NELSON, JACK, 1929-2009.
Jack Nelson papers, 1940-2011

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/cmtdr

Digital Material Available in this Collection


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Nelson, Jack, 1929-2009.
Title: Jack Nelson papers, 1940-2011
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1237
Extent: 16 linear feet (30 boxes), 2 oversized papers boxes and 1 oversized papers folder (OP), 1 oversized bound volume (OBV), 185MB of born digital material (124 files), and AV Masters: 3.5 linear feet (4 boxes)
Abstract:Papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning, southern journalist Jack Nelson, including personal and professional papers, speeches and other writings, and subject files.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Access to processed born digital materials is only available in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (the Rose Library).

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Special restrictions apply: The collection contains some copies of original materials held by other institutions; these copies may not be reproduced without the permission of the owner of the originals.

Researchers are not permitted to copy or download any digital files from the Rose Library computer workstations.

Source

Gift of Barbara Matusow, 2012

Custodial History

Barbara Matusow is the widow of Jack Nelson.

Citation

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

Appraisal Note

Curator of African American Collections, Randall Burkett, acquired this collection as part of the Rose Library's holdings in the history of journalism and the Civil Rights Movement. During processing in 2019, archivists removed and shredded approximately one linear foot of duplicate newspaper clippings and speeches. Appraisal decisions were made by Head of Collection Processing, Sarah Quigley, and Curator of African American Collections, Pellom McDaniels.

Processing

Born digital materials processed by Dorothy Waugh, June 2016.

Arranged and described at the file level by Dayne Alexander and Sarah Quigley, 2019.

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at rose.library@emory.edu.


Collection Description

Biographical Note

Jack Nelson (1929-2009), Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist, was born in 1929 to Howard and Barbara O'Donnell Nelson in Talladega, Alabama. He was raised in Biloxi, Mississippi and graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1947. Instead of attending college, he began his first job as a reporter for the Biloxi Daily Herald (Mississippi). He began working for the Atlanta Constitution (Georgia), in 1952. In 1960, Nelson won the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism for a series of articles he wrote exposing abuses at the Milledgeville (Georgia) State Hospital, a hospital for individuals suffering from mental illness. In 1964, the editor of the Los Angeles Times (California) recruited Nelson to open the paper's Atlanta (Georgia) bureau. He joined the paper's Washington, D.C., bureau in 1975, serving as bureau chief from 1975-1996 and the chief Washington correspondent until his retirement in 2001.

As a journalist, he covered the murder of Viola Liuzzo; the Orangeburg Massacre; the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) use of agents provocateurs in Meridian, Mississippi; and the Watergate scandal. For his coverage of the Watergate story, he interviewed Alfred C. Baldwin, III, a key witness to the break-in. After, Federal prosecutors threatened to revoke Baldwin's immunity in an attempt to suppress the story, the paper fought a gag order, taking the case to the United States Supreme Court and earning the right to publish the story. Nelson also published several books, many on topics he had covered as a journalist, including The Censors and the Schools (1963), The Orangeburg Massacre (1970) and Terror in the Night (1993). Terror in the Night details Ku Klux Klan terrorism of the Jewish community in Meridian, Mississippi, and the FBI's ensuing ambush of local Klanspeople. Nelson was also a regular guest on television news programs, most notably Washington Week in Review.

Nelson married Virginia Dare in 1951 and the couple had three children: Karen, Mike, and Steven. The two divorced and he married his second wife Barbara Matusow in 1974. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2009.

Jack Nelson (1929-2009), Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist, was born in 1929 to Howard and Barbara O'Donnell Nelson in Talladega, Alabama. He was raised in Biloxi, Mississippi and graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1947. Instead of attending college, he began his first job as a reporter for the Biloxi Daily Herald (Mississippi). He began working for the Atlanta Constitution (Georgia), in 1952. In 1960, Nelson won the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism for a series of articles he wrote exposing abuses at the Milledgeville (Georgia) State Hospital, a hospital for individuals suffering from mental illness. In 1964, the editor of the Los Angeles Times (California) recruited Nelson to open the paper's Atlanta (Georgia) bureau. He joined the paper's Washington, D.C., bureau in 1975, serving as bureau chief from 1975-1996 and the chief Washington correspondent until his retirement in 2001.

As a journalist, he covered the murder of Viola Liuzzo; the Orangeburg Massacre; the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) use of agents provocateurs in Meridian, Mississippi; and the Watergate scandal. For his coverage of the Watergate story, he interviewed Alfred C. Baldwin, III, a key witness to the break-in. After, Federal prosecutors threatened to revoke Baldwin's immunity in an attempt to suppress the story, the paper fought a gag order, taking the case to the United States Supreme Court and earning the right to publish the story. Nelson also published several books, many on topics he had covered as a journalist, including The Censors and the Schools (1963), The Orangeburg Massacre (1970) and Terror in the Night (1993). Terror in the Night details Ku Klux Klan terrorism of the Jewish community in Meridian, Mississippi, and the FBI's ensuing ambush of local Klanspeople. Nelson was also a regular guest on television news programs, most notably Washington Week in Review.

Nelson married Virginia Dare in 1951 and the couple had three children: Karen, Mike, and Steven. The two divorced and he married his second wife Barbara Matusow in 1974. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2009.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Jack Nelson from 1940-2011, including personal and professional papers, speeches and other writings, and subject files. Personal and professional papers contain awards, correspondence, photographs, and political cartoons. Correspondence is primarily in response to Nelson's published writings and television appearances. Photographs document Nelson's family, as well as his professional relationships and topics about which he wrote. Political cartoons are primarily by Paul Conrad. Speeches by Nelson are primarily about his experiences as a reporter during the Civil Rights Movement, his Pulitzer Prize-winning articles on the Milledgeville State Hospital (Georgia), freedom of the press, media ethics and credibility, and presidential politics. Other writings and subject files contain Nelson's newspaper clippings, research for his books, The Orangeburg Massacre and Terror in the Night, as well as statements before Congressional committees and an unpublished memoir. Research for Terror in the Night notably contains interviews with individuals involved in the Meridian, Mississippi, story, including Thomas A. Tarrants, III; Kathy Ainsworth; Al Binder; Sam Bowers; and Roy Moore; as well as Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) surveillance files for many of these individuals. Subject files also include documentation of the FBI's surveillance of Nelson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's efforts to discredit Nelson's reporting on the organization.

Arrangement Note

Organizd into 4 series: (1) Personal and professional papers, (2) Speeches, (3) Other writings and subject files, and (4) Born digital material.


Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

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Description of Series

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