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Vance Trimble Collection

Identifier: WHC-M-2782

Scope and Contents


Correspondence (1937-1995), research files (1986-1990), manuscripts (1953-1990), newspaper clippings, magazines, books, and scrapbooks (1899-1997, 2006) from the life and career of author, journalist and 1960 Pulitzer Prize winner Vance H. Trimble. In 1960, Trimble was awarded a journalism "triple crown": the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, the Sigma Delta Chi award for distinguished Washington correspondence, and the Raymond Clapper Award for the year's best Washington reporting for an investigation of nepotism and payroll abuse in Congress. The collection also includes publicity and book reviews for Trimble's biographies of Happy Chandler, E. W. Scripps, and Sam Walton.


  • Creation: 1899-2006

Restrictions on Access

Open for public research. This collection is located at the Library Service Center. Request via Sooner Xpress to view at the Western History Collections.

Biographical / Historical

Newspaper editor and author Vance Henry Trimble was born to Guy L. and Josephine (Crump) Trimble, July 6, 1913 in Harrison, Arkansas. He attended public schools in Wewoka, Oklahoma, during childhood. Married Elzene Miller January 9, 1932, and had one daughter, Carol Ann (Nordheimer). Trimble won the “triple crown” in 1960 by receiving a Pulitzer prize in journalism, the Raymond Clapper award, and the Sigma Delta Chi award for distinguished Washington correspondence for a series of investigational articles on Congressional nepotism. Trimble began his news career as a cub reporter for the Okemah Daily Leader in 1927, and had a successful career in news reporting and editing in Oklahoma, Texas, Washington D.C., and Kentucky. Most notable among the positions Trimble held are reporter and managing editor for the Houston Press, news editor of the Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance, and editor of the Kentucky Post and Times-Star. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1974. Trimble retired from news writing and editing in 1979, but also conducted a second career as a freelance writer of detective stories (1938-1958), and investigational books and biographies of American businessmen (1974-1995). As a biographer, he is perhaps best known for his works on Wal-Mart’s founder in Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America’s Richest Man (1990), and on Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance’s founder in The Astonishing Mr. Scripps: The Turbulent Life of America’s Penny Press Lord (1992).

Chronology of Vance Trimble’s career, 1927-1995:

1927 Okemah Daily Leader cub reporter (after school and during summer)

1928-1931 Wewoka Times-Democrat cub reporter, sports writer, courthouse reporter, deskman, wire editor (before and after high school and Saturday nights, vacations, etc.)
Maud Daily Enterprise news editor

1931-1932 Seminole Morning News news editor Seminole Producer reporter Seminole County News editor
The Wewoka Weekly advertising manager, editor and publisher
Wewoka Times-Democrat, rural circulation solicitor
Shawnee Morning News, Konawa correspondent and circulation man

1933 On the road as itinerant typewriter, adding machine, and cash register repairman, ranging from Florida to Colorado

1934 Muskogee Phoenix reporter and deskman
Seminole Daily Reporter deskman

1935 Okmulgee Daily Times city editor and news editor

1936 Tulsa Tribune financial editor and Saturday night slotman
Beaumont Enterprise waterfront reporter and deskman

1937 Port Arthur News telegraph editor

Aug. 15, 1939 Houston Press copyreader

Spring 1940 Houston Press city editor

Summer 1942 Houston Press reporter on wide range of beats from city hall to criminal courts

WWII – Mar. 4, 1944 – Oct. 31, 1945 U.S. Signal Corps, assigned as editor of newspaper at Camp Beale, CA

Fall 1945 Houston Press reporter

Spring 1946 Houston Press city editor

July 22, 1949 Houston Press managing editor April 1955 Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance, Washington D.C., news editor, subsequently congressional investigative reporter and economics writer

Aug.-Nov. 1957 El Paso Herald Post, caretaker of editorial operations during illness of editor Ed Pooley

1960 Recipient of the Pulitzer prize for national reporting
Recipient of the Raymond Clapper Award
Recipient of the Sigma Delta Chi award for distinguished Washington correspondence

Oct.-Dec. 1962 Houston Press trouble shooter, temporary acting managing editor

Jan. 14, 1963 Kentucky Post and Times-Star editor

1974 Published The Uncertain Miracle: The Little-Known Maverick Medical Treatment Which Has Saved the Lives of Thousands of People
Named to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame

July 6, 1978 Reached retirement age of 65, but was asked to continue as editor for an additional year

July 27, 1979 Retired from newspaper career

1981 Edited the Scripps-Howard Handbook

1989 Co-authored Heroes, Plain Folks and Skunks: The Life and Times of Happy Chandler
Edited Faith in My Star

1990 Published Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America’s Richest Man

1992 Published The Astonishing Mr. Scripps: The Turbulent Life of America’s Penny Press Lord

1993 Published Overnight Success: Federal Express and Frederick Smith, Its Renegade Creator

1995 Published Empire Undone: The Wild Rise and Hard Fall of Chris Whittle


10.5 Cubic Feet (10.5 ft.)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Papers: Source of acquisition--Trimble, Vance H. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1999.

Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Western History Collections Repository

630 Parrington Oval
Room 300
Norman Oklahoma 73019 United States