Edward Musgrove (Ted) Dealey, journalist and publisher, was born to Olivia (Allen) and George Bannerman Dealey on October 5, 1892, in Dallas, Texas. He attended Dallas public schools and the Terrill School for Boys. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1913 and an M.A. degree in philosophy from Harvard in 1914. In 1915 Dealey was studying business at Harvard when he was offered the job of secretary to Cesar Maurice Lombardi, president of the A. H. Belo Corporation, publisher of the Dallas Morning News, the Galveston Daily News, and the Texas Almanac. He returned to Dallas to accept the position and later that year began his career with the Dallas Morning News as a reporter and thus a member of the fifth generation of his mother's family in the newspaper business. In 1920 he became a staff correspondent and lent his voice to the News crusade against the Ku Klux Klan. In a memo dated August 5, 1924, to his father he insisted that the paper endorse Miriam A. Ferguson against the 1924 Klan gubernatorial candidate. In 1924 Dealey became an editorial writer and editor of a Sunday magazine supplement. He began his executive rise in 1926 as a board member of the Belo Corporation and became assistant to the publisher in 1928, vice president in 1932, and president in 1940, succeeding his father, who had established the Dallas Morning News in 1885. At this time Dealey and the News campaigned editorially against courthouse corruption in Dallas County. In 1960 he became publisher and chairman of the board. He resigned the board chairmanship in 1964 but remained as publisher until 1968, when he became publisher emeritus.
Despite his administrative obligations, Dealey continued to write. During World War II he served as staff correspondent of the News in the Far East and witnessed the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri. His dispatches were later published by the News in Sunset in the East (1945). He also served as a major commanding the Twenty-ninth Battalion, Texas Defense Guard (1941–42), and as a major in the United States Army Specialist Corps (1942–43). In addition to accounts of his travels he published several short stories. His Diaper Days of Dallas (1966) was a reminiscence of early Dallas. Articles by Dealey also appeared in such popular magazines as the Saturday Evening Post and scholarly journals, including the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.
Dealey was president of Dallas News Radio Corporation (owner of station WFAA), which acquired WFAA-TV in 1950. He was instrumental in founding Southland Paper Mills, which processed the first modern newsprint west of the Mississippi. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Texas Newspaper Publishers Association (president 1935–36, 1936–37), the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association (president 1937–38, chairman 1938–39), the Advertising Federation of America, and the American Newspaper Publishers Association. In 1948 he served as first vice president of the Associated Press. In 1961 Dealey made national news when he impugned President John F. Kennedy's leadership ability at a White House luncheon.
Among his civic activities Dealey served as a trustee of the Texas Research Foundation and the Scottish Rite Hospital and director of the Dallas Historical Society and the State Fair of Texas. He was also a charter member of the Dallas Citizens Council. As organizer, president (1955), and then board chairman (1960) of the Dallas Zoological Society, he was responsible for extensive improvements at the Dallas Zoo, to which he donated his outdoor and sporting library of 2,000 volumes. For work such as this he was awarded the Poage Award from the Society for Animal Protection as Humanitarian of the Year in 1960. Another of his favorite concerns was the Southwest Diabetic Foundation in Gainesville, Texas.
On March 1, 1916, Dealey married Clara MacDonald, with whom he had three children. He married a second time on June 29, 1951, to Mrs. Trudie Kelley. Dealey was a thirty-third-degree Mason, a Presbyterian, and an independent Democrat. He was also an avid hunter and fisherman and was known nationally as a breeder of Airedale and Welsh terrier dogs. He died on November 27, 1969, of a heart attack at his home in Dallas.