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C.A. McKnight Papers

Filing title: 
McKnight (C.A.) Papers

C. A. McKnight papers
MS0132

Summary Information

Repository
J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte
Creator
McKnight, C. A.
Title
C.A. McKnight papers
ID
MS0132
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1956-1981
Date [inclusive]
1917-1987
Extent
5.5 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
Original cartoons by an editorial cartoonist for The Charlotte Observer (1958 71, 1978 present) and WSOC TV (1971 78). Includes reprints of his 1968 Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoons. Papers of an editor of The Charlotte News (1949-54) and The Charlotte Observer (1955-76). Consists primarily of material relating to his service as editor of The Observer and as president and project director for the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Also includes material about his association with the Southern Education Reporting Service, family correspondence, speeches, and photographs.

Preferred Citation note

C.A. McKnight Papers. J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Biographical/Historical note

Colbert Augustus (Pete) McKnight was born in Shelby, N.C., on August 19, 1916 to John Samuel and Norva Proctor McKnight. While attending Davidson College, he began his career as a cub reporter with his hometown newspaper, the Cleveland Star. After graduation, McKnight joined The Charlotte News in 1939. During World War II, he became managing editor (and later, editor and executive editor) of the San Juan World Journal in Puerto Rico and served as an Associated Press war correspondent. McKnight rejoined The Charlotte News, first as news editor (1944-47), then as managing editor (1947-49) and as editor (1949-54). In 1954, he left to become director of the Southern Education Reporting Service in Nashville. McKnight returned to Charlotte as to serve as editor (1955-76) and associate publisher (1976-78) of The Charlotte Observer. He received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award (1965). As a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, McKnight served as president (1971) and as project director (1977-81) for the Newspaper Readership Project. He also created and edited the Editors' Exchange, a newsletter for editors and publishers. McKnight retired in 1981. McKnight served on the board of trustees of Charlotte College (1960-65) and the UNC Charlotte Foundation (1974-82). He provided editorial support for the creation The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and delivered a speech (1964) before a special committee of UNC trustees. [McKnight wrote many speeches that other people delivered on the college's behalf]. UNC Charlotte's McKnight Auditorium is named in his honor. Colby and Davidson colleges conferred honorary degrees upon him in 1977. In 1941, McKnight married Margaret Henderson. They had three children, John Peter, Margaret C., and David P. After his first marriage ended in divorce, McKnight married Gail Oliver Ehle in 1968. They had one child, Colby Augustus. McKnight died on August 16, 1986 in Charlotte. [For more biographical information, see Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (Chapel Hill: UNC Press), vol. 4:163-64.]

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Scope and Contents note

This collection is comprised primarily of material created and received by McKnight as editor of The Observer and as president and project director for the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The papers offer brief documentation of McKnight's service with The Charlotte News and none during his association with The San Juan World Journal. Personal material consists primarily of correspondence with family members. Little documentation exists of his civic and community service activities, as well as his involvement in civil rights.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections, UNC Charlotte 1987

9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC, 28223
704-687-1170
spec-coll@uncc.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gifts of C. A. McKnight, 1981-82.

Processing Information note

Processed by Randy Penninger, 1987.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Inventory of the Eugene Payne Cartoon Collection, 1962-1983, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Society of Newspaper Editors.
  • Southern Education Reporting Service.

Personal Name(s)

  • McKnight, C. A.

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER 1956-1979

Scope and Contents note

This series documents McKnight's tenure as editor (1955-76) and associate publisher (1976-78) of The Charlotte Observer. Primarily correspondence and reports from employees, Knight Ridder executives, and readers.

Box Folder

AMERICAN PRESS INSTITUTE (1962-69, 1978-79)

Scope and Contents note

McKnight served as a discussion leader for this Reston, Va. based provider of mid career training for newspaper personnel

1
Box Drawer

AWARDS 1960-1970

Scope and Contents note

Lists, correspondence, and clippings about awards to staff members. Editorial cartoonist Eugene Payne won the Pulitzer Prize in 1968 [see also box 2:25, Payne, Eugene Pulitzer Cartoons].

1 2
Box Folder

COMPLAINTS (1970-76, undated)

1 3-5

EDITORIALS 1977

Scope and Contents note

Written by McKnight.

1 6

FEATURE SYNDICATES 1966-74, undated)

1 7

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE (1956-78, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Primarily with employees and Knight personnel. Includes letter (1-16-61) from Richard M. Nixon thanking McKnight for The Observer's endorsement of his 1960 candidacy for President (box 1:8).

1 8-15

HOKE, HAROLD R. (1973-74, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Clippings and correspondence related to a doctor who accused a reporter of attempted extortion in connection with a news story about him. Hoke opened the first abortion clinic in Charlotte in 1973.

