Price, Mary Wolfe (1909-1980)

An American who was named by Elizabeth Bentley as part of Jacob Golos‘ spy network.

Born in North Carolina, Price graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1931. She worked for a time at the Greensboro Daily News and later moved to New York, where she was employed in various secretarial positions. In the late 1930s, she accompanied her sister and brother-in-law on a trip to the Soviet Union, and upon her return she went to work for American journalist Walter Lippman. After several years of work with Lippman, Price took a job as an assistant reporter for Business Week. In 1945, she left New York and returned to North Carolina to open a state office of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. Later, she became an activist in the campaign of Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace. In the summer of 1948, however, she was accused by Elizabeth Bentley of being a Soviet spy – and spent the next decade battling accusations of Communist espionage, which made it hard for her to keep jobs. Eventually, Price went to work for the National Council of Churches, but had to take early retirement after a serious accident. 1

Mary Wolfe Price was identified as “possibly” having been the Soviet asset code-named “Dir,” who appears in a few Soviet intelligence cables, beginning in mid-1944, which were partially decrypted in the course of the American “Venona” counterintelligence operation.

  1. Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007). –