Belo Corporation records
A Guide to the Collection
[The first Dallas Morning News building]
The Belo Corporation was named after Colonel A.H. Belo in the late 1870s. Originally a newspaper publishing business located in Galveston, Texas, the company moved to Dallas, Texas in the 1880s and developed into a corporation consisting of printing and publishing enterprises, broadcasting stations and an online publishing company. Belo Corporation was renamed Belo Corp. in 2001. In 2008, the corporation split into two separate properties, A.H. Belo Corporation and Belo Corp.
The company originated with the Daily News, a Galveston, Texas newspaper founded in 1842 by Samuel Bangs and continued by Wilbur F. Cherry and Michael Cronican, followed by Willard Richardson, then Col. Alfred Horatio Belo and ultimately G.B. Dealey and his heirs.
Born on May 27, 1839 in Salem, North Carolina, A. H. Belo was educated in private schools in North Carolina and then assisted his father in the family's dry goods mercantile business. Belo was a Confederate army officer during the Civil War, attaining the rank of colonel, and was injured in two battles. In 1865, Colonel Belo traveled to Texas seeking employment and joined Willard Richardson’s publishing business in Galveston as a bookkeeper. In 1868, Belo married Nettie Ennis, the daughter of Cornelius Ennis, a prominent Texas businessman and the couple had two children, Jeannette and Alfred Jr. A.H. Belo became Willard Richardson’s full partner in 1870, and the company was renamed Richardson, Belo & Co. Following Richardson’s death in 1875, Belo bought the remainder of the business and renamed it A.H. Belo & Co. in 1876. Under Belo’s direction and due to his investment in modern print presses, the newspaper flourished and the business became profitable. In addition to the Galveston Daily News, the company also continued to publish the Texas Almanac, founded by Richardson in 1857. In 1885, Belo appointed George Bannerman Dealey to establish The Dallas Morning News as a sister newspaper to the Galveston Daily News. Shortly thereafter, Belo and his family relocated to Dallas. A.H. Belo died on April 29, 1901, in Asheville, North Carolina. His son, Alfred Belo Jr. led the company from 1901 until his death in 1906.
After 1906, G.B. Dealey managed the company on behalf of the Belo heirs. Born in Manchester, England, on September 18, 1859, Dealey had immigrated to Galveston, Texas with his family in the early 1870s. He studied in public schools and worked various jobs until 1874, when he joined the Galveston News as an office boy at the age of fifteen. Dealey continued his education and gained increading responsibility at the Galveston News. In 1885, A.H. Belo appointed him business manager of the newly established Dallas Morning News. He became vice president and general manager of the Belo Corporation in 1906, and president in 1918. The Galveston Daily News was sold in 1923 to W.L. Moody & Co., and the company concentrated all resources on its Dallas operations. In 1922, WFAA, a radio service of The Dallas Morning News, and the first network radio station in Texas started broadcasting. In 1926, G.B. Dealey bought The Dallas Morning News, the Journal (the evening edition of The Dallas Morning News), the Semi-Weekly Farm News and the Texas Almanac from the Belo family and acquired the majority of the Belo Corporation stock. The company was renamed A.H. Belo Corporation. G.B. Dealey died on February 26, 1946 in Dallas.
G.B. Dealey’s successors as chairmen of the board of directors were his widow, Olivia Allen Dealey (1946-1960), son, E.M. (Ted) Dealey (1960-1964), son-in-law, James M. Moroney (1964-1968), grandsons, H. Ben Decherd (1968-1972), Joe M. Dealey (1980-1984), and James M. Moroney Jr. (1984-1986), and great-grandson, Robert W. Decherd (1987-present). Under their leadership, A.H. Belo Corporation became the longest surviving business enterprise in Texas and grew into the additional directions of television broadcasting and online publishing.
Starting in the 1960s, the corporation grew by acquiring several newspaper and television businesses. The article by Judith M. Garrett and Michael V. Hazel, A. H. BELO CORPORATION," in the Handbook of Texas Online summarizes the company’s history. According to the article, “in 1963 Belo purchased seven suburban newspapers, the Arlington Daily News, the Garland Daily News, the Grand Prairie Daily News, the Irving Daily News, the Mid-Cities Daily News, the Richardson Daily News, and the Suburban News, since renamed Metrocrest News, which together form the wholly owned subsidiary DFW Suburban Newspapers, Incorporated. Belo entered the television broadcasting business in 1950 with the acquisition of its principal station WFAA-TV, Channel 8, the ABC affiliate in Dallas. The station had begun broadcasting five months earlier as KBTS-TV. In 1984 Belo purchased four television stations from Dun and Bradstreet: KHOU in Houston; KXTV in Sacramento, California; KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and WVEC in Hampton-Norfolk, Virginia. In 1994 it purchased WWL in New Orleans, Louisiana. In December 1981 A. H. Belo Corporation became a publicly held entity, with its common stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In May 1987 the company reincorporated in the State of Delaware, although its headquarters and operations did not move. In December 1991 Belo acquired the assets of the Dallas Times Herald.” In 1997, A.H. Belo Corp. acquired The Providence Journal Company, The Press Enterprise (Riverside, CA), and several television stations across the country. In 1999 the Denton Publishing Company, publisher of the Denton Chronicle, was purchased.
In 2001, the Belo Corporation changed its name to Belo Corp. In 2008, the broadcasting and print businesses were split into separate properties. A.H. Belo Corporation, covering the print newspaper business, became a publicly-traded company, with Robert W. Decherd as chairman, president and chief Executive Officer. The other property, Belo Corp. currently includes 20 television stations and also operates more than 30 websites under the Interactive Media group.
“Press Tributes: A. H. Belo,” The Dallas Morning News, April 29, 1901
Judith Garrett Segura, Belo: From newspapers to new media. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.
Judith M. Garrett and Michael V. Hazel, A. H. BELO CORPORATION," in the Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Accessed February 28, 2012.
A.H. Belo Corporation website: http://www.ahbelo.com. Accessed March 30, 2012
Belo Corp. website: www.belo.com. Accessed March 30, 2012.
The Belo records cover the period 1842-2007 and include materials related to the establishment and operation of the company in Galveston and then Dallas, the acquisition and operation of its newspaper, print publishing, radio, television and online publishing companies, executive correspondence, annual reports, photographs, artwork, scrapbooks, audio and visual tapes, oral history transcripts, artifacts, newspaper issues and clippings related to Dallas historical events, anniversary issues, bound periodicals and books authored by Belo employees. Also included are documents and visual materials related to the Belo and Dealey families.
Access to Collection:
Collection is open for research use.
Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.
Belo Corporation records, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.
Gift, Belo Corporation, 2010.
The records were processed and arranged by Judith Segura, Belo archivist, before donation to Southern Methodist University. The current arrangement closely follows the original organization provided by the former Belo archival staff. A detailed index accompanies the papers.
Judith Segura wrote the original index to the Belo Corporation archive. Ada Negraru wrote the finding aid based on the index to conform to current DACS rules.
Ada Negraru, 2012.