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Dorothy Thompson

  • [On the United States:] We are as a people timid in thinking but reckless in action.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • in Herald Tribune ()
  • After the earthquake and the fire comes the still small voice.

  • Can one preach at home inequality of races and nations and advocate abroad good-will towards all men?

  • ... hate smolders and eventually destroys, not the hated but the hater.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • in Ladies' Home Journal ()
  • The United States is the only great and populous nation-state and world power whose people are not cemented by ties of blood, race or original language.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • in Ladies' Home Journal ()
  • Children want to feel instinctively that their father is behind them as solid as a mountain, but, like a mountain, is something to look up to.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • in Ladies Home Journal ()
  • Disillusion comes only to the illusioned. One cannot be disillusioned of what one never put faith in.

  • Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always a tomorrow.

  • ... it is quite hard at times to distinguish a genius from a lunatic.

  • Never interrupt an artist in the middle of his work! You are inflicting agony upon him.

  • Children are little anarchists, possessed, however, of a powerful herd instinct, leading them to demand oppressive conformity from others, and especially conformity to their own primitive urges.

  • The greatest literature is moral.

  • ... lawlessness is a self-perpetuating, ever-expanding habit.

  • People and societies who cannot see any purpose in their existence beyond the material and the tangible must live chartlessly, and must live in spiritual misery, because they cannot overcome the greatest fact and mystery of human life, next to birth, which is death.

  • Spiritual truth is truth in whatever age, but the tasks of its service change as society changes.

  • The most destructive element in the human mind is fear. Fear creates aggressiveness; aggressiveness engenders hostility; hostility engenders fear — a disastrous circle.

  • I am inclined to think that the flowers we most love are those we knew when we were very young, when our senses were most acute to color and to smell, and our natures most lyrical.

  • ... nobody knows anything about America who does not know its little towns.

  • They have not wanted Peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war — as though the absence of war was the same as peace.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • "On the Record," syndicated column ()
  • It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • "What Price Liberty?" in Ladies' Home Journal ()
  • The most dangerous illusion from which free men suffer is the widely held idea that freedom maintains itself by the mere fact of its being.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • "What Price Liberty?" in Ladies' Home Journal ()
  • When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • "What Price Liberty?" in Ladies' Home Journal ()
  • It seems to me that as my child was born I was full of agony and full of laughter. Then I remember that there was an earthquake, some cosmic catastrophe; the world opened up and all the stars fell, and I died. And when I woke again the world had never, never seemed so sweet.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • 1933, in Vincent Sheean, Dorothy and Red ()
  • To have felt too much is to end in feeling nothing.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • 1942, in Vincent Sheean, Dorothy and Red ()
  • Happiness is mostly just the absence of pain.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • letter to Sinclair Lewis (1937), in Vincent Sheean, Dorothy and Red ()
  • I want to propose to you a conspiracy of poets to offset the innumerable conspiracies which have made this world a nightmare. ... We need the intuitive imagination of the great poets, to comprehend in even a small way the nature of the forces that are moving the world.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • 1939, in Peter Kurth, American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson ()
  • We all make, I think, traitors of our memories (to credit our own lies).

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • 1960, in William Holtz, ed., Dorothy Thompson and Rose Wilder Lane: Forty Years of Friendship ()
  • A little more matriarchy is what the world needs, and I know it. Period. Paragraph.

    • Dorothy Thompson
  • The great thing with work is to be on top of it, not constantly chasing after it.

    • Dorothy Thompson
  • [Alice Roosevelt Longworth] listens with her whole personality, and she makes everybody feel that he is much more brilliant than he is. In the elation of that feeling, he sometimes really is more brilliant than he is.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • "On the Record," in The San Bernardino County Sun ()
  • The thinking of a genius does not proceed logically. It leaps with great ellipses. It pulls knowledge from God knows where.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • "Beware of Geniuses!" The Courage to Be Happy ()
  • ... only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • in Reader's Digest ()
  • [On her own merits as a party guest:] ... as for Dorothy Thompson, she is terrible. She always talks politics and has a horrible habit of holding forth. Given the slightest opportunity, she makes a speech, and nothing that she says to herself in the cab on the way home seems to cure her.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • "On the Record," in The San Bernardino County Sun ()
  • [On great party guests:] Dorothy Parker used to be first class. But she has recently gotten religion and is now full of social significance, which does not sit upon her lightly. She was always full of the pain of it all, but it used to be her own particular, peculiar and individual pain, mixed with the most mordant wit and the most irresistible self-mockery. She was never the first to speak, nor the second to speak, but usually the last to speak, and the next day the only one to be remembered.

    • Dorothy Thompson,
    • "On the Record," in The San Bernardino County Sun ()

Dorothy Thompson, U.S. journalist, writer, radio commentator

(1894 - 1961)

Full name: Dorothy Thompson Bad Lewis Kopf.