This post is part of the WLA blog’s 2022 series written by guest writers. These writers are graduate students in the Public History program at Loyola University Chicago. Each visited the archives during Fall 2021, delved into the collections, and wrote about a topic not yet explored here. We are excited to share their research and perspectives!
On April 26, 1967, Svetlana Alliluyeva captivated the world with her eloquent and charming performance during her first American press conference at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Svetlana had arrived at JFK airport five days earlier to a crowd reportedly larger than the one waiting for the Beatles in 1964 . Perceived as a moral blow and international embarrassment for the Soviet Union, the American arrival of Svetlana, Stalin’s daughter, was one of the Cold War’s most public and symbolic defections. Svetlana rode in on a wave of flashing lights, interviews, and book deals. She handled herself so well on the public stage that the head of her PR team told reporters, “She is an intellectual exhibitionist. She needs an audience,” . But the audience would soon lose interest. Over the next couple of decades, Svetlana would navigate a series of setbacks on her circuitous journey for self-realization and spiritual fulfillment, a journey that would take her through the halls of Mundelein College.Continue reading