Belo Corp. donates historic papers to SMU

Bullock perfecting press used by The Dallas Morning News in 1885Belo Corp., owner of WFAA-TV and former parent company of The Dallas Morning News, is donating the Belo Corporate Archives to SMU’s DeGolyer Library. The thousands of documents in the archives 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.

“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.”

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.

The archives also contain the operational papers of the company itself, including annual reports to management and shareholders, 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,” says Gillian McCombs, dean and director of SMU’s Central University Libraries. “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.”

(Above, 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.)

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