1 16

KNIGHT, JAMES L. AND JOHN S. (1955-78, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence with brothers and Knight Ridder's chief executives, James L., president, and John S., editorial chair. Portrays conflicts with McKnight over politics, race relations, and advertising.

1 17-19

KNIGHT FOUNDATION 1971-1976

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence and reports of the endowment arm of Knight Ridder. McKnight served on the board of directors.

2 1

MCKNIGHT SUNDAY COLUMN 1968-1971

Scope and Contents note

Opinions on poverty, law enforcement, civil rights, and other subjects relating to Charlotte and the South.

2 2

MINORITY EMPLOYMENT (1971-75, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Reflects efforts to increase employment and educational opportunities of African American journalists.

2 3

MONTHLY REPORTS 1969-1975

Scope and Contents note

Internal reports submitted to executive committee of Knight Newspapers, Inc.

2 4-5

PAYNE, EUGENE--PULITZER CARTOONS 1968

Scope and Contents note

[see also box 1:2, Awards]

2 6

PULITZER JURY 1964

Scope and Contents note

McKnight served as member of 1964 Juries in Journalism, Local Reporting (Special).

2 7

READERSHIP INTEREST SURVEY 1967-1975

Scope and Contents note

Marketing surveys analyzing readers and general demographics of subscribers.

2 8-10

RETIREMENT 1978

Scope and Contents note

Congratulatory correspondence

2 11

RIOT COVERAGE 1967

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence and instructions during riots in Charlotte.

2 12

SEGREGATION COVERAGE 1956-1967

Scope and Contents note

Includes memoranda on the integration of Charlotte schools in 1957.

2 13

SOUTHERN NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION 1967-1978

Scope and Contents note

McKnight served as a representative on the Program Advisory Committee of the Foundation, creator of educational opportunities for Southern journalists.

2 14

SOUTHERN REGIONAL COUNCIL

2 15

SUGGESTION BOX (1964, 1970-71, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Internal suggestions for improvement.

2 16

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL (1956-76, undated)

2 18

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL--SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM (1969-76, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Concerns hiring of graduates.

2 17

WAYS-AM RADIO 1972-1973

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence and clippings about an imbroglio with the Charlotte radio station over comments made by an announcer in reference to an article on WAYS's ratings decline.

2 19

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Series 2: THE CHARLOTTE NEWS 1939, 1960, 1972

Scope and Contents note

This series contains correspondence and clippings related to McKnight's tenure at The Charlotte News, where he served as a reporter, news editor, and editor. Includes information on the purchase of The News in 1959 by Knight Publishing Company. Much of the correspondence is with publisher Thomas L. Robinson.

Box
2
Folder
20-21

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Series 3: AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NEWSPAPER EDITORS 1962-1981

Scope and Contents note

This series documents McKnight's membership in ASNE. McKnight served as president of ASNE (1971-72) and as Project Director of the Newspaper Readership Project (1978-81). Primarily correspondence related to conventions, committee memberships, and McKnight's testimony before Congressional committees. Also includes the Editors' Exchange, a newsletter created by McKnight.

Box Folder

BULLETIN ADVISORY BOARD 1969-1972

3 1

CHINA TRIP 1971-1972

Scope and Contents note

Concerns efforts to send a delegation to China following the normalization of relations. Includes letter from President Richard Nixon (8-17-71) concerning an Observer editorial on his trip to China.

3 2

CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE 1971

3 3

CONVENTION (1971-72, undated) (Bulk, 1972)

3 4-5

EDITORS' EXCHANGE (1977-81, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Relates to newsletter created and edited by McKnight "to help busy editors and publishers keep up with what's happening in news editorial rooms in the U.S. and Canada." Contains correspondence and newsletters. (See also Newspaper Readership Project)

Box
3
Folder
6-8

EQUIPMENT AND SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE 1977-1980

3 9

ETHICS COMMITTEE (1969-75, undated)

3 10

EXPULSION OF TAIWANESE CORRESPONDENTS AT UNITED NATIONS 1971-1972

Scope and Contents note

Relates to cancellation of press accreditation of Taiwanese correspondents after China joined UN (1971). Includes letter (12-23-71) from U Thant explaining the expulsion.

3 11

FALL BOARD MEETING (1970-72, undated) (Bulk, 1971)

3 12

FINANCIAL MATTERS 1970-1972

3 13-14

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (1970-75, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Relates to Freedom of Information Committee and journalistic first amendment rights during the Nixon administration. Includes McKnight's testimony (10-19-71) before the US Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights and letter (3-8-73) from Senator Tom Eagleton (3-8-73), who discusses his News Source Protection Act (copy attached).

3 15-18

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (1970-75, undated)

4 1-2

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE (1962, 1970-81, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Include congratulatory letters upon McKnight's election as president in 1971.

