Claude Fox Sitton papers, circa 1958-2004

Emory University

Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Sitton, Claude.
Title: Claude Fox Sitton papers, circa 1958-2004
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 633
Extent:16.75 linear ft. (18 boxes)
Abstract:Papers of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Claude Sitton, including correspondence, columns and other articles written by him, his speeches, subject files, and his scrapbooks of clippings.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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

Separated Material

Emory University also holds portions of the personal library of Claude Sitton, many volumes of which were annotated by Sitton. These materials may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching for: Sitton, Claude, former owner.


Gift, 1983, with subsequent additions.


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


Processed by VJHC, October 1984 .

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Claude Fox Sitton (b. December 4, 1925), Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, was born in Emory, Georgia, to Claude B. Sitton, a railroad conductor, and Pauline Fox Sitton, a high school mathematics teacher. Sitton married Eva McLaurin Whetstone (June 5, 1953), and they have four children.

Sitton graduated from high school in 1943. Enlisting first in the maritime service and later in the Navy, Sitton saw action in the South Pacific and Philippine Islands during World War II. In 1946, he enrolled in Emory-at-Oxford (now Oxford College of Emory University) for one year, then continued his college work at Emory University in Atlanta. Sitton studied primarily in the Department of Journalism (discontinued 1953), receiving the B.A. degree in 1949.

Sitton's career in journalism began with service as a reporter for International News Service (1949-1950) and for United Press (1950-1955). Sitton then became an information officer for the United States Information Agency and was also press attache for the United States embassy in Ghana. In 1957, he joined the staff of The New York Times; he covered civil rights related activities in the South extensively from Atlanta, and later served as national news director for The New York Times (1964-1968). In 1968, Sitton moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he had accepted the position of editorial director of The News and Observer Publishing Company. He has served as a director and vice-president of the company, and, since 1970, as editor of The News and Observer.

In 1983, Sitton won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his weekly Sunday column in which he writes of local, regional, national, and international issues, and of local, regional, and national politics. He is a member of Sigma Delta Chi and of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Biographical Source: "Excellence Over Time" by Beth Dawkins Bassett ( Emory Magazine, August 1983) and Who's Who in America, 1982-1983.

Scope and Content Note

The Claude Fox Sitton papers contain correspondence, columns and other articles written by him, his speeches, and his scrapbooks of clippings (10 boxes). The earliest items are 1958 clippings of Sitton's own writings as a correspondent in the South for The New York Times, while the latest items are 1983 speeches and columns written while editor of The News and Observer.

The papers are arranged in four series: Correspondence, 1969-1981 (Boxes 1-7:17); By-lines, 1969-1980, and Columns, 1973-1983 (Box 7:18-7:39); Speeches, 1968-1983 (Boxes 8-9); and Scrapbooks, 1958-1968 (Box 10). The arrangement of the papers at the time of their transfer from storage at The News and Observer Building in Raleigh in 1983 has generally been retained. Similar topics and themes are addressed throughout the papers. Especially in Sitton's speeches and published writings, recurrent subjects include civil rights, race relations, local, state, regional, and national politics , education, and other such matters of contemporary interest.

The bulk of the collection consists of Sitton's correspondence as editor of The News and Observer. The correspondence series includes incoming letters, carbon copies of Sitton's replies, and some clippings and printed material received with correspondence. Found here is correspondence with colleagues in journalism; with readers; with individuals seeking work, seeking publication of their writings, or seeking opinions from Sitton on their work; and replies to invitations. The correspondence is subdivided by year, and then arranged alphabetically within each year. There are a few topical or personal files scattered through the correspondence; these are generally filed at the end of the alphabetical sequence of correspondence for the year(s) that these special files cover.

The by-lines and columns series contains original clippings and/or photocopies of articles and columns written by Sitton for The News and Observer. By-lines (1969-1980) include a variety of articles from among Sitton's published writings; these are arranged in one chronological sequence. Regular columns (1973-1983) by Sitton are arranged in chronological order in a separate sequence to complete the series. Among the 1982 columns may be found those for which Sitton was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

During his association with The News and Observer, Sitton has made speeches before business, civic, professional, and student groups. Included here are speech manuscripts, original typescripts, and photocopied typescripts, many with holograph notes and corrections. Speeches are generally arranged in chronological order by date of delivery with undated speeches and selected source material arranged following the sequence of speeches for which dates were known.

The final portion of the collection originally consisted of seven scrapbooks of newspaper clippings. The scrapbook series is the only portion of the collection that documents Sitton's lengthy professionaI career with The New York Times. Due to the fragile and deteriorating condition of the scrapbooks, the entire series was photocopied onto acid-free paper; the original scrapbooks have not been retained. Most of the clippings were articles by Sitton, but some were articles by other writers collected and saved by Sitton. The photocopied clippings have been arranged in straight chronological order with notations indicating in which scrapbook they had been placed originally. Included here are clippings from The New York Times, The Atlanta Constitution, and newspapers in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Birmingham, Alabama; Orlando, Florida; St. Louis, Missouri; Greensboro, North Carolina; and other cities. A few pieces of correspondence which were found in the scrapbooks were also photocopied and placed in sequence among the copied clippings.

The collection as a whole presents a broad view of Sitton's career as the editor of The News and Observer and provides many examples of his writing and speaking style. The collection primarily documents his work in Raleigh, with the scrapbook clippings providing a glimpse into his earlier journalism career. No material is included concerning his student days at Emory nor his professional work prior to 1958 when he joined the staff of The New York Times.

Arrangement Note

Organized into five series (1) Correspondence, (2) By-Lines, (3) Speeches, (4) Scrapbooks and (5) Unprocessed additions.

Description of Series