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Molly Sinclair McCartney Papers

Identifier: GTM-20220811

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the career of longtime journalist Molly Sinclair McCartney. The collection includes newspaper articles written by McCartney for the "Houston Post," the "Atlanta Constitution," the "Washington Post," and the "Miami Herald." A run of magazine articles she wrote are also included. Of interest are files and audio cassettes from Sinclair's interview with Ambassador Madeleine Albright in 1991. Also included are records related to McCartney's Georgetown University thesis on the shifting of the "Washington Post's" view of the Vietnam War from hawk to dove. The collection contains research files and audio cassette tape interviews with Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee, Senator William Fulbright, Post reporters and editorial writers. One box contains materials about the Gridiron Club. An interview by McCartney with Ambassador Shirley Temple Black in 1991 is also included in the collection.

Collection Description from the Donor

This collection is a time capsule featuring hundreds of my print stories from five different newspapers and other media over six decades. It begins in 1960 with my work at my hometown newspaper, the Baytown (Tex.) Sun, and continues through my years at the Houston Post, Atlanta Constitution, Miami Herald, Washington Post and other newspapers, magazines and newsletters.

These articles offer students, scholars and others a case study of how news coverage and newspapers have evolved. They reflect the issues, trends and people of the times, as well as the technological advances that revolutionized the print industry.

Highlights include:

My coverage of the women’s movement in the 1960s and early 1970s, including interviews with Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, just as I myself was breaking into an industry largely dominated by men.

Articles about the spread of the consumer movement, including many about the last time that soaring inflation plagued the economy.

Interviews with veterans returning from the Vietnam War, as well as an in-depth academic paper on how The Washington Post’s editorial page switched from hawkish support for the war to dovish opposition.

In-person coverage of John F. Kennedy’s speech the night before he was assassinated, as well as of the shooting and aftermath. Multiple international travels, especially in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Co-authoring a book, “America’s War Machine,” on the military-industrial complex, with my late husband, James McCartney. Joining my late husband in hosting President Ronald Reagan at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington.

More broadly, the articles show how news content has evolved from the days of straight simple reporting – “just give me the facts” – into story telling that uses anecdotes and personal details to better explain issues and events.

Another change: Old timers like me remember when we reporters were supposed to be observers. We were supposed to report on the parade but never march in the parade. Younger reporters today are pushing back on that idea, arguing that it is OK to be in the parade on their own time and write about it. This issue continues to evolve.

Finally, the collection shows how newspaper pages have shrunk, but have become more colorful and more attractively laid out over the years. And advances in telecommunication have revolutionized how reporters do their work.


For more in-depth information on the collection from the donor, please see the External Documents section below.


  • 1868 - 2022
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 2022


Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical Note

Longtime journalist Molly Sinclair McCartney wrote for a number of periodicals, especially newspapers, throughout her career. From 1962 to 1968, she served as a reporter for the "Houston Post." From 1968 to 1969, she worked as a staff writer for the "Atlanta Constitution." From 1969 to 1979, she was a staff writer at the "Miami Herald." From 1979 to 1993, she was a staff writer for the "Washington Post."

McCartney was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard from 1977-1978. She earned a liberal studies degree from Georgetown University in 1986. Her thesis was "'The Washington Post' and Vietnam: The Story Behind the Story," which traced the evolution of the newspaper's stand on the Vietnam War from hawk to dove.

McCartney also worked as the manager of media relations at the American Petroleum Institute from 1993 to 1998. Molly collaborated with her husband, the journalist James McCartney, on the book "America's War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts" (2015). James died in 2011. In 2012, Molly became a fellow at the Wilson Center and completed the book.

[Source: Resume of Molly Sinclair McCartney in curatorial file. Also: Woodrow Wilson Center online].


29.8 Cubic Feet (19 boxes (8 record storage boxes, 3 oversized flat boxes, and 8 oversize folios of newspaper clippings and related materials))

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations


The original order of the collection has been retained intellectually. Some materials have been rearranged physically for storage purposes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Molly Sinclair McCartney, 2022

Existence and Location of Copies

The donor provided digital reproductions of the entire collection in PDF and JPG formats.

Related Materials

The Booth Family Center for Special Collections houses the papers of Molly Sinclair McCartney's husband James H. McCartney, also a journalist.

Processing Information

The documents have been placed into archival boxes and folders.

Molly Sinclair McCartney Papers
Scott S. Taylor
2022 November
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057