4 3-4

HISTORY PROJECT (1971-74, undated)

4 5

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE (1971-72, 1977-79, undated)

4 6

JOURNALISM EDUCATION (1971-72, undated)

4 7

MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE (1970-72, undated)

4 8

MINORITY EMPLOYMENT COMMITTEE (1971-72, undated)

4 9

NEWSPAPER ADVERTISING BUREAU 1977-1981

4 10

NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP PROJECT FOCUS GROUP SURVEY 1977-1980

4 11

NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP PROJECT NEWSPAPER READERSHIP COUNCIL 1978-1981

4 12

NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP PROJECT NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP REPORT 1977-1981

4 13

NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP PROJECT PROJECT DIRECTOR (1977, undated)

4 14

NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP PROJECT REPORT SUMMARIES 1980-1981

4 15

NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP PROJECT RESEARCH COMMITTEE 1977-1980

5 12

NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP PROJECT RESEARCH WORKSHOPS 1979-1981

5 3

NEWSPAPERS READERSHIP PROJECT STEERING COMMITTEE (1977-81, undated)

5 4

NEWSPAPER RESEARCH COUNCIL (1977-80, undated)

5 5

NEWSPAPER RESEARCH JOURNAL 1979

5 6

NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE 1971-1972

5 7

POLITICAL CONVENTIONS COVERAGE 1971-1972

5 8

PRESIDENCY 1969-1972

5 9

PRESS BAR COMMITTEE 1971-1972

5 10

PROGRAM COMMITTEE 1971-1972

5 11

USSR TRIP 1969

Scope and Contents note

Relates to McKnight's ASNE sponsored visit to the Soviet Union.

5 12

WRITING AND AWARDS COMMITTEE 1977-1980

5 13

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Series 4: SOUTHERN EDUCATION REPORTING SERVICE 1954-1975

Scope and Contents note

This series documents McKnight's service as the first director of this Nashville based provider of objective news coverage on the desegregation of schools in the South following the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown decision of 1954. The series contains correspondence, reports, and several issues of Southern School News. Also includes material relating to the Race Relations Information Center, the successor of SERS. McKnight served on the board of directors of from 1954 to 1974.

Box Folder

SERS (1954-75, undated)

5 14-17
Oversize Folder

SOUTHERN SCHOOL NEWS

OF3 8

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Series 5: SPEECHES 1953-1979

Scope and Contents note

This series contains speeches and remarks of McKnight. Topics include ASNE, education, race relations, newspapers, NATO, UNC Charlotte, freedom of speech, and James L. Knight. A description of the speeches is filed in folder 1.

Box
5
Folder
18-21

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Series 6: PERSONAL 1933-1981

Box Folder

AMERICAN RADIO RELAY LEAGUE, INC. 1947-1948

Scope and Contents note

Certificates of appointment, membership, and proficiency awarded to McKnight, an avid amateur radio operator.

6 1

AWARDS 1980-1981

Scope and Contents note

Includes 1980 ACE Award given to McKnight by The Charlotte Professional Chapter of Women in Communications for excellence in the communications business, and McKnight's induction into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame.

6 2
Oversize Folder

AWARDS--OVERSIZE MATERIAL

OF3 8
Box Folder

BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL (circa 1950s, 1965, 1980)

Scope and Contents note

(See also series 7, Clippings)

6 3

BOARDS (1952-54, 1965-81)

6 4

CORRESPONDENCE (1929-69, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Includes exchanges with his brothers, John and William (Bill), and sympathy mail after his father's death in 1962.

6 5-6

DAVIDSON COLLEGE (1935-53, undated)

Scope and Contents note

Includes letter (6-3-38) from North Carolina Governor Clyde R. Hoey thanking McKnight for an invitation to commencement.

6 7

MCKNIGHT LECTURE HALL, UNC CHARLOTTE 1975-1976

6 8

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Series 7: CLIPPINGS 1941-1967, 1976, 1986-1987

Scope and Contents note

This series contains newspaper clippings about or by McKnight. Topics include politics, McKnight's trip to Egypt in 1952, awards, education (including Southern Education Reporting Service), McKnight's appointment as editor of The News and The Observer, the South, freedom of information, UNC Charlotte, McKnight's retirement, and his death.

Box Folder

CLIPPINGS (1941-67, 1976, 1986-87)

7 1-2
Oversize Folder

CLIPPINGS--OVERSIZE MATERIAL (1965, 1978)

Scope and Contents note

Includes a McKnight article in Collier's ("Troubled South: Search for a Middle Ground," 6-22-65) and Observer (6-30-78) and News (6-30-78) fronts announcing McKnight's retirement from The Observer in 1978.

OF3 8

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Series 8: PHOTOGRAPHS circa 1917-1973

Scope and Contents note

The series is comprised primarily black and white prints of McKnight, with shots of his children and brothers (69 prints, P132/1-69)

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