Gloria Emerson, a former correspondent for The New York Times who reported from Vietnam in the early 1970s and was known for writing about the personal impact of war on soldiers and civilians, has died. She was 75.
Emerson’s book on Vietnam, “Winners & Losers,” won a National Book Award in 1978. Her Vietnam dispatches won a George Polk Award for excellence in foreign reporting, and she was featured in “Reporting America at War: An Oral History,” a compilation of interviews with war correspondents.
Emerson, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, was found dead at her Manhattan apartment on Wednesday, according to her physician, Dr. Karen Brudney.
The official cause of Emerson’s death was not released, but friends said that Emerson, no longer able to write because of physical infirmity, carried out plans for her own death on Tuesday. Emerson left notes that indicated she intended suicide and left comments meant for her obituary.
The Times dispatched Emerson to Vietnam in 1970, where she focused her coverage on the war’s personal impact on civilians and soldiers alike.
While some press colleagues in Saigon saw her unabashed criticism of U.S. and South Vietnamese officials as implying sympathy for the other side, no one doubted that her feelings for civilians and soldiers in Vietnam were genuine.
“Nobody had as much compassion for the Vietnam vets as she did,” said author Seymour Hersh, a former Times colleague in the 1960s. “She was always adopting somebody, and giving money to them, and the soldiers really loved her.”
She became an advocate for Vietnam veterans and had been working on a novel about Vietnam veterans, according to her former editor at Random House.
Emerson, a native of New York, joined the Times in 1957 in the women’s news department — but said she “hated writing about shoes and clothes.”
She left the Times briefly to live in Brussels with her husband, Charles Brofferio, whom she later divorced, returned to the Times in Paris in 1960 and moved to its London bureau in 1969.
Emerson also wrote about conflicts in Northern Ireland and Algeria, as well as the books “Some American Men” (1985), “Gaza: a Year in the Intifada” (1991) and “Loving Graham Greene” (2000), a novel.