Journalist and historian Robert K. Massie passed away last Monday, December 2nd at 90 years old. Massie was a contributing editor for The Saturday Evening Post throughout the ’60s, writing about international trade, racial integration, and American life. After leaving the Post, Massie focused more on history, and he published biographies of Russian rulers and histories of warships. His book Peter the Great: His Life and World won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981.
Massie’s feature stories in this magazine spanned a wealth of topics, from gray wolves to Teddy Kennedy to Harlem housing activists. In 1965, Massie followed around a Chicago musician named John Perring who also happened to be fighting the Bank of England for an inheritance he claimed to be more than a billion dollars. Perring’s ancestors had been wealthy merchants, as evidenced by old tax documents he unearthed in Michigan, and several twists and turns during his investigation posed new questions about his supposed inheritance. The story, “Please Send One Billion Dollars,” chronicled Perring’s bizarre, fruitless treasure hunt with thoroughness and detailed storytelling signature to Massie’s work.
Headlines from Robert K. Massie articles that appeared in the Post (©SEPS)