John Bartlow Martin (Hamilton, Ohio, 4 August 1915 - Highland Park, Illinois, 3 January 1987) was an American diplomat, author of 15 books, ambassador, and speechwriter and confidant to many Democratic politicians including Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Hubert Humphrey.
Martin was born in Hamilton, Ohio to John, a carpenter and contractor, and Laura Bartlow Martin, and as a young child moved to Indianapolis. Martin grew up in an unhappy childhood, plagued by the death of his two brothers. He graduated from high school at age 16 and was expelled in his first year from DePauw University, but he later graduated there with a degree in journalism.
With the impact of his dark childhood and onset of the Great Depression, Martin's early journalism career focused on deep concern for the underprivileged and forgotten, such as criminals, the impoverished, the working class, and the mentally ill. His work appeared in such publications as Saturday Evening Post, LIFE, Colliers, Atlantic Monthly, and Harper's. He won the highest magazine writing honor, the Benjamin Franklin Magazine Award, for four consecutive years. A true crime article Martin wrote, "Smashing the Bookie Gang Marauders" was made into the successful 1949 movie Scene of the Crime. It was the only movie based on his work.
Martin was hired in 1952 as a speechwriter by Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, and later worked on the Kennedy presidential campaign. Martin was sent by Kennedy on a fact-finding mission to the Dominican Republic after the assassination of the dictator Rafael Trujillo in May 1961, and delivered his report in September. In gratitude for his analysis, he became the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, serving from 9 March 1962 to 25 September 1963. As Ambassador, Martin was an unrelenting critic of the new president, Juan Bosch. According to the historian Stephen G. Rabe, Martin "fancied himself a Roman consul whose word should be law in the Dominican Republic." Martin resigned shortly after the Kennedy assassination, on the very day in which Bosch was toppled in a coup d'etat, but he returned to the Dominican Republic as a special envoy in 1965 during the invasion dispatched by Johnson.
In 2008, The Library of America selected his story "Butcher's Dozen" for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.
| United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic
9 March 1962 - 25 September 1963
W. Tapley Bennett, Jr.