Ruth Finney

Ruth Finney - Journalist and columnist, 1906-1979

Robert Allen's wife, Ruth Finney, was an accomplished columnist and highly regarded journalist in her own right.  She was also, according to Allen, “an ardent flying saucer 'addict,'” whose interest in the subject may have contributed to Allen's own zeal in looking for answers "from the top" about the elusive UFO mystery.

Las Vegas  Sun - March 25, 1979

Services Conducted for Noted Journalist.

Washington—Ruth Finney Allen, for 50 years a distinguished American journalist, died after a long illness in her Georgetown home.  She was the wife of Col. Robt. S. Allen, a SUN columnist and founder of the “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” with partner Drew Pearson.

At the time of her retirement in 1968, Ruth Finney worked for Scripps-Howard newspapers, was the Washington correspondent for the Albuquerque Tribune, and wrote a weekly column of news, political and economic analysis and forecast.  “Washington Calling,” an idea she created, was distributed through all of the papers of the Scripps-Howard organization.

In the book Ladies of the Press, Isabel Ross wrote: “Ruth Finney, a Scripps-Howard star, tops the field for Washington.  Most of the women correspondents in the Press Gallery are still doing feature stories rather than news.  Ruth Finney is an exception.  She has gone farther than anyone else.  She has hurdled every barrier, and ranks with the best men in the gallery.”

She wrote about the Bonus Army march in Washington, all the New Deal experiments of President Franklin Roosevelt, and was well known by all the public figures of that time.

After her retirement, forced by the loss of her sight, she wrote a manuscript of her career, called “Journey from the Star.”  She also completed two books of short stories dealing with her childhood in the Sierra Nevada gold mining town of Downieville, and her teen-age years in Sacramento where her mother, widow of a gold mine manager and one-time California Assemblyman, ran a boarding house.

In 1929, she married Robert S. Allen, then a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor.  In 1931, an anonymously written book called Washington Merry-Go-Round set the Capital on its ear with its candid review of the foibles of the country’s leading citizens.  It was followed a year later by More Washington Merry-Go-Round, and when it became known that the authors were Allen and Drew Pearson, a correspondent of the Baltimore Sun, both were fired.  They subsequently started the first daily column devoted to investigative reporting, and by the start of World War II “The Washington Merry-Go-Round” was the most successful — and feared — channel of information in the country.

Col. Allen was Assistant G-2 for Gen. George S. Patton, U.S. Third Army, all through the sweep across Europe toward the destruction of the German forces.  Since the war, Col. Allen has written a column of his own, currently syndicated by NANA, North American Newspaper Alliance.

Besides her husband, survivors include a nephew, Jack Finney, author of many works of fiction, and a niece, Ellaine Mitchell, who does broadcast work in Juneau, Alaska, and is the author of the official State Guide.

Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery.

On January 20, 2012, after being in publication for more than 70 years, “Washington Calling,” the column that Ruth Finney founded, was no more.

Washington Calling The Lake City reporter Fla January 22, 2012

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