Meet Guy Moyston

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John Guy Moyston (1884-1962) was a newspaper reporter and foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, a playwright, and — for a time during the 1920s — the boyfriend of Rose Wilder Lane.  While living at the Wilders' Rocky Ridge farm near Mansfield, Missouri, Lane wrote hundreds of letters to Moyston, which are held at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.  Her correspondence provides an invaluable portrait of her time there, including many glimpses of her parents' lives.  Moyston visited Rocky Ridge for several months in 1924, and Almanzo and Laura Wilder both grew fond of him, clearly hoping that Rose might settle down and remarry.  Judging by her letters, she was deeply in love with him but eventually decided that she could never commit to another person.  She broke off their relationship in 1928.

Lane and Moyston had met in San Francisco, where Moyston joined the AP in 1910.  He apparently served as Lane's self-appointed literary agent in selling her spurious 1915 Charlie Chaplin "autobiography" to a book publisher, appearing in the correspondence about this work.  He was posted to the AP's London bureau in 1918, and by all accounts went on to have a fascinating career as a foreign correspondent, .  According to his New York Times obituary, he reported on the surrender of the German fleet at the close of WWI and in 1919 traveled to the Finnish border with Russia with the anarchist Emma Goldman.  Just before crossing the border, Goldman was said to have flung her arms impulsively around Moyston's neck and kissed him.

Most notably, Moyston covered the Irish War of Independence.  On one dramatic occasion, he was "blindfolded and whisked to an unknown destination at breakneck speed" for an interview with Éamon de Valera, a Republican leader of the 1916 Easter Rising.  After months of reporting on bombings, raids, and killings, Moyston vividly described in an AP newsletter the physical effects of what we would now term PTSD, saying that he jumped at every slammed door and backfiring car.  "The tension to which I had been screwed up so long in Ireland had snapped and a sharp reaction had occurred," he wrote.  In her letters, Lane would often express concern for the physical and mental exhaustion he continued to feel.

Lane and Moyston worked on a couple of projects together, including a one-act play, Fanutza, drawn from a Konrad Bercovici short story.  Although Moyston never found success as a playwright, he was instrumental in furthering Margaret Sanger's contraceptive movement, co-founding the Holland-Rantos Company, a pioneer in the manufacture of safe and effective diaphragms.  He eventually married a younger woman, Jill Lamar Middleton, and died in his New York apartment in 1962 at the age of 78.

Caroline Fraser