Belo Corp. donates historical papers to SMU

Belo Corp. is donating thousands of documents in its corporate archives to SMU's DeGolyer Library.

Bullock perfecting press, used by the Dallas News at its beginning in 1885

DALLAS (SMU) — Belo Corp., owner of WFAA-TV and former parent company of The Dallas Morning News, is donating the Belo Corporate Archives to Southern Methodist University’s DeGolyer Library. The thousands of documents in the archives also include materials from A. H. Belo Corporation, which was formed to own The Dallas Morning News and other newspapers that were spun off from Belo Corp. in February 2008.

Shown here is original Bullock perfecting press used by the Dallas News at its beginning in 1885.
Shown here is an original Bullock perfecting press used by The Dallas News at its beginning in 1885. On the far right is G. B. Dealey, then the business manager of the newspaper.
(Photo courtesy of DeGolyer Library)

“Since 1985, Belo Corp. has invested in updating its archival collection that traces the history of the Company as well as the City of Dallas. We are proud of this collection and believe it is best situated in a permanent curatorial setting such as the DeGolyer Library,” said Robert W. Decherd, chairman of Belo Corp. “The board of directors and management of Belo Corp. are very pleased that SMU will be home to the archives and thereby enhance the University’s already significant collections.”

“As the media industry continues to change, it will be invaluable to have historical resources showing the evolution of a leading corporation and its impact on print and broadcast outlets,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Belo also has been instrumental in the development of Dallas as a major media market and is a leader in corporate civic responsibility. The gift of these archives is one more way that Belo is adding to the educational resources of our University and the community.”

The Belo Corporate Archives have been preserved internally by the company’s leadership over many decades. Belo was established in 1842, making it the oldest continuously operated business institution in Texas. The archives include the private and business correspondence and private and business papers of company leaders such as G. B. Dealey, E. M. “Ted” Dealey, Joe M. Dealey, James M. Moroney, James M. Moroney Jr., H. Ben Decherd and Robert W. Decherd.  Also included are materials donated by descendants of Walter Allen Dealey, Fanny Dealey Decherd, Annie Dealey Jackson and Maidie Dealey Moroney.

The archives contain operational business papers of the company itself, including internal departmental annual reports to management; annual reports from management to shareholders starting in 1926, when G. B. Dealey acquired the company from the heirs of Col. A. H. Belo; and recordings of important company-related events, beginning with audio recordings from the 1920s and 1930s and continuing to the present.

“The Belo gift is a magnificent trove of primary materials, covering the multi-faceted operations of the oldest continuously-operated business in Texas,” said Gillian M. McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries at SMU. “We are truly grateful to Belo for making these materials accessible to the public by donating them to SMU, where they will be used for teaching and research in a wide range of fields, from journalism, business and history to literary and cultural studies.”

The DeGolyer Library’s collections also include the papers of Dallas Morning News journalists Blackie Sherrod, Lee Cullum, Lon Tinkle, Rena Pederson and Carolyn Barta, currently a senior journalism lecturer at SMU. In addition, the library has a large collection of Dallas Morning News photographs preserved by the late Homer DeGolyer, who died in 1963, as well as photographs from George McAfee, who worked for The News in the early 20th century.

The Belo Archives join other similar collections in the DeGolyer Library, including the papers and artifacts of J.C. Penney; Texas Instruments; business leader and former Dallas mayor J. Erik Jonsson; prominent geophysicist and Dallas philanthropist Everette L. DeGolyer Sr.; entrepreneur and Broadway producer Roger Horchow; real estate pioneer Ebby Halliday; advertising executive Liener Temerlin; and luxury retail executive Stanley Marcus.

“The dynamic nature of American enterprise is revealed in the DeGolyer Library’s collections,” said Russell Martin, director of SMU’s DeGolyer Library. “Belo’s story begins in Texas, but it reaches the whole country and beyond. We are happy to preserve all these materials for the future. Researchers need such collections to gain a perspective on the past.”

Related Links:

The Dallas Morning News: Belo giving SMU library its vast corporate archive
The Dallas Morning News: Belo's company archives called a 'crown jewel' for SMU

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