William V. Shannon

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William V. Shannon
William Vincent Shannon.jpg
United States Ambassador to Ireland
In office
July 20, 1977 – June 7, 1981
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byWalter Curley
Succeeded byPeter H. Dailey
Personal details
Born(1927-08-24)August 24, 1927
Worcester, Massachusetts
DiedSeptember 27, 1988(1988-09-27) (aged 61)
Boston, Massachusetts
Spouse(s)Elizabeth McNelly
Alma materClark University
Harvard University
OccupationJournalist, author

William Vincent Shannon (August 24, 1927 – September 27, 1988) was an American journalist, author, and United States Ambassador to Ireland from 1977 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter.[1]


Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Shannon earned an bachelor's degree from Clark University in 1947, and a masters degree in history from Harvard University in 1948.[2][3]

From 1951 to 1964, Shannon was a Washington correspondent and columnist for the New York Post, and from 1964 until 1977, he was an editorial writer for The New York Times.[3] He also authored the books The American Irish: A Political and Social Portrait (1964), The Heir Apparent (1967), and They Could Not Trust the King (1974). He was coauthor of The Truman Merry-Go-Round (1950) and published many articles.[4]

Shannon served on the board of directors of the American Irish Foundation. In 1975 he received the Gold Medal of the Éire Society of Boston for service to literature. He was an associate fellow of Yale University's Morse College from 1966, and in 1961–62 was fellow-in-residence at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, California.

In 1977, Shannon was appointed ambassador to Ireland by President Carter. After confirmation by the Senate, he presented his credentials to Irish leaders on July 20, 1977, and had the official title of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. He served as ambassador until June 7, 1981.[1]

In 1981, Shannon joined Boston University and taught an American Presidency course and conducted graduate seminars in journalism; he also wrote for The Boston Globe.[3] Shannon died in Boston in 1988 of lymphoma, at age 61.[3] Boston University established the William V. Shannon Memorial Fellowships in his memory, to benefit Irish citizens pursuing graduate study at the university.[5]


  • Allen, Robert S.; Shannon, William V. (1950). The Truman Merry-Go-Round. New York City: Vanguard Press. OCLC 247743294.
  • Shannon, William V. (1963). The American Irish. New York City: Macmillan Publishers. OCLC 872955564.
  • Shannon, William V. (1974). They Could Not Trust The King. Stanley Tretick (photographer). New York City: Collier Books. ISBN 9780020747406.
  • Shannon, William V. (1967). The Heir Apparent: Robert Kennedy and the Struggle for Power. New York City: Macmillan Publishers. OCLC 492135017.
  • Shannon, William V. (1985). A Quiet Broker?. New York City: Priority Press. ISBN 9780870781636.


  1. ^ a b "William Vincent Shannon (1927–1988)". history.state.gov. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  2. ^ "William V. Shannon, 61, Envoy Under Carter and a Times Writer". The New York Times. AP. September 28, 1988. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Fowler, Glenn (September 29, 1988). "William V. Shannon Dies at 61; Author and Former Ambassador". The New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  4. ^ "United States Ambassador to Ireland - Nomination of William V. Shannon" (Press release). June 20, 1977. Retrieved April 22, 2017 – via The American Presidency Project.
  5. ^ "Ties to Ireland". bu.edu. March 20, 2006. Retrieved April 22, 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Walter J.P. Curley Jr.
United States Ambassador to Ireland
Succeeded by
Peter H. Dailey