Ann Hagedorn

Born: 1949

Ohio connection: Birth


Ann Hagedorn was born in Dayton, Ohio and grew up in Dayton, Kansas City, and Cleveland. She earned a B.A. in history from Denison University in 1971, an M.S. in information science from the University of Michigan, and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

Also known as Ann Hagedorn Auerbach, she is an award-winning author and journalist, has been a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, and has written for other publications including The Washington Post. She has taught writing at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Her first professional job was on the library faculty at the University of Kansas where she worked as a research librarian and later directed a grant-funded project to compile a reference book on the history of economics. Hagedorn took her first newspaper job at the San Jose Mercury News where she wrote about crime and covered trials in San Francisco’s East Bay region. Her next job was writing for The Wall Street Journal in New York City where she reported on a broad range of subjects, writing front page stories on violent crime in shopping malls, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the longest criminal trial in U.S. history (the McMartin child molestation case), issues of geriatric convicts in federal prisons, securities fraud and penny stock fraud on Wall Street, the travails of takeover artist Paul Bilzerian, the rise and fall of Sasson jeans king Paul Guez, litigation against dogs (especially in canine court in Los Angeles), and may others. She also wrote about legal issues, bankruptcy cases, and numerous federal trials. In 1991, Hagedorn focused her knowledge of fraud and bankruptcy on probing the collapse of America’s premier horse racing dynasty, Calumet Farm. The result was the highly acclaimed book Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., a story of greed and intrigue in the 1980s.

The author left the Wall Street Journal in late 1993 to join the New York Daily News as Special Projects Editor. There, in addition to overseeing projects, she wrote multi-part series on geriatric inmates in New York prisons, New York lawyers who were laundering money for Colombian drug cartels, capital punishment, and a four-part series on George Steinbrenner and the bankruptcy of his shipbuilding empire. Next, she wrote a mini-sequel for the Wild Ride paperback edition and began researching and writing Ransom. After the release of Ransom, Hagedorn wrote a piece for The Washington Post and taught a narrative non-fiction writing course at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she had been giving lectures in various classes for several years. During that time, she discovered a stunning story in the Ohio River Valley that resulted in her third book, Beyond the River. After writing Beyond the River, she taught a writing course at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois, and while in Chicago she began research for Savage Peace.

Hagedorn received a Simons Public Humanities Fellowships for 2009 from the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas which included a two-month residency. Additionally, she has been the Kansas City Public Library’s “Writer in Residence.” She resides in Ripley, Ohio.

Associated Press award for business writing, for article in New York Daily News on George Steinbrenner and his ill-fated American Shipbuilding Company.  The American Booksellers Association has selected Savage Peace as a Book Sense Notable Book,  May 2007. Ohioana Book Award citation winner in nonfiction category, and Most Notable Books in America citation, American Library Association, both 2004, both for Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad. Ohioana Nonfiction Book Award 2008 for Savage Peace.