University of Texas Arlington

Society of Professional Journalists Records, Fort Worth Chapter:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi. Fort Worth Chapter.
Title: Society of Professional Journalists Records, Fort Worth Chapter
Inclusive Dates: 1950-1996
Bulk Dates: 1982-1995
Abstract: The Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter, chartered in 1946, is a non-profit professional organization for journalists. Correspondence, minutes, financial records, by-laws and constitution, membership records, annual reports, newsletters, newspapers, plaques, slides, photographs, negatives, scripts, audio tapes, and video tapes of the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter, and the Texas Gridiron Club. The video and audio tapes are recordings of the Gridiron Club dinners and shows from 1955-1957, 1968, and 1979-1996. The annual Gridiron-produced newpaper, Yellow Jaundice, for 1950-1995 is included. A large portion of the records concerns fundraising projects. Also included is a charter and minutes of the Press Club of Fort Worth, 1969-1979. The records reflect the current thinking of working journalists and are useful for the study of Texas political history, 1950-1996.
Identification: AR392
Extent: 7 boxes (3.5 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Historical Note

The Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) was chartered in 1946 as a non-profit organization. Like the national organization to which it belongs, the Fort Worth Chapter espouses two main goals. These are to encourage the field of journalism as a career by providing scholarships and other support to students, and to promote the rights of journalists to a free and unbiased press.

Originally the Society of Professional Journalists, the parent organization, was known as the Sigma Delta Chi. It started in 1909 as a journalism fraternity at DePauw University. Over the years it became, first, the Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi, and, finally, just the Society of Professional Journalists. These records reflect these name changes.

The fundraising arm of the Fort Worth Chapter of the SPJ is the Texas Gridiron Club (TGC), which was formed in 1947 as a non-profit subsidiary. The main purpose of the TGC is the annual production of the Gridiron Show and Dinner, a spoof of politics and politicians. A newspaper, the Yellow Jaundice, is produced in conjunction with the annual show and dinner. Local politicians and media celebrities perform in the show as well as attend it. While Governor of Texas, Ann Richards participated in the annual show, as has the Honorable Jim Wright.

Many hundreds of volunteer man-hours are needed to produce the Gridiron Show, dinner, and newspaper every year. These volunteers do everything from writing the scripts to casting the actors, from finding reliable caterers to selling tickets. At the same time, they are performing the myriad tasks involved in publishing a newspaper, including soliciting ads.

The work doesn't stop with the production of the show. Organizers immediately begin to make next year's event even better. Research is begun in various ways. Formal surveys are taken, people are interviewed, and letters written soliciting feedback and suggestions for improvement. All of this requires enormous dedication and commitment from all involved.

This huge investment of time and energy has paid off over the years. Since its inception, the Fort Worth Chapter of the SPJ has awarded more than $400,000 in scholarships to further the education of those interested in a career in journalism. All of this money was raised by the Gridiron Show productions and the publication of the Yellow Jaundice.

In addition to providing scholarships to deserving individuals, the organization has been active with other programs designed to enhance the field of journalism. It has twice in recent years, 1990 and 1994, won national awards of excellence. Although the officers and members have changed over the years, the group has remained an active voice in Texas to this day.

Sources:


  • Emery, Edwin and Michael Emery. The Press and America. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1978.
  • Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism. MacMillan Company. New York, 1964.

Scope and Contents

These records consist of material relating to the operations of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, as well as its fundraising arm, the Texas Gridiron Club. Included are correspondence, the local newsletter, bank statements, financial statements, tax records, the Yellow Jaundice, research surveys, financial ledger pages, photographs, negatives, slides, videotapes, both professional and home format, artifacts, and reel to reel tape. It is contained in five document boxes, one record storage box, and one oversize box, totaling 3.6 linear feet. The records are organized in seven series.

Series I contains the organizational records of the group. This material is mainly concerned with the actual running of the organization. It includes policies and by-laws, correspondence, minutes and agendas, membership rosters, information about the scholarships given and other projects.

Series II consists of material pertaining to the annual fundraiser, the Gridiron Dinner and Show. In addition to meeting reports and minutes, correspondence, and planning data, it contains information about the writing of the shows. There are fourteen folders of the Yellow Jaundice, dating from 1950 to 1995.

Series III contains the financial records of the organization from 1981 to 1995. Bank statements, financial statements, ledger pages, and tax records are located here.

