NELSON, JACK, 1929-2009.
Jack Nelson papers, circa 1960-2009

Emory University

Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link:

Digital Material Available in this Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Nelson, Jack, 1929-2009.
Title: Jack Nelson papers, circa 1960-2009
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1237
Extent:20.5 linear ft. (25 boxes), 3 oversized papers (OP), and 1 oversized bound volume (OBV)
Abstract:Papers of Pulitzer Prize winning southern journalist Jack Nelson, including subject files, writings, printed material, correspondence, photographs, sound and video recordings, and born digital materials.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Use copies have not been made for all audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact MARBL in advance for access to this material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift, 2012.


[after identification of item(s)], Jack Nelson papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Unprocessed collection.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Jack Nelson (1929-2009), Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist, was the Los Angeles Times Washington, D.C., bureau chief from 1975-1996, and the paper's chief Washington correspondent until his retirement in 2001. His first job as a reporter was for the Biloxi Daily Herald in the late 1940s. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Nelson reported on news all over the South and became known for breaking exclusive stories. In 1960, while working for the Atlanta Constitution, he won the Pulitzer Prize for uncovering abuse at a Milledgeville mental hospital. In 1964, the editor of the Los Angeles Times recruited Nelson to open the paper's Atlanta bureau. He is best known for his coverage of the murder of Viola Liuzzo, the Orangeburg Massacre, the F.B.I.'s use of agents provocateurs in Meridian, Mississippi, and the Watergate scandal.

Nelson married second wife Barbara Matusow in 1974. He died in 2009.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Jack Nelson, including subject files, writings, printed material, correspondence, photographs and sound and video recordings. Born digital materials include an archived copy of the memorial website set up by the family and friends of Nelson following his death. The site collects together documents relating to Nelson and his work and features tributes and memories contributed by friends and relatives.

Arrangement Note

Unprocessed collection.

Container List

Box Folder Content
1 - Subject files, various
2 - Subject files, civil rights
3 - Subject files, Meridian, Mississippi
4 - Subject files, various [created by Barbara Matusow]
5 - Subject files, various [contains photo album created by FBI agent James Awe; photos document Ku Klux Klan murders in Mississippi, including the case of Wharlest Jackson]
6 - Subject files, various
7 - Subject files, various post-1970
8 - Writings, speeches
9 - Writings, speeches, 1987-1988
10 - Writings, speeches
11 - Writings, speeches
12 - Writings, Terror in the Night: The Klan's Campaign Against the Jews
13 - Clippings, Los Angeles Times, 1970-1980
14 - Clippings, Los Angeles Times, 1982-1992
15 - Photographs and books
16 - Correspondence; Terror in the Night; video and audio recordings
17 - Audiovisual materials
18 - Audiovisual materials
19 - Audiovisual materials
20 - Audiovisual materials
21 - Audiovisual materials
22 - Audiovisual materials
23 - Audiovisual materials
24 - Audiovisual materials
25 - Audiovisual materials
OP1 - Political cartoon by Paul Conrad, inscribed to Jack Nelson, 1965
OP2 - Letter from Joseph Pulitzer, gifted to Jack Nelson and Barbara Matusow
OP3 - Los Angeles Times special edition, November 7, 1985
OBV1 - Scrapbook of clippings
Audio recordings
- - Tommy Tarrants, tape 1, Los Angeles Times Dining Room, May 1991
- - Tommy Tarrants, tape 2, Los Angeles Times Dining Room, May 1991
- - J. B. Stoner, National States Rights Party and his officers, Savannah, Georgia, April 25, 1969
- - KKK tape 1, undated
- - Bill Minor, May 6, 1991
Born digital materials
Online - Jack Nelson, 1929-2009, 2012/12/21 (web archive)