Elizabeth C. Mooney Papers
Elizabeth Comstock Mooney was born February 8, 1918, in Rome, New York. Mooney graduated from Smith College with the class of 1939, and soon after took work as a civilian secretary for the war effort. In 1943 she became a reporter for the Utica Press and Observer-Dispatch in western New York State. She was made bureau chief in 1945, but left in 1946 after her marriage to Booth Mooney, biographer of President Lyndon Johnson. She then became a free-lance writer, working out of Texas and then Washington, D.C., where she was a member of the Washington Independent Writers.
While raising her two children, Edward (Ted) and Joan, Mooney wrote children's books, including: Jane Addams (Chicago: Follett Pub. Co., 1968), part of the Library of American Heroes Series; The Mystery of the Narrow Land, (Chicago: Follett Pub. Co., 1969), illustrated by Winnie Fitch; and The Sandy Shoes Mystery (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1970), illustrated by Gustave E. Nebel.
When the children had grown, Mooney went back to non-fiction. She did a number of travel articles for magazines and newspapers including Smithsonian, Ladies' Home Journal, Yankee, Washingtonian, Maryland, Redbook, Newsday, and the Boston Globe. For several years she also did a regular column for the Washington Post called "The Weekend Traveler."
She also produced several books, including In the Shadow of the White Plague: A Memoir (New York: Crowell, 1979), about her mother's struggle with tuberculosis; and Alone, Surviving as a Widow (New York: Putnam, 1981), about life after the sudden death of her husband in 1977. Mooney's other full-length works are: Men and Marriage: The Changing Role of Husbands (New York: F. Watts, 1985); Not My Daughter: Facing up to Adolescent Pregnancy, with Katherine Brownell Oettinger, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979); and Country Adventures in Maryland, Virginia & West Virginia (Arlington, VA: Washington Book Trading, 1984), a collection of previously released travel essays.
While doing research for In the Shadow of the White Plague, Mooney became acquainted with Alice Ridenour Wareham, a fellow graduate of Smith College, then residing in Saranac Lake, New York. The two began a correspondence that was to last for nearly seven years, until the effects of an undiagnosed brain tumor limited Mooney's activity. Mooney died on May 20, 1986, in Washington, DC.