John Marion Lofton, Jr., Papers

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Author: Lofton, John
Date Range: 1919-1990
Extent: 7.5 linear ft.
Location: Annex (Library Use Only)
Restrictions: Materials stored offsite; advanced notification required.
Background: South Carolina journalist, author, educator, and civil libertarian

Contents

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CHRONOLOGY

1919 Apr 11 Born McClellanville, South Carolina, son of John Marion Lofton, Sr.,
and Vivian Lucas Lofton
1925-1937 Attended McClellanville Public Schools (grades 1-12)
1940 Graduated College of Charleston, B.S. in English
1942 Graduated Duke University, LL.B, and admitted to South Carolina Bar
1942-1945 U.S. Army military service
1945-1947 Employed by several small South Carolina newspapers
1948 Dec Associate editor, Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Arkansas
1952 Feb Editoral writer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1954 Dec 27 Married Anne O'Neil Watson
1956 Graduated University of Pittsburgh, M.A. in History
1960 June Lofton and Post-Gazette awarded "American Bar Association Gavel" award
1961 Jan Published Pittsburgh's First Unitarian Church...1820-1960
1962 Dec Associate Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
1964 July Published Insurrection in South Carolina
1966 Nov Published Justice and the Press
1968 Anne Watson Lofton died
1969 Aug 23 Married Priscilla Alvarado
1971 Associate Professor of Speech, University of Pittsburgh
1971 May Editoral writer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
1975 Feb Divorced Priscilla Alvarado
1980 Published The Press as Guardian of the First Amendment
1981 Apr Awarded distinguished service award from the Society of Professional Journalists
1983 Apr Married Dr. Joanne B. Lyon
1985 Retired from St. Louis Post-Dispatch
1988 Mar Awarded second distinguished service award from the Society of Professional Journalists
1990 Mar Died at Graniteville, Kansas

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SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The papers of John Marion Lofton, Jr. (1919-1990), span the years 1909 through 1990 although the bulk of the collection falls between 1940 and 1980. Included in the papers are correspondence, writings, press releases, bulletins, newsclippings, and newsletters. Units of material in the collection reveal Lofton's involvement in the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Unitarian Church, political events during the tumultuous years of racial integration and Vietnam War protests, and such related issues as the environment, disarmament, and world peace.

The principal focus of the collection is Lofton's professional career as a journalist and writer, working for two newspapers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, both of which espoused left-wing, liberal viewpoints. Lofton divided his time among family, career, and personal interests in the ACLU, both national and local, and the Unitarian Church. He transcended his Southern roots to attain a national reputation as a writer and defender of the press as guardian of civil liberties.

The collection reflects the progress of Lofton's thought and interests from his formal and practical education as a boy growing up in lowcountry South Carolina to his retirement in 1985 as a senior editorial writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Revealed in his papers and letters is a serious concern for a broad spectrum of issues--legal, political, social, scientific--as well as the stylistic virtuosity of his writing, which ranged from free-lance articles and biographical sketches to editorials and essays.

Lofton's intellectual pursuits were lifelong. He graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.S. degree in English in 1940 and from Duke University with an LL.B. degree in 1942. In 1956 he received an M.A. degree in history from the University of Pittsburgh and did further graduate study at Stanford University. Other files attest to Lofton's adjunct role as a professor at such institutions as the University of Pittsburgh, Washington University, and Webster College.

It was Lofton's career as a journalist that generated much of the interesting and significant material in the collection. Following a wartime enlisted stint in the U.S. Army, Lofton began to canvass various newspapers for employment as a writer. His early postwar employment correspondence files contain letters from such newspapermen as Jonathan Daniels (Raleigh News and Observer), Thomas L. Robinson (Charlotte News), Herbert Elliston (Washington Post), Frank Bear (PM Daily), and Harry S. Ashmore (Arkansas Gazette). Lofton's first professional newspaper experience began on William Townes' Spartanburg Herald in 1946, and in 1948 he was hired by Harry Ashmore as an editorial writer for the Arkansas Gazette. After four years in Little Rock, Lofton became an editorial writer with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and in 1971 he joined the editorial staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Correspondence and topical files form the major series in the collection. The correspondence series consists chiefly of personal correspondence and family correspondence revealing the love and devotion among members of a southern family despite their substantive differences with regard to social issues of integration and religion. Prominent correspondents represented by correspondence include James F. Byrnes, James A. Dombrowski, J. William Fulbright, Brooks Hays, Hubert H. Humphrey, Burnet R. Maybank, L. Mendel Rivers, Hugh Scott, and Hugo S. Sims, Jr.

