Partner Gwen Le Gallienne
Cimetière des Gonards, 78000 Versailles, France
Louise Bryant (December 5, 1885 – January 6, 1936) was an American feminist, political activist, and journalist best known for her sympathetic coverage of Russia and the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Bryant, who married fellow journalist John Reed (her second husband) in 1916, wrote about Russian leaders such as Katherine Breshkovsky, Maria Spiridonova, Alexander Kerensky, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky. Her news stories, distributed by Hearst during and after her trips to Petrograd and Moscow, appeared in newspapers across the United States and Canada in the years immediately following World War I. A collection of articles from her first trip was published in 1918 as Six Red Months in Russia.. Over the next year, she defended the revolution in testimony before the Overman Committee, a Senate subcommittee established to investigate Bolshevik influence in the United States. Later in 1919, she undertook a nationwide speaking tour to encourage public support of the Bolsheviks and to denounce armed U.S. intervention in Russia.
Born Anna Louise Mohan, as a young girl she began using the last name of her stepfather, Sheridan Bryant, in preference to that of her father. She grew up in rural Nevada and attended the University of Nevada in Reno and the University of Oregon in Eugene, graduating with a degree in history in 1909. Pursuing a career in journalism, she became society editor of the Spectator a and freelanced for The Oregonian, newspapers in Portland, Oregon. During her years in that city (1909–1915), she became active in the women's suffrage movement. Leaving her first husband in 1915 to follow Reed to Greenwich Village, she formed friendships with leading feminists of the day, some of whom she met through Reed's associates at publications such as The Masses; ; at meetings of a women's group, Heterodoxy; and through work with the Provincetown Players. During a National Woman's Party suffrage rally in Washington, D.C., in 1919, she was arrested and spent three days in jail. Both she and Reed took lovers outside marriage; during her Greenwich Village years (1916–1920) for her these included the playwright Eugene O'Neill and the painter Andrew Dasburg.
After Reed's death from typhus in 1920, Bryant continued to write for Hearst about Russia and also about Turkey, Hungary, Greece, Italy, and other countries in Europe and the Middle East. Some articles from this period were collected in 1923 under the title Mirrors of Moscow.. Later that year she married William C. Bullitt, Jr., with whom she had her only child, Anne, the following year. Suffering in her later years from the rare and painful disorder adiposis dolorosa, Bryant did little writing or publishing in her last decade, and drank heavily.
On 28th September, 1929, Bullitt discovered letters that indicated that Bryant was having a sexual relationship with the sculptor Gwen Le Gallienne.. When confronted with this information, Bryant attempted suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills and was admitted to the Neurological Institute of New York. Soon afterwards Bullitt obtained a divorce and gained custody over his daughter, Anne Moen Bullitt, following his testimony that his wife was having a lesbian relationship with Gallienne.
Bryant died on January 6, 1936, of a brain hemorrhage in Sèvres, in the suburbs of Paris, and is buried in Cimetière des Gonards in Versailles. In 1998, three volunteers from the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission went to Paris to find the grave, which they discovered was crumbling, undated, and scheduled for removal. Through the commission's efforts as well as donations, including some from relatives of Bryant and Bullitt, the grave was restored.
TheThe Bryant–Reed story is told in the 1981 film Reds, starring Diane Keaton as Bryant and Warren Beatty as Reed. Supporting actors include Jack Nicholson as Eugene O'Neill, Maureen Stapleton as Emma Goldman, Jerzy Kosiński as Grigory Zinoviev (one of the Bolshevik leaders), and Edward Herrmann as Max Eastman.