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Reid Hood Montgomery Papers, 1910-1994

Encompassing materials dating from 1910 to 1994, this collection of three and three-quarters linear feet consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, speech notes, and miscellaneous printed items amassed throughout the life and career of journalist and educator Reid Hood Montgomery (1909-1993). Specifically, it contains numerous items pertaining to those professional organizations in the field of journalism in which Montgomery was an active member. These include the South Carolina Press Association (SCPA) where Montgomery held the office of secretary-manager for twenty-three years, 1965-1988; the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association (SCSPA) of which Dr. Montgomery was the director for twelve years, 1943-1955; and the National Council of College Publications Advisers (NCCPA) which later became the College Media Advisers (CMA). Montgomery was vice-chairman of the NCCPA, 1963-1965, president of the NCCPA, 1970-1971, and then served as treasurer and chairman of the finance committee for the CMA, 1982-1988.

The collection also traces the development of Montgomery's journalistic career. His earliest experience with newspapers came in 1930 when he was hired as principal of Pinewood High School and started a mimeographed school newspaper called The Pine Bur. In addition to his administrative duties, Montgomery taught French and coached football. In 1936 he moved to Sumter where he worked as a journalism teacher until 1940 when he accepted a position as English teacher at Columbia High School. While living in Columbia, Reid Montgomery also worked as a reporter and assistant city editor for The State newspaper. In 1943 he accepted a position as assistant school superintendent in Sumter but remained only one year and then became principal of Edmunds Junior High School. Montgomery's duties as principal were interrupted by fourteen months of military service in the Marine Corps during World War II.

Following his return in 1946, Montgomery became news editor and a columnist for The Sumter Daily Item. Later that year, he was lured to Rock Hill, where he accepted a post as professor and head of the Department of Journalism at Winthrop College. While a faculty member there, Montgomery established the "High School Editors Conference" aimed at providing workshops and practical experience to students involved with their high school papers and yearbooks. In 1955 he left South Carolina to become a professor of journalism at Florida State University. At Florida State, Dr. Montgomery was also active in student affairs as director of student activities, director of student publications, and director of the student union. He was so highly respected by his students that they dedicated the 1963 college yearbook, the Tally Ho, to him—"the purpose being to honor the one person most concerned with students' inquiries and development." Montgomery returned to South Carolina in 1965 as a professor of journalism at the University of South Carolina and began teaching press law. In 1975 he published a book on the subject, Press Law in South Carolina. Dr. Montgomery officially retired from the University on 30 June 1975; however, he remained active in his professional organizations, particularly the SCPA, where he continued on as secretary-manager until 1988.

Montgomery's educational achievements included a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages from Wofford College (1930); a Master of Arts in Economics and Education from the University of South Carolina (1938); and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from New York University (1955).

Throughout his career, Reid Montgomery was recognized for his many contributions to the field of journalism, especially in terms of his involvement with students pursuing careers as journalists. In 1962 he was named the Distinguished Yearbook Adviser by the NCCPA/CMA. Then in 1965 he received the Gold Key Award for Distinguished Professor from Florida State University. Dr. Montgomery was also the first recipient of the Freedom of Information Award from the Central South Carolina Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists in 1984. (The award was later named in his honor.) That same year he was also named McKissick lecturer by the University of South Carolina. The SCPA created the Reid H. Montgomery Adviser of the Year Award in 1986 to recognize his service in that organization. In 1988 Dr. Montgomery was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Wofford College as well as having the CMA Distinguished Service Award named in his honor. That same year, 26-29 October was declared "Reid Montgomery Weekend" in Atlanta by Mayor Andrew Young. In 1991 Dr. Montgomery was the recipient of the CMA's Louis E. Inglehart First Amendment Award.

Of special interest among the papers are letters signed by R.J. Aycock, Morris D. Mazursky (Mayor Pro Tem of Sumter), Donald Russell, Strom Thurmond, Joe Wilson, and several college presidents. Newspaper clippings trace Montgomery's accomplishments in journalism and the honors bestowed upon him throughout his career. Also of interest are copies of Mexican and German newspapers depicting his involvement in press study tours to these countries as a member of the SCPA. A scrapbook contains clippings of Montgomery's column in The Sumter Daily Item, "Today's Roundup" (1946). Noteworthy photographs in the collection include images of Governor John C. West teaching one of Dr. Montgomery's journalism classes, a portrait of Montgomery at the time he was football coach at Pinewood High School, and several pictures of Montgomery at banquets and awards ceremonies. Other individual items of note include copies of The Pine Bur, vol. 1 (28 May 1936) and two papers recounting the history of Pinewood.

Remembered as a staunch advocate for freedom of information, Montgomery played a pivotal role in introducing into the South Carolina General Assembly freedom of information legislation which was enacted and signed into law in 1972. "For more than two decades, Reid Montgomery was the bible for First Amendment issues in the Palmetto State" (Post and Courier, Charleston, 1993). This collection contains examples of court cases and professional writings dealing with ethics and other issues pertaining to the topic of Fair Trial-Free Press.

Montgomery took the lead role in the development of journalism programs for students in all of the schools where he taught. In remarks made at Montgomery's retirement, Dean A.T. Scroggins of the University of South Carolina's College of Journalism and Mass Communications observed—"We are all the richer for your being here. Your historical place in South Carolina education and journalism is assured."

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