremberg, Germany, 1945-1946
Rationing--United States
Travel writing
United States--Foreign relations--1933-1945
War correspondents
Women journalists
World War, 1939-1945--Journalists
World War, 1939-1945--Food supply--Europe
World War, 1939-1945--Food supply--United States
World War, 1939-1945--Women
Boston Herald-Employees
Boston University--Students
United States. Army. Women's Army Corps