Historical Note


As a writer, photographer, and editor, Louise Lux-Sions had offered cultural commentary since the mid-20th century. During the 1940s and 1950s, she contributed book reviews and other literary-related articles to the New York Times (NYT), writing under her maiden name. She also provided some of the photographic illustrations in a 1947 book on India and the contemporary end of British rule, and a 1964 autobiography by the Irish writer Sean O'Faolain. Lux-Sions also photographed her experiences in China when she traveled there as public relations director of the American Red Cross during WWII. Almost 30 years later, she recalled her experience there in a NYT letter to the editor. Equating the situation then to the current events of Vietnam, Lux-Sions railed against the blind eye of the United States as it funded a "faction-ridden army and government bureaucracy" in the name of promoting America's pacification policy. Having witnessed humanitarian supplies being diverted for sale and hoarding under the watch of Chiang Kai-shek, Lux-Sions stated that she could no longer keep quiet and "finally exploded" in a letter to Red Cross headquarters. Approximately 50 years after her visit, Lux-Sions once again made China the topic of her writings. This examination, however, looked back centuries to the time of the Manchu (or Qing) Dynasty in a work Lux-Sions published privately in 1998 entitled, "The Unsullied Dynasty & the K'ang-hsi Emperor."

Perhaps her inclination to speak out is what attracted Lux-Sions to her husband, Harry Sions. Sions was a war correspondent and well-known book and magazine editor. In 1964, after serving 18 years as editorial director, Sions and three other editors resigned from Holiday, a travel magazine by Curtis Publishing Co. The editors left in protest to the direction of the magazine after the death of the publication's long-time editor Ted Patrick. According to a 1974 obituary of Sions, a group of prominent writers, artists and photographers responded to this group resignation with a large advertisement in the New York Times as a "'salute' to the four who resigned as 'good editors.'" Lux-Sions was his assistant at Holiday Magazine. They married in 1947.

As a benefactor to several institutions, Lux-Sions remained a civic supporter. In addition to serving as a member of the Fiske Kimball Society of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, she endowed exhibition funding, college scholarships and other programs to promote education and support libraries. She was an active member and supporter of the Library Company of Philadelphia, a research facility specializing in 17th- to 19th-century American history and culture. Lux-Sions died on August 14, 2007 at the age of 94.