(parts excerpted from a Washington Post obituary)
Ruth Montgomery was a Washington-based nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Headline Service and United Press International to 200 newspapers across the country. Her beats included the White House, Capitol Hill and national and foreign affairs.
She covered the Berlin Airlift in 1948, interviewed Juan Peron shortly after he had assumed the presidency of Argentina, flew to Cuba to report the coup d'etat that brought dictator Fulgencio Batista to power and was on the scene to write about the anti-British riots that led to the downfall of King Farouk in Egypt.
She covered then-Vice President Richard Nixon's trip through the Soviet Union and Poland, national political conventions, and White House news conferences from Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt through Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1945, she was the only woman journalist covering Roosevelt's funeral at the White House. In 1950, she was president of the Women's National Press Club.
Her 1965 book, "A Gift of Prophecy," about Jeane Dixon, sold more than 3 million copies and helped to build Dixon's reputation as a soothsayer. For nine years before the book's publication, Mrs. Montgomery wrote an annual column describing upcoming world events that Dixon saw in her crystal ball.
Her book described Dixon's 1956 prediction of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and her statement to friends on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, that "this is the day it will happen." The book also included Dixon's forecast a week ahead of time of the 1968 assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
But Mrs. Montgomery would later complain that the book's editors paid scant attention to her reservations about Dixon's clairvoyance. They "insisted on deleting most of my references to Jeane Dixon's many wrong predictions, leaving in mainly those on which she had hit correctly. . . I was too tired to put up a proper argument, but after 'A Gift of Prophecy' became one of the most sensational best-sellers of the decade, I wished that I had more firmly stood my ground," she wrote in a 1970 book, "Hail to the Chiefs," which was mainly an account of her 25 years of covering presidents and first ladies.
Dixon's mistakes, Mrs. Montgomery wrote, included a 1954 prediction that President Dwight D. Eisenhower would not run for a second term, a prediction that Nixon would be elected president in 1960 and that Fidel Castro would fall from power in Cuba that year. She also predicted that "Russia would be the first nation to land a man on the moon, probably in 1960."
Mrs. Montgomery came to the nation's capital in 1943 as the first woman member of the Washington bureau of the New York Daily News. In Washington, she was the first to write the story of Edgar Eisenhower's public criticisms of his younger brother, Dwight David, who was then president of the United States. She suggested in one of her columns that retirees could serve in the Peace Corps, and the idea was later adopted by President Kennedy.
After "The Gift of Prophecy," she wrote 10 books on psychic phenomena, the paranormal, occult and supernatural. These included "Here and Hereafter," "The World Before Us," "Companions Along the Way," "A World Beyond," "Strangers Among Us," "Threshold to Tomorrow" and "The World to Come."
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