University of Arizona

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William R. Mathews Papers

Fireman Carry Demonstrated During Navy Training, undated

William R. Mathews (1893-1969) was an accomplished journalist, newspaper editor and publisher. Born in Lexington, KY in 1893, he graduated with an A.B. degree in Money and Banking from the University of Illinois in 1917. He served as a Second Lieutenant and Captain in the Fifth Regiment of the Second Division of the United States Marine Corps during World War I. Mr. Mathews earned numerous awards and citations, including the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, in 1918, for capturing 75 German soldiers. From 1920-1924, he was the business manager of the Santa Barbara Morning Press. In 1924, he and business partner Ralph E. Ellinwood purchased the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, AZ. Mr. Mathews served as the general manager from 1924-1930 and as editor and publisher from 1930-1967.

Mr. Mathews' extensive travels enabled him to focus his journalism on international politics and foreign affairs. He served as an accredited military correspondent and completed nine trips around the world. He witnessed and documented unique historical events, such as the signing of the Japanese Surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in 1945, the Bikini Bomb Test in 1946 and the John Foster Dulles trip to Japan and Korea, just prior to the outbreak of the Korean Conflict. Mr. Mathews was active in public service. In 1940, he ran for public office as a democratic representative for Congress.

The William R. Mathews papers (1916-1971) primarily documents his journalism career as editor and publisher of the Arizona Daily Star (1930-1967), but it also includes material relating to Mathews' military service in World War I, and his role as an official war correspondent in World War II. The materials consist of biographical information, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, writings, speeches, public service files, travel files and subject files. Be aware that dates reflect the subject content of the material.