Letters Home: An American in China: 1939-1944

After graduating from Carleton College in Northfield, MN in 1939, John Hlavacek sailed to China to the Carleton-in-China Middle School in Fenchow, Shansi Province. As John describes it, many Midwesterners had little knowledge of China, other than famine, disease, and war. After weeks of training in Chinese in Peking, John traveled to the compound in what was then Japanese-occupied China.

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About John Hlavacek

John and Pegge spent their lives traveling the world reporting as foreign press correspondents. John first taught English in China during the 1930s, after graduating from Carleton College. He then joined the United Press in 1944 as a war correspondent. He met Pegge Parker, a beautiful widowed journalist with an eye toward writing her way around the world. They married, living and working in India during the first years of their marriage.

The Hlavaceks were then off to New York and next Jamaica, where John and Pegge supported the family by covering news events across the globe. In 1961, the family moved to Florida when John began work as staff correspondent for NBC in Havana. John and Pegge meticulously chronicled their lives before and after they met—and the stories they brought to us from afar. Today, John resides in Omaha, Nebraska. Pegge passed away in November 2008.

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