Press Club of Dallas
The Press Club of Dallas began in the late 1940's and was created by members of the two Dallas newspapers at the time, The Dallas Morning News and The Dallas Times-Herald. Most of the early meetings were actually late-night poker games that eventually started attracting the attention of more and more reporters. The Press Club of Dallas adopted its first constitution in November of 1950, and became official in 1951 when it received its charter from the State of Texas. The first president of the Club was one of its original founders Harry McCormick, a reporter for The Dallas Morning News. McCormick claimed that "The primary purpose of our club is to provide a place for social and professional fellowship among working newsman." In the beginning the club had approximately 100 members.
The first official location of the Press Club was on the 2nd floor of the Baker Hotel which the Club took up residency in the spring of 1951. The bar and dining room led to a major upswing in membership that not only included newspaper reporters, photographers, and production personnel, but also personalities from radio and the newest form of media at the time, television. During this time the Club also began many of its traditional annual events such as the Gridiron Show and the Katie Awards. The Gridiron Show is an awards show that honors and roasts the top media personnel in city. The first show took place on April 21st, 1951.
The Press Club of Dallas came under the eye of the nation in the 1960's with assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas. Much of the news concerning the event that was distributed across the nation came from members of the Press Club. The way that the members of the Dallas Press Club covered the story helped to shape the way that major news stories were covered, largely in the area of television.
The Club was doing very well and by the mid-seventies boasted an approximate membership of over 1000. In 1975 the Club held a huge 25th annual Gridiron Show at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Dallas. The club moved locations several times from this point on to places like the Metropolitan building, Union Station, the Stoneleigh Hotel, and the Southland Hotel. It was determined in the 1990's however that the expense of running a dining room was too great and no longer economically viable for the Club to maintain.
The contents of the collection range frm 1958-1979 with the bulk of the materials falling between 1975-1977. The collection contains meeting minutes, both typed and handwritten, monthly financial statements, and various memoranda.
The memoranda contains information such as activity schedules, new member applications, reinstatements, and resignations, deliquent account figures, and membership statistics.
Also contained within the collection is a small amount of correspondence from various club members, member contact lists, by-laws revisions, 2 copies of the "Press Club of Dallas Bulletin from Aug. 18, 1975 and Nov. 22, 1976, 2 programs from the Club's annual Gridiron show from 1958 and 1973, and the songlist from the 1979 Gridiron show.
MA09-9 Press Club of Dallas, Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library
Processed by Jeff Parker
Detailed Description of the Collection