The collection also documents the publication of Lofton's major books, two of which mirrored his primary concern for journalistic freedom and the relationship between the press and the bar: Justice and the Press (1966) and The Press as Guardian of the First Amendment (1980). His 1964 book, Insurrection in South Carolina, resulted from a long-held interest in the history of the 1822 Charleston slave rebellion led by Denmark Vesey. Among Lofton's other writings are a church history, Pittsburgh's First Unitarian Church...1820-1960, and numerous editorials for the Arkansas Gazette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Lofton's early writings illustrate a concern with conservation of the environment and preservation of endangered species.

Two major subjects represented in the topical files are the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), with which Lofton was affiliated as a member of the National Advisory Board and local chapters in Pittsburgh and East Missouri, and the Unitarian Church. Other files of interest include: College of Charleston, Integration Issue; Vietnam Moratorium; and Alabama tour with Gov. George Wallace.

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DESCRIPTION OF SERIES

Box 1 Biographical
Including newspaper clippings documenting Lofton's winning of journalism awards, biographical sketches submitted for publication, and résumes submitted to prospective employers
Box 1 Biographical
Including vitae, obituary notices, newspaper clippings, and other biographical materials documenting the life of Hallie Covington. Also containing genealogical information on the Covington and allied families.
Boxes 1-2 Correspondence, 1909-1990 and undated
Consisting chiefly of personal correspondence and family correspondence pointing up substantive differences between members of a southern family with regard to social issues of integration and religion. Also including correspondence relating to Lofton's military service and applications for employment. Prominent correspondents represented include James F. Byrnes, James A. Dombrowski, J. William Fulbright, Brooks Hays, Hubert H. Humphrey, Burnet R. Maybank, L. Mendel Rivers, Hugh Scott, and Hugo S. Sims, Jr.
Boxes 2-3 Education, 1925-1961
School records, grade reports, notes, and student papers relating to Lofton's studies as a primary/secondary student at McClellanville, S.C., undergraduate at the College of Charleston, and graduate student at Duke University, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh, and Stanford University.
Box 3 Teaching, 1970-1982
Course bibliographies/schedules, student papers, school correspondence, and other materials relating to Lofton's teaching career at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsbugh, Pa.; Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.; and Webster College, St. Louis, Mo.
Boxes 3-6 Topical Files
Newspaper clippings, press releases, committee reports, correspondence, and miscellaneous materials documenting Lofton's involvement in legal, policital, social, and religious causes. Two major topics represented are the American Civil Liberties Union, with which Lofton was affiliated as a member of the National Advisory Board and local chapters in Pittsburgh and East Missouri, and the Unitarian Church. Other files of interest include: College of Charleston, Integration Issue; Vietnam Moratorium; and Alabama tour with Gov. George Wallace. Included among materials relating to the Alabama tour are editorials by Lofton and letters received by Lofton in response to his articles.
Box 6 Writings
Including both published and unpublished writings. Lofton was the author of four books, Pittsburgh's First Unitarian Church...1820-1960, Insurrection in South Carolina, Justice and the Press, and The Press as Guardian of the First Amendment, as well as numerous editorials for the Arkansas Gazette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Early writings illustrate Lofton's concern with conservation of the environment and the preservation of endangered species. Files of Lofton's free-lance articles and editorials are augmented by reviews of his books and a manuscript copy of The Press as Guardian of the First Amendment.
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CONTAINER LIST

