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An Interview with Harry Wentworth of Blind Tribute

By Mari Christie
August 2, 2022

I have been fortunate, until most recently, to work under one of the most well-known journalists of our time, P.H. Wentworth III—Harry to his friends; Mr. Wentworth, Sir, to the likes of me. From the day he hired me when I was 12 (just a few weeks before he resigned the first time), until just before I turned 17, I was a copyboy in the Philadelphia Daily Standard newsroom. I was there while Mr. Wentworth spent his time in South Carolina writing for Wentworth and Hoyt, but more importantly, I was his delivery boy when he returned to the Standard, after his horrific injuries had healed enough that he could use a pen. He probably never knew this, but after he returned, I was the only one at the paper who could always read his handwriting. The men in Composing always ran his copy by me before it was set in type.

For several years now, since his retirement, Mr. Wentworth has declined all interviews about his life and career. In this case, due to our long association, Mr. Wentworth has allowed me this interview and, in fact, admonished me to “sell the damn thing somewhere, if anyone is still buying my name.” While I do not intend to trade on Mr. Wentworth’s name for more than a grade in a college class, I am pleased to offer up these reflections on his life and career, in the words of the man himself.

Bill O’Riordan: Mr. Wentworth, Sir, I wondered if you could tell me what made you want to become a journalist?

Harry Wentworth: My degree is in Philology from Oxford, so I learned more in Greek and Latin than one might expect, given my long career. I wouldn’t say I ever set out to be a journalist. If I set out to become anything, it was an essayist. But it so happens that the best place to make a living as an essayist in this day and age is a newspaper.


BOR: But you never had to “make your living,” did you?

HW: My family is exceptionally wealthy, it is true, and I used my personal resources to my own advantage many times across the years. However, “making a living” was never about the money for me, but rather, about making a name for myself, earning my reputation as an honorable speaker of truth.


BOR: What made you decide to travel?

HW: I always felt stifled in the South, even as a very young man. It was probably inevitable I would travel, but spending time at Oxford sealed the bargain.


BOR: Where have you gone that you didn’t feel you spent enough time?

HW: I would have liked to spend more than a few months in the Far East; I feel I barely scratched the surface of Japan before I was packed off to the next battle, and I only saw China from the deck of a steamship. I never have made it to the South Sea Islands, either. I do regret that.


BOR: Why did you decide to become a financial writer, and how did you switch from battlefields to boardrooms?

HW: War takes a toll on everyone, including war correspondents. I changed my focus because business was less bloody, and after a decade of nothing but blood, it was time. I was very fortunate that a Philadelphia Daily Standard editor was in London when I was in Spain, and through a mutual acquaintance, I heard he was hiring international correspondents. I wrote, asking to be considered for any available editorship, and by return post, they hired me to cover business from London. By the time I got there, the man had returned to the States. It was three years and on return to Philadelphia as the International Editor before I met anyone from my new paper of record.


BOR: What did you miss to accomplish so much in your life?

HW: I am ashamed to say I missed much of my family life, and I never maintained a romantic relationship, unless one counts my marriage, which was not a love match.


BOR: What is your proudest accomplishment?

HW: I am enormously proud of my coverage of the American Civil War.

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Mari Christie
Written by Mari Christie

Mari Anne Christie writes second chances for scarred souls. Her book, Blind Tribute, is a multi-award winner in American historical fiction, and she writes historical romance as Mariana Gabrielle. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her two cats.

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