Marion Klein Sanders, a journalist, graduated from Wellesley College in 1925. In her roles as a journalist, she worked for the U.S. State Department, developing its publications program and serving as editor-in-chief of the Russian language magazine Amerika.
Amerika was the only US magazine to be widely circulated in the USSR for several years after the end of World War II, per a 1944 agreement. Its issues contained articles about average Americans, science, theater, industry and allowed glimpses into US home life. The long range goal of the magazine was to cast on Russian minds at least the shadow of a doubt about the superiority of Communism. Other sources of US media found in the USSR, such as the Voice of America broadcasts, were often electronically jammed in Moscow. However, Sander’s believed that the success of Amerika was due to its tendency to avoid controversial personalities or political issues. “We never preach, brag, quarrel or draw invidious comparison,” Sanders was quoted in Time magazine.
In addition to Amerika, Sanders launched Yugoslav and Arabic editions of Amerika, a new magazine titled Free World, which was published in Southeast Asian countries, as well as other propaganda comic books and pamphlets. By 1952, the permitted circulation in Russia of 50,000 copies of the magazine had been cut down by the Russian government to 15,000. Unwilling to fight for the magazine, the US State Department insisted that Sanders and her staff move from New York to Washington, D.C. so the State Department could have greater control over the publication and the budget. Disagreeing with this demand, Sanders resigned from the magazine staff, effectively allowing the State Department to eliminate this branch of propaganda.
After leaving the State Department, Sanders worked as an editor at Harper’s and at Atlas World Press Review. She wrote a novel, The Bride Laughed Once, and a biography of the journalist Dorothy Thompson.
Marion K. Sanders died in 1977 at the age of 72. She was married and had two children: a son, T. Michael Sanders, and a daughter, Mary Sanders von Euler.
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