Series IV is concerned with the Press Club of Fort Worth, a nonprofit association of journalists. It was formed to promote fellowship, encourage the highest standards of independence and professional integrity in journalists, and maintain clubrooms where members could meet. This series consists of three folders containing corporate records and minutes for a short period of time. Because they had similar interests and members, these records have become intermingled with those of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Series V contains the personal correspondence of Ann Owens Gilliland. Ms. Gilliland was an active member and officer of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Series VI is audio-visual material, part of which is organized in 2 subseries: Home Video Format and Professional Video Format. It contains recordings of the annual Gridiron Dinner and Show on professional and home video tape, and reel to reel tape. It also includes slides, photographs, and negatives.

Series VII consists of two wall plaques. One is the Circle of Excellence Award and the other is for outstanding contribution to the Society and to the profession in general. Both awards were given by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Much of the records are concerned with the production of the annual Gridiron Dinner and Show and its accompanying publication, the Yellow Jaundice. Since its inception this all-volunteer fundraiser has provided more than $400,000 in scholarships. As with any volunteer organization, there are many gaps in the record keeping. In addition, the records of this organization, from its beginning in 1946 to 1982, are missing.

The near complete collection of the Yellow Jaundice provides insight into the political tenor of this country and of Fort Worth from 1950 to the present. In addition, the video recordings show many political figures performing at the annual Gridiron Show. These often show a candid and humorous side to the politician, which could be valuable to the researcher.


 

Organization

The records are organized in seven series:
Series I. Organizational Records, 1982-1996. 0.25 linear ft. (0.6 document box, 13 folders)
Series II. Gridiron Show, 1950-1993. 0.75 linear ft. (1.8 document boxes, 22 folders)
Series III. Financial Records, 1981-1995. 0.375 linear ft. (0.75 document box, 11 folders)
Series IV. The Press Club of Fort Worth, 1969-1979. 0.04 linear ft. (0.1 document box, 3 folders)
Series V. Ann Owens Gilliland Correspondence, 1989-1990. 0.125 linear ft. (0.3 document box, 2 folders)
Series VI. Audio-Visual Material, 1956-1996. 1.82 linear ft. (1.2 document boxes, 1 record center box, 3 folders)
Series VII. Artifacts, 1990-1994. 0.25 linear ft. (1 oversize box)
The processing archivist determined the series order.

Restrictions

Access

Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Organizations
Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi. Fort Worth Chapter--Records and correspondence.
Texas Gridiron Show--Records and correspondence.
Press Club of Fort Worth--Records and correspondence.
Subjects
Journalists--Texas--Fort Worth.
Satire, American--Texas--Fort Worth.
Alternate Titles
Historical Manuscript Collection

Related Material

Unprocessed mss. 97-35: Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter, Records (1991-1997)


Administrative Information

Citation

Society of Professional Journalists Records, Fort Worth Chapter, AR392, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.

Acquisition

Gift, July 24, 1996.

Accessioned as number 96-40.

The Society of Professional Journalists Records, Fort Worth Chapter, were donated by Ann Gilliland to The University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections.

Processing Information

Discarded material included the following: canceled checks, check stubs, unused checks, duplicates of material, invoices, expense chits, and receipts.


 Note to the Researcher 

The older copies of the Yellow Jaundice are yellowing and should be handled with care. Much of the political commentary and satire of the Gridiron Shows is preserved in a professional video format and cannot be played in Special Collections.


Container List

 

Series I. Organizational Records, 1982-1996.
Extent 0.25 linear ft. (0.6 document box, 13 folders)

Arranged alphabetically and thereunder chronologically. Material includes Board of Directors meeting agendas and minutes; bylaws and policy information; annual reports made to parent organization; local newsletter; general correspondence; programs for general meetings; membership rosters; scholarships and other projects.
Box Folder
1 1 Annual Reports, 1982-1987
Standard report forms that each chapter filled out and submitted to the national organization reporting chapter activities for the year.
2 Board of Directors Meeting Agendas, 1982-1991.
List of topics to be covered in each Board of Directors meeting--several months and years missing.
3 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1982-1993.
Standard meeting minutes with the years 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, most of 1989, 1990 and 1993 missing. Includes the proposal (undated) for reorganization of the Texas Gridiron Club.
4 By-laws, 1982.
Association by-laws adopted in January 1982 and revised at unknown time.
5 The Chaser, 1989-1996.
The newsletter for the local chapter, many issues missing.
6 Correspondence, 1983-1993, bulk 1990-1992.
Letters of a general nature concerning the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter, and the Texas Gridiron Club.
7 Meeting Programs, 1989-1995.
Program planning for monthly membership meetings, most are missing.
8 Membership, 1982-1991.
Membership rosters.
9 Membership, 1995.
Computer print out of membership roster.
10 Membership, 1996.
Computer print out of membership roster and miscellaneous membership information.
11 Policies, 1974-1987,
Includes such policy-making information as the national Code of Ethics and Membership Eligibility Guide.
12 Projects, 1982-1990.
Information about projects sponsored by the Fort Worth Chapter of the SPJ, such as Journalism Writing Contest, Project Watchdog, and Newsmaker of the Year Awards.
13 Scholarship, 1982-1996, bulk 1982-1990.
Letters to institutions and students about scholarship money and thank you letters from scholarship recipients.



