Eric Friedheim (1910-2002)

In a career that spanned more than 60 years, Eric Arthur Friedheim personified and shaped the travel and tourism industries into what they are today. As owner, publisher and editor-in-chief of the weekly Travel Agent Magazine he reported on all major developments in travel and tourism, logging over a million miles and 150 countries and eventually winning a place in the Travel Hall of Fame and a seat on the Tourism Advisory Board to the President of the United States.

Born in London, England, the son of Arthur Friedheim, one of the most celebrated concert pianists of his time, Eric moved to New York City with his family when he was nine. Although he shared his father’s love of music – he later endowed the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards and the music library at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University – Eric gravitated to career in journalism. Dropping out of college after only two years for lack of funds, he joined the International News Service (INS) as Washington Correspondent, covering, among other beats, the White House.

As a combat correspondent for Air Force Magazine World War II, Friedheim survived a plane crash behind German lines and wrote a book, “Fighters Up”, about the experience. After the war he was one of the first travel journalists to visit the Soviet Union, and the first American travel journalist admitted to the People’s Republic of China. In 1951, he bought Travel Agent Magazine, founded as a monthly magazine in 1930, but struggling at the time. Under his guidance, the publication flourished for nearly five decades. He sold it in 1978, but remained Editor-in-Chief until 2000, using his weekly Opinion columns to illuminate trends in travel and tourism and to put the industry’s latest issues into a perspective that earned him the respected title of “Dean of the Travel Industry.”

Besides the new Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute at UF, the Eric Friedheim Foundation provides funding for the Eric Friedheim Center of Communication at his alma mater, American University, in Washington, D.C.; the Eric Friedheim Library at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.; and, through Tourism Cares, which grants academic scholarships for graduate study in Travel and Tourism.