Box 1	Biographical Information			Folders 1-150


	Correspondence

	   7 April 1909-11 July 1967



Box 2	1 August 1967-29 March 1990			Folders 151-220 
	  and undated	




	Education


	   Primary/Secondary, 1925-1936
	   B.S., College of Charleston, 1940



Box 3	LL.B., Duke University, 1942			Folders 221-281
	University of North Carolina, 1948
	M.A., University of Pittsburgh, 1956
	Stanford University, 1960-1961

	Teaching
	   University of Pittsburgh, 1970-1971
	   Washington University, 1972
	   Webster College, 1982

	Topical Files
	   Alabama Tour with Gov. George Wallace
	     Correspondence, 30 April-23 August
	      1965 and undated
	     Newspaper Clippings, 8 May-16 July
	      1965
	     Response to Lofton articles, 8-23 
	      June 1965
	   American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
	     Eastern Missouri, 22 March 1972-
	      29 August 1984 and undated
	     National Affiliation
	       Activity Reports,
	        December 1970-June 1978

Box 4	       Biennial Conferences, 1968-1983		Folders 282-348
	       Board of Directors, 1973-1984
	       Brochures, 1945-1980
	       Constitution, 1969-1974
	       Correspondence, 1951-1980 and undated
	       National Advisory Board, 1969-1981
	       National Convocation on Free Speech
	       News Releases, 1952-1980
	       Newspapers clippings, 1949-1978
	       Nominating Committee, 1971-1983 and
	        undated
	     Pittsburgh


	       Executive Committee, 1955-1970 and 
	        undated
	       Minutes, 1963-1972
	       Miscellaneous
	       Newsletter
	       Pennsylvania Affiliates, 1959-1975
	       Pennsylvania State Board, 1957-1971
	     College of Charleston, Integration Issue
	     "Committee of 100"
	     Council for a Livable World
	     Cuban Confrontation Roundtable
	     Environment: Pittsburgh
	     Focus on Greater Pittsburgh
	     Forum for Contemporary History
	     National Research Council, 
	      Twin Registry Project
	     Peace Pilgrimage Committee
	     Peace Race Committee
	     Pittsburgh Committee for a Sane 
	      Nuclear Policy
Box 5	     Pittsburgh Peace Information Center	Folders 49-398
	     Planned Communities, Inc.
	     Southern Conference for Human Welfare
	     Southern Regional Council, Association
	      of Scientists for Atomic Education
	     Unitarian Church
	       Pittsburg:  First Unitarian Church
			Annual Meetings
			Board of Trustees
			  Agenda & Memoranda/minutes
			  Book
			By-laws
			Church Council
			Church School
			Correspondence
			Finance Committee
			History
			Interim Canvass
			Long-range Planning Committee
			Memorial Trust
			Outreach, Elaine Rubinoff
			Personnel Committee
			Presidency
			Public Affairs Committee
			Religious Education Committee
			75th Anniversary Committee
			Sunday Program Committee
			Unitarian Universalist Association
Box 6	     St. Louis					Folders 399-461
	       Board of Trustees
	       By-laws and Constitution
	       Clark Lecture Committee
	       Forum Committee
	       General/Miscellaneous
	       Joint Community Board
	       Newsletter
	       Social Responsibility Committee
	   Vietnam Moratorium, 15 November 1969
	   World Disarmament

	Writings
	   Arkansas Gazette Editorials, 1949-1952
	   Free Lance Articles, 1938-1987
	   Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
	     Editorials, 1952-1970
	     Special Features, 1954-1970
	   Press As Guardian Manuscript
	   Reviews
	     Insurrection In South Carolina
	     Justice and the Press
	     Press As Guardian
	   St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorials, 1971-1983
	   Topical
	     Apportionment Mandate
	     Civil Defense
	     Family Court
	     Nixon Impeachment 

Administrative Notes

Preferred Citation: John Marion Lofton Papers, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.
Information concerning copyright must be secured in writing from the Director of the South Caroliniana Library.
Processed by: Rita Foster Wallace
Date Completed: 20 June 1992

 

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