American journalist. Daughter of Abram Wiley Rodgers (1823-1883) and Isabella Dick Saffell (1844-1927), of Watsonville, CA, both of them natives of East Tennessee. Viola Rodgers was a well-known crime and society reporter for major U.S. newspapers in the decades prior to WWI. She was educated in San Francisco's prestigious Irving Institute for young women, where her widowed mother was employed as an instructor. She lived in San Francisco, Syracuse, St. Louis, New York City, London, and several other major cities while reporting for the Hearst newspapers and the Saturday Evening Post. Viola moved to Paris, France, around the time of WWI and served as a nurse in a local French hospital to support the war effort. She became well known in France for hosting European and American visitors and entertaining the U.S. expatriate community. In 1926 Miss Rodgers purchased a château in Lardy, Seine-et-Oise, south of Paris, where she lived for most of the rest of her life. During WWII, she was interned for some time in a prison camp in Vittel by invading Nazi forces and was only allowed to return to her home in Lardy shortly before her death. She never married. (Although Viola Rodgers claimed to have been born in San Francisco in 1878--and contended that her birth records had been destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire--census records and newspaper accounts from the early 1870s seem to contradict these assertions.)
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