Virginia McLean Thompson

Portrait of Virginia McLean  Thompson

Virginia Mc Lean Thompson, also Virginia Adloff or Virginia Thompson Adloff (18 Oct 1903, Newtonville, MA - 9 Jan 1990, San Diego, CA, USA) was an American travel writer, international relations analyst, political scientist, translator and author who covered extensively Southeast Asia, publishing -- alone or with her husband Richard Adloff -- some 20 books dealing with French Polynesia, French colonialism in Equatorial Africa, and Southeast Asia during colonial and post-colonial times.

While completing her studies at Vassar College, then a doctorate from Columbia University, she developed an interest in French language and culture. "Virginia Thompson, who is now a Ph.D., has written a book on French Indo-China, published by Macmillan. Probably you have all seen the enthusiastic reviews of French Riviera Villages, with text by Virginia, aquatints by Augusta Rathbone and photographs by Juliet Thompson, ’22. It was published this spring, and it is a beautiful book," stated the Vassar Quarterly (XXIII, 6, 1 June 1938).

In World War II Virginia Thompson was with the Office of War Information, specializing on Southeast Asia. The OWI was a Federal agency in charge of the dissemination of all official news in the United States and abroad and of propaganda abroad (except in Latin America, which was the province of the Office of Inter-American Affairs), terminated by an executive order of August 31, 1945.

After the war, she and her husband contributed to scholarly journals, translated works from the French and wrote books such as ''The Left Wing in Southeast Asia,'' published in 1950; ''The Emerging States of French Equatorial Africa,'' (1960), and ''The French Pacific Islands: French Polynesia and New Caledonia'' (1971), focusing on areas then undergoing communist uprisings.

Teaching political science at several institutions with diverse political orientations, including the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the liberal University of California, Berkeley, she became in 1973 the first American woman elected to France's 250-member Academie des Sciences d'Outre-Mer.

Virginia Thompson and Richard Adloff's personal papers are kept at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives.