Biographical Information:

Dates: 1912-2002Dates in Ridgefield: 1969-2002
poetry, nonfictionpoet, educator
Dr. John Norman, long a student of the people and of politics of the world – from his days in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency) to his years as a college professor--the Cooper Road resident watched closely what people of other nations were saying. During World War II, as an OSS field representative, he debriefed many who fled the Nazis – such as writers Thomas Mann and Lion Feuchtwanger (whose escape was engineered by another Ridgefielder, Varian Fry). What refugees reported was turned over to the State Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and intelligence officers. “They were walking encyclopedias on names, dates, places and politics of their respective countries,” Dr. Norman said in a 1984 interview. The professor taught history and political science at Syracuse University, Carnegie Institute, and Fairfield, and Pace Universities. Author of many articles and two books on political subjects, Edward Gibbon Wakefield and Labor and Politics in Libya, he was a voracious reader of publications, even propaganda, from around the world. “Propaganda lets you know what that country wants you to believe, and that’s important,” he told Ridgefield Republicans in 1980. He was also a widely published poet; Life Lines, a collection of his work, came out in 1997 on the occasion of his 85th birthday. A Ridgefielder since the early 1970s and a longtime member of the Democratic Town Committee, Dr. Norman often spoke out on local issues, especially education.
Titles:Edward Gibbon Wakefield: A Political Reappraisal, 1963Labor and Politics in Libya and Arab Africa, 1965Lifelines, 1997