About this Famous Person

Whittaker CHAMBERS

American Whittaker CHAMBERS

born Jay Vivian CHAMBERS

American writer and editor, after being a Communist Party USA member and Soviet spy

Source :  Tim DOWLING

Born: on April 01, 1901 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: on July 09, 1961 in Westminster, Maryland, USA


Whittaker Chambers was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania spending his infancy in Brooklyn. His family moved to Lynbrook on Long Island, New York in 1904, where he grew up and attended school. His parents were named Jay Chambers and Laha. Chambers described his childhood as troubled because of his parents separation and caring for their mentally ill grandmother. Chambers' brother committed suicide shortly after withdrawing from his first year of college. Chambers would cite his brother's troubled life and eventual suicide as one of many reasons that he was drawn to communism as a young man.

After graduating from South Side High School in neighboring Rockville Centre in 1919, Chambers worked at a variety of jobs before attending Williams College in 1920. He later enrolled as a day student at Columbia University. At Columbia his fellow students included Meyer Schapiro, Louis Zukofsky, Clifton Fadiman, John Gassner, Lionel Trilling (who later fictionalized him as a main character in his novel The Middle of the Journey), and Guy Endore. In the intellectual environment of Columbia he gained friends and respect. His professors and fellow students found him a talented writer and believed he might become a major poet or novelist.

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- Category Author, Publisher, Producer