Walter Liggett

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Walter William Liggett
Walter W Liggett.jpg
Walter W. Liggett in 1929.
Born (1886-02-14)February 14, 1886
Died December 9, 1935(1935-12-09) (aged 49)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nationality American
Occupation Newspaper editor/Journalist

Walter William Liggett (February 14, 1886 – December 9, 1935), was an American journalist who worked at several newspapers in New York City, including the New York Times, The Sun, New York Post, and the New York Daily News.[1]


He was born on February 14, 1886. He was murdered by a gunshot on December 9, 1935 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was with his wife and daughter after writing an expose on the connection between organized crime and Floyd B. Olson, the governor of Minnesota.[1]


Liggett was a crusading newspaper editor in the Minnesota of the 1930s. Founder of the newspaper Midwest American, he specialized in articles about Minneapolis and Saint Paul organized crime and their political connections.

Soon after alleging links between the criminal syndicate of Kid Cann and the administration of Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olson, Liggett was beaten up, prosecuted on trumped-up kidnapping and sodomy charges (and acquitted), and finally died after being machine gunned in the alley behind his apartment on December 9, 1935, in view of his wife and two children. His murder remains unsolved.

Liggett had a noteworthy career, leaving college after a year and working for a succession of newspapers in Saint Paul, Skagway, Alaska, Washington state, and New York City. In 1929-1930, he vaulted to national prominence with a series of articles for Plain Talk magazine which described the corruption wrought by Prohibition on American cities such as Washington, D.C., Boston and Minneapolis. When Congress held its first ever hearings on the efficacy of Prohibition in February 1930, he was the first witness to testify.

Liggett was an activist for the North Dakota-Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party. He helped set up weekly newspapers to support the cause. He was also outspoken on a number of controversial issues. Among other stands, Liggett opposed American involvement in the First World War, campaigned on behalf of both Sacco and Vanzetti and Thomas Mooney.

During the 1932 Presidential election, Liggett published a negative biography of Herbert Hoover, The Rise of Herbert Hoover. He harbored a long-held enmity for Hoover dating to the Russian famine of 1921 when, as head of a relief organization, he was investigated for possible Soviet ties by the Bureau of Investigation on Hoover's behest as Secretary of Commerce.

His daughter, Marda Liggett Woodbury, a professional librarian, authored an account of Liggett's life and assassination which was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1998.

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  1. ^ a b "Walter William Liggett". New York University. Retrieved 2012-09-29. "Walter William Liggett (1886-1935), American author, journalist and political activist from Minnesota, worked at several newspapers in New York City, including the New York Times, Sun, New York Post, Daily News, and the Socialist publication, The Call, before becoming a free-lance writer. ..." 
  • Woodbury, Marda Liggett, Stopping the Presses: The Murder of Walter W. Liggett. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (1998)

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