 

Series II. Gridiron Show, 1950-1993.
Extent 0.75 linear ft. (1.8 document boxes, 22 folders)

Arranged alphabetically and thereunder chronologically. Contains meeting reports and minutes; planning and presentation items; scripts, rough drafts of scripts, and ideas for scripts; correspondence; ticket sales; one issue of the Fort Worth Press; ad sales for the Yellow Jaundice; 14 folders of the Yellow Jaundice from 1950 to 1995.
Box Folder
1 14 The Fort Worth Press, 1951.
One issue with front page photograph of Gridiron Show personalities. Inside picture of Ray Finney, the winner of the Leather Medal, an honor given by the Gridiron Club.
15 Gridiron Show Correspondence, 1989-1993.
Letters requesting people to either be in the Gridiron Show or to attend the show.
16 Gridiron Show Meeting Reports and Minutes, 1990-1993.
Organizational meetings for the Gridiron Show.
Box Folder
2 1 Gridiron Show Planning/Presentation, 1989-1992.
Suggestions for ways to improve the Gridiron Show, correspondence from caterers and other suppliers, samples of tickets and show programs.
2 Gridiron Show Research, 1991.
Pre and post show survey results, including verbatim comments from people who attended.
3 Gridiron Show Scripts and Materials, 1989-1992.
Brainstorming ideas, parts of scripts, skit outlines.
4 Gridiron Show Ticket Sales, 1990-1992.
Lists of people who purchased tickets, many lists undated.
5 Yellow Jaundice, 1950-1959.
The annual newspaper, published in conjunction with the Gridiron Show and Dinner, spoofing local and national politics and politicians. Missing issues 1954, 1956.
6 Yellow Jaundice, 1960-1962.
Same as above.
7 Yellow Jaundice, 1963-1965.
Same as above.
8 Yellow Jaundice, 1966-1969.
Same as above.
9 Yellow Jaundice, 1970-1971.
Same as above.
10 Yellow Jaundice, 1972-73.
Same as above.
11 Yellow Jaundice, 1974-75.
Same as above.
12 Yellow Jaundice, 1976-77.
Same as above.
Box Folder
3 1 Yellow Jaundice, 1978-79.
Same as above.
2 Yellow Jaundice, 1981-82.
Same as above. 1980 issue missing.
3 Yellow Jaundice, 1984-85.
Same as above. 1983 issue missing. Beginning in 1984 some of the Yellow Jaundice editions have been given names that satirize other publications.
4 Yellow Jaundice, 1986-87.
Same as above.
5 Yellow Jaundice, 1988-1992.
Same as above. 1989 and 1991 issues are missing.
6 Yellow Jaundice, 1993-1995.
Same as above.
7 Yellow Jaundice Ad Sales, 1982-1993, bulk 1989-1993.
Information about the sale of ad space. Consists of invoices, correspondence, lists of revenue and expenses.



 

Series III. Financial Records, 1981-1995.
Extent 0.375 linear ft. (0.75 document box, 11 folders)

Arranged alphabetically and thereunder chronologically. Bank statements; financial statements; ledger pages; tax records.
Box Folder
3 8 Bank Statements, 1988-1992.
Statements of banking transactions, October 1989 and February 1990, are missing.
9 Bank Statements, 1993-1994.
Same as above.
10 Financial Statements, 1981-1993.
Some are monthly statements and some are annual. Many monthly statements are missing as well as all of 1986 and 1987.
11 Ledger, 1982.
Only one year is available. It shows bank deposits for eight months, dues paid, and secretary expenses.
12 Tax Records, 1991-1993.
Statement of interest income from bank for 1991, 1992, 1993.
13 TGC Bank Statements, 1988-1992.
Statements of banking transactions, February 1990 is missing, plus paid corporate loans.
Box Folder
4 1 TGC Bank Statements, 1992-1994.
Same as above.
2 TGC Financial Statements, 1982-1993.
Monthly and annual reports.
3 TGC Ledgers, 1982-1988.
One set of ledger sheets labeled 1982-1985, a second, different set of ledger sheets labeled 1982-1988.
4 TGC Ledgers, 1990-1994.
Photocopies of ledger sheets.
5 TGC Tax Records, 1982-1995, bulk 1989-1994.
The taxpayers copy of Federal Income Tax Returns for 1989-1994, interest statements from banks, new taxpayer federal identification number, notice of a $15,375 penalty from the IRS. Only one 1995 item.



