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J. Westbrook Pegler Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: Aug 1967

Biographical History

James Westbrook Pegler (1894-1969) was an American journalist. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 2, 1894, he was educated at the Lane Technical School and at Loyola University in Chicago. He received an honorary LL.D. from Knox College in 1943. He was a correspondent on the European staff of United Press during World War I (1916-1918) and then served in the U.S. Navy (1918-1919); later he was sports editor of the United News, the Chicago Tribune, the New York World-Telegram, and the Chicago Daily News. In 1944 he moved his syndicated column to King Features Syndicate. His collected columns were published in several books: 'Taint Right (1936), Dissenting Opinions of Mister Westbrook Pegler (1938), and George Spelvin, American (1942).

In his syndicated columns, Pegler criticized many American figures and institutions, including the Supreme Court, the tax system, labor unions, and every President from Herbert Hoover to John F. Kennedy. In 1962 he lost his contract with King Features Syndicate due to outspoken criticisms of executives of its parent company, the Hearst Corporation.

Pegler was a member of the National Press Club and received numerous awards for his work. In 1941 he received the Pulitzer Prize for reporting for his expose of racketeering in Hollywood labor unions. In 1942 he was named one of the country's best adult columnists and in 1944 he won the Gold Medal from the Nassau Bar Association. Other awards include the National Headlines Club Award (twice), the American Legion Award, and the Distinguished Service Medal of Army and Navy Union.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The J. Westbrook Pegler Papers consists of printed materials and writings.

The Printed material consists of clippings and letters to the editor of the Syracuse Post Standard. One set of clippings includes an exchange of opinions in the form of published columns between Grace Lewis - another Post Standard columnist - and Pegler.

The Writings consist of Pegler's numerous columns written between 1942 and 1962, including both Pegler's typed final copies and clippings of published columns from the Syracuse Post Standard. The original envelopes in which the column clippings were received are included with the respective clippings .

Arrangement of the Collection

Items are arranged chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Pegler, J. Westbrook (James Westbrook), 1894-1969.


Journalists -- United States.
Newspapers -- Sections, columns, etc.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Newspaper columns.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

J. Westbrook Pegler Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Printed material