Withers, Harry Clay (1880–1959)

By: Sam Acheson

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: September 1, 1995

Harry Clay Withers, editor, was born on November 20, 1880, at Denton, the son of John Allen and Mary (Coleman) Withers. He was educated in the public schools of Denton and at the Haskell Institute, Durant, Oklahoma. At the age of nineteen he enlisted in the Thirty-Third United States Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War and took part in sixteen engagements in the Philippine Insurrection campaign (1899–1901). He began his newspaper career with the Denton Record Chronicle in 1901. After a brief period with the Houston Post in 1903 he joined the editorial staff of the Dallas Morning News in 1904. He was married to Annie Sinclair on January 23, 1907. Withers advanced from reporter to sports editor of the Dallas Morning News in 1905; later he became its city editor, managing editor, and executive editor, except for the period when he worked for that newspaper's affiliate, the Dallas Journal, as city editor (1914–18) and managing editor (1918–38). During and after World War II, while he was managing editor of the Dallas Morning News, he wrote numerous analytical news articles, most of which were also broadcast over Radio Station WFAA. Withers was one of the originators of the Dallas Crime Commission, a chairman of the board of development of Southern Methodist University, and a director of the A. H. Belo Corporation. He was awarded an honorary LL.D. degree by Southwestern University in 1947. He died on April 24, 1959, at Dallas and was buried in Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery. In a resolution by Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson in the United States Senate, Withers was described as the dean of Texas newspaper editors, and the Senate voted to adjourn on May 7, 1959, in his memory.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Dallas Morning News, April 25, 1959. U.S. Congress, Congressional Record (Washington: GPO, 1873-) (Vol. 105). Who's Who in America (1950–51).
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Radio and Television
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Sam Acheson, “Withers, Harry Clay,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/withers-harry-clay.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995

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