 

Series IV. The Press Club of Fort Worth, 1969-1979.
Extent 0.04 linear ft. (0.1 document box, 3 folders)

Arranged alphabetically and thereunder chronologically. Material includes corporate records; Board of Directors meeting minutes; membership meeting minutes.
Box Folder
4 6 Press Club of Fort Worth Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1978-1979.
Minutes of the meetings; a few are missing.
7 Press Club of Fort Worth Corporate Records, 1969.
Includes bylaws and amendments to the charter.
8 Press Club of Fort Worth Membership Meetings, 1979.
Record of proceedings at the regular meetings.



 

Series V. Ann Owens Gilliland Correspondence, 1989-1990.
Extent 0.125 linear ft. (0.3 document box, 2 folders)

Arranged alphabetically and thereunder chronologically. Material consists of letters sent to travel editors of various publications submitting articles and the replies of those editors.
Box Folder
4 9 Ann Owens Gilliland Correspondence Received, 1989-1990.
Letters received from travel editors of various publications either accepting or rejecting submitted articles.
10 Ann Owens Gilliland Correspondence Sent, 1989-1990.
Letters submitted to the above travel editors concerning proposed articles.



 

Series VI. Audio-Visual Material, 1955-1996.
Extent 1.82 linear ft. (1.2 document boxes, 1 record center box, 3 folders)

Folders arranged alphabetically, video tapes and reel to reel audio tapes are numbered. Contains recordings of the Gridiron Dinner and Show on professional video tape, home video tape, and reel to reel audio tape.
Box Folder
4 11 Negatives, 1977.
Unidentified, except for Gridiron, 1977.
12 Photographs, undated
Jack Tinsley, Jack Brown and a proof sheet of unidentified individuals.
13 Slides, 1993.
Unidentified.
Subseries A. Home Video Format, 1979-1996
Box Folder
5 1 1979 Gridiron Acts 1 and 2
2 1981 34th Annual Texas Gridiron Dinner & Show
3 1983 "The Best Little Courthouse in Texas" Texas Gridiron Show (Dress Rehearsal)
4 1984 "Six Lanes Over Fort Worth" Gridiron Show
5 1988 42nd Gridiron Show
6 1991 45th Annual Texas Gridiron Dinner and Show
7 1992 Gridiron Show
8 1995 "Casino in Stockyards" Gridiron Show
9 1995 "50 Years of Rauckus Roasting" Texas Gridiron Club, Reel to Reel Audio Tape, 1956-1957
10 1956 Gridiron Dinner-Full Show
11 1957 Gridiron Dinner, both sides
Subseries B. Professional Video Format, 1979-1996
Box Folder
6 1 1979 Gridiron Show, Act I
2 1979 Gridiron Show, Act II
3 1980 Gridiron Show
4 1983 Gridiron Show, "The Best Little Courthouse in Texas," Act I
5 1983 Gridiron Show, "The Best Little Courthouse in Texas," Act II
6 1984 Gridiron Show, Act I
7 1984 Gridiron Show, Act II
8 1990 44th Annual Texas Gridiron Show, Act I
9 1990 44th Annual Texas Gridiron Show, Act II
10 1990 44th Annual Texas Gridiron Show, Act III
11 1995 "50 Years of Golden Gridiron"
12 1996 Gridiron Tape
13 1996 50th DUB
14 1996 Gridiron
15 1996 Tom Brokaw segment of the Texas Gridiron Show



 

Series VII. Artifacts, 1990-1994.
Extent 0.25 linear ft. (1 oversize box)

Two wall plaques received from the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence and achievement.
Box
OS319 Wall plaque, 1990
Circle of Excellence Award given by the Society of Professional Journalists for outstanding contributions in the field of campus relations.
Wall plaque, 1994
Outstanding Large Professional Chapter Award - Region 8, for contributions to the Society and to the profession in general.