Coughlan, Robert, 1914-1992
- Existence: 1914 - 1992
John Robert “Bob” Coughlan was born July 7, 1914, to William Henry and Lucille DeNevers Coughlan in Kokomo, Indiana. He enrolled in Northwestern University’s School of Commerce in 1932 and in the same year was awarded a prestigious scholarship by the F. C. Austin Scholarship Foundation. He remained an Austin Scholar until his graduation from Northwestern in June, 1936. In his freshman and sophomore years Coughlan was an assistant in the Syllabus yearbook editorial department; president of the sophomore class; president of the Independent Council; a member of Purple Key, the Junior Men’s Honorary Fraternity, the Men’s Union Relations Committee, and other Northwestern student organizations. As a senior Coughlan organized Northwestern’s first mock political convention.
After Coughlan graduated in 1936 he worked as an editorial assistant at the publishing company Harcourt, Brace and Company in Chicago. Only a few months later he joined the staff of Fortune magazine as an apprentice writer and within a few years was promoted to associate editor, where he was responsible for coverage of politics, war strategy, business and theatre. In 1943 Coughlan left that position to work as a text editor at Life magazine. During an assignment in Europe in 1949 he wrote articles on Clement Attlee, Marshal Tito, Richard Nixon, Princess Margaret and other political figures. Back in the United States he focused his research and writings on various topics such as drugs, sleep, child psychology, climate, politics, religion and the Ku Klux Klan.
Coughlan served as a writer-editor for Life magazine until 1970. He then joined the John F. Kennedy Foundation as an editorial associate, assisting Rose Kennedy in compiling and writing her autobiography Times to Remember, which was published in 1974. Coughlan held this position until his retirement in 1974.
Throughout his career as a journalist, Coughlan wrote several books, among them Tropical Africa, published in 1962, and Elizabeth and Catherine, published in 1974. Both are included in this collection.
Robert Coughlan died on May 9, 1992 in Southampton Hospital in New York. He was survived by his wife Patricia Ann Collins, whom he had married on June 30, 1939, and his children Robert, Brian, Kevin, and Cynthia.