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
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
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.