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Don Oberdorfer was born 1931 in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and served as a U.S. Army lieutenant in Korea, 1953-1954. In 1955 he began his journalistic career as a reporter for the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, becoming the paper's Washington correspondent in 1958. From 1961-1965, he was a Washington editor and contributing editor of the Saturday Evening Post magazine. From 1965-1968, he was national affairs correspondent for the Knight Newspapers chain, covering the Vietnam War both at home and abroad. During the next 25 years, he worked for the Washington Post, serving as White House correspondent (1968-1972), Northeast Asia correspondent based in Tokyo (1972-1975), and diplomatic correspondent (1976-1993).
Oberdorfer won the National Press Club's Edwin M. Hood Award for diplomatic correspondence in 1981 and 1988, and Georgetown University's Edward Weintal prize for diplomatic reporting in 1982 and 1993. From 1994-1996, he was president of Overseas Writers, a professional organization of American and foreign journalists who focus on U.S. diplomacy in Washington. Oberdorfer was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society, and served as chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Washington Center of the Asia Society from 1986-1989.
In addition to The Turn, Oberdorfer is the author of Tet! (Doubleday, 1971; Da Capo Press, 1984), The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History (Perseus Books, 1997), the D.B. Hardeman Prize-winning Senator Mansfield: The Extraordinary Life of a Great American Statesman and Diplomat (Smithsonian Books, 2003), and numerous magazine articles.
Oberdorfer was a visiting professor at Princeton University in 1977, 1982, and 1986. In 1995, to commemorate Princeton's bicentennial, he authored an illustrated history of the university titled Princeton University: The First 250 Years.
Oberdorfer served as a resident scholar with the titles of Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Adjunct Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He was named Chairman of the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS in September 2006 and became Chairman Emeritus in July 2013.
He was married to the former Laura Klein, and they had two children, Dan and Karen. Don Oberdorfer passed away on July 23, 2015.
Consists of notes and photocopies of articles used as research materials for Princeton University: The First 250 Years (1995). Included in the collection is a transcript of an interview with former president William G. Bowen, and a 1994 administrative and academic self-study of the University.
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