Kilman, Edward Wolf (1896–1969)

By: Margaret Kilman Terry

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Updated: April 11, 2017

Edward Wolf (Ed) Kilman, newspaper editor and authority on Texas history and politics, was born on November 27, 1896, in Ennis, Texas, to Thomas Lee and Rose Anna (Wolf) Kilman. In 1902 the family moved to Houston, where he attended public schools. He enrolled at Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) in 1915 and was in a national guard officer-training camp at Leon Springs, Texas, when World War I ended in 1918. After the war he was secretary to state senator Luther Dean of Huntsville.

In 1925 Kilman became a reporter for the Houston Post-Dispatch (see HOUSTON POST), where he remained until he retired. He wrote and briefly edited feature articles for the Post's first Sunday supplement. In 1927 he became the newspaper's Capitol correspondent; in that capacity he reported news of the Texas legislature and of state politics. He was named editor of the editorial page in 1941, and in 1961 he became editor emeritus. He wrote his "Texas Heartbeat" column until 1965.

Kilman was coauthor with Louis W. Kemp of Texas Musketeers (1935) and The Battle of San Jacinto and the San Jacinto Campaign (1947), with Charles E. Gilbert of The Cullens and Two Great Texans (1949), and with Theron Wright of Hugh Roy Cullen (1954); in 1959 he wrote Cannibal Coast, a book about the Karankawa Indians of Texas. He also wrote a history of Houston and a biography of Ross S. Sterling that were not published. He was probably best known for "Texas Heartbeat," in which he discussed everything from purple martins to politics, with most of his attention focused on Texas history, folklore, and archeology. In 1945 and 1946 Kilman was featured on a weekly radio program (also entitled "Texas Heartbeat") on Houston station KPRC.

In 1947 he toured the World War II European Theater of Operations with a group of newsmen from all over the United States. In 1949 he went to England to observe Britain's experiment with socialism, and he returned to Houston to write a widely circulated series of articles on his findings. Kilman, who enjoyed a lengthy association with Post owner and former governor William Pettus Hobby, wrote a series of anti-Communist editorials in 1951 and advocated strict state and federal anti-Communist laws. He married Alice Rogers on November 24, 1920, in Houston, and they had one daughter. He served as president of the Harris County Historical Society and was a member of the Texas Philosophical Society and the State Parks Board. He died on June 8, 1969, in Houston.

Don E. Carleton, Red Scare (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1985). Ed Kilman Papers, Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
Time Periods:
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Margaret Kilman Terry, “Kilman, Edward Wolf,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

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February 1, 1995
April 11, 2017

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