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William E. Chilton Papers

Collection Number: A&M 3020

Scope and Contents

Scrapbooks, correspondence, business papers, and memorabilia of a prominent Charleston family that were long time owners of the Charleston Gazette. There are papers of W. E. Chilton, Sr., and for his son and grandson, W. E. Chilton, Jr. and W. E. Chilton, III. The papers of Chilton senior include some correspondence, but mostly land papers documenting the coal mining district in Webster and Braxton Counties. There are also scrapbooks, and contracts pertaining to the family newspaper business; and volumes on the education of W. E. Chilton, Jr. at Woodberry, VA Forest School, and at Yale. The military service of the Chiltons is documented by the service papers, photographs, and other material for W. E. Chilton, Jr. and W. E. Chilton, III in World War (WWI) I and World War II (WWII) respectively.

The initial acquisition of 1992 includes eight boxes documenting primarily William Edwin Chilton senior (1858-1939), including series for: general correspondence; rare signatures; subjects; land titles and abstracts; legal records; newspapers and pictures; scrapbooks; and artifacts. For details see inventory in control folder at the library.

The addendum of 2001 includes five boxes documenting primarily William Edwin Chilton, III (1921-1987), including series for: biographical information; incoming letters; photographs; ephemera; clippings; subjects; legal records; writings, speeches, and publications; and oversize. For details see inventory in control folder at the library.

The addendumm of 2004 includes one folder containing a book owned by Ned Chilton titled "Mr. Dooley In Peace and in War" by Finley Peter Dunne, published in 1899 by Small, Maynard and Company. The author's name does not appear in this book. Dunne was a newspaper columnist, and this book features 49 of his writings.

Rare signatures in the initial acquisition of W. E. Chilton, Sr., include: Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, Newton D. Baker, Alben W. Barkley, "Count" Basie, Lester Young, Louis D. Brandeis, Richard E. Byrd, Cab Calloway, Dale Carnegie, Tom Clark, Grover Cleveland, Charles Curtis, Josephus Daniels, John W. Davis, "Dizzy" Dean, Jack Dempsey, Thomas E. Dewey, J. DiMaggio, James A. Farley, Bob Feller, Ella Fitzgerald, John N. Garner, Lou Gehrig, Carter Glass, Hank Greenberg, W. C. Handy, Averell Harriman, Herbert Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover, Harold L. Ickes, Helen Keller, Guy Lombardo, Joe Louis, William G. McAdoo, Glenn Miller, Dwight Morrow, C. W. Nimitz, G. W. Norris, Westbrook Pegler, Gifford Pinchot, Drew Pearson, Sam Rayburn, Eddie V. Rickenbacker, Paul Robeson, Edward G. Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Babe" Ruth, J. D. Salinger, Margaret Sanger, Sam Snead, Felix B. Stump, Fred M. Vinson, "Fats" Waller, W. A. White, Jess Willard, Ted Williams, Wendell Willkie, Edith Bolling Wilson, Woodrow Wilson, and Cy Young.


  • Creation: 1884-1978


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Special access restriction applies to box 3 of original accession (not the addendum) which contains rare signatures.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.

Biographical / Historical

William Edwin Chilton, Sr. (1858-1939), US Senator and publisher of the Charleston Gazette, was born in St. Albans, West Virginia. Educated by private tutors, and later attending Shelton College, St. Albans, he began teaching school at the age of 16. He later studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1880, settling in Charleston shortly afterwards, and becoming associated with John E. Kenna, US Senator from West Virginia, who served from 1883 to 1893. He later became a member of Chilton, MacCorkle and Chilton, involved himself with Democratic politics, and attained recognition as an able leader in public affairs. He was appointed prosecuting attorney in 1883, was admitted to the Supreme Court in 1891, was chairman of the Democratic State Executive Committee in 1892, Secretary of the State from 1893 to 1897, and United State Senator from 1911 to 1917. He was recognized as an orator and writer of unusual power and force. After a defeated nomination to the United States Senate in 1924, he retired from his law practice and concerned himself with the editorship of the Charleston Gazette. He married Mary Louise Tarr in 1892, and had four children: William Edwin Chilton, Jr., J. Eustace Chilton, Eleanor Chilton, and Elizabeth Chilton Lowery Murray. Eleanor achieved recognition as a writer, authoring Shadows Waiting and Follow the Furies.

William Edwin Chilton, Jr. (1893-1950) President of the Daily Gazette Company and managing editor of the Charleston Gazette, was born in Charleston, West Virginia. He graduated from Yale in 1917, and then served during the World War, primarily in convoy flying based in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. He became managing editor of the Charleston Gazette in 1924. He married Louise Schoonmaker in 1920, and had two children: William Edwin (Ned) Chilton, III, and Mary Carroll Chilton Abbott.

Source: West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia, ed. Jim Comstock (Richwood, WV: Jim Comstock, 1976), Vol. 5.

William Edwin "Ned" Chilton (November 26, 1921 - February 7, 1987) was born in Kingston, New York, the son of Louise C. Schoonmaker and William Edwin Chilton, Jr. He grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, and was educated in the public schools. After serving in the United States Army and Army Air Corp, he graduated from Yale University in 1950. Chilton married Elizabeth "Betty" Early in 1952. They have one daughter, Susan Carroll. He was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates from Kanawha County in 1952 and was re-elected in 1954, 1956, and 1958. He was a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1960 and again in 1964, when he served on the party's platform committee. In 1967, Mr. Chilton served as a member of the Citizen's Advisory Commission on the West Virginia Legislature. After working in the promotions department, Ned Chilton served as publisher of the Charleston Gazette from 1961 until his death in 1987. The newspaper gained distinction under his direction through innovative editorial policies including "right of reply" and front page corrections. In 1982, he received the Colby College Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for courage and integrity in journalism, and in 1985 he was named to the newspaper advisory board of United Press International. He also served as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Awards committee. Although active in the newspaper business and politics, Mr. Chilton gave his time and support to numerous civic, social and public organizations.

Source: State of West Virginia House Resolution No. 15 "A House Resolution Commemorating the Passing of William E. "Ned" Chilton, III, publisher of the Charleston Gazette and former member of the House of Delegates" adopted February 16, 1987.


9.2 Linear Feet (9 ft. 1 1/2 in. (4 document cases, 5 in. each); (1 document case, 2 1/2 in.); (4 records cartons, 15 in. each); (1 records carton, 17 in.); (1 small flat storage box, 3 in.); (2 large flat storage boxes, 3 in. each); (1 folder, 1 in.))

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

William E. Chilton Papers, 1893-1978
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Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US