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Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate recently dedicated The Walter T. and Julia Pulliam Historic Newspaper Collection and unveiled a special exhibit featuring some of the most prized pieces of the collection.
An archives room at the college was also named in honor of Pulliam, retired Harriman newspaper publisher, and his wife, Julia.
Pulliam was publisher and editor of The Harriman Record and Today’s News. He is also author of “Harriman: The Town That Temperance Built.”
He donated his extensive historical newspaper collection to LMU last year. The collection includes more than 700 newspapers dating back to the 1600s.
University archivist Michelle Ganz has spent the last year cataloging the collection and selecting items for display in the Carnegie Vincent Library.
The collection is highlighted by George Roberts’ Constellation. Published in New York in 1859, the newspaper is the largest published, with its eight pages measuring 3 feet by 4 feet; opened, the sheet is 6 feet by 8 feet.
The paper had a circulation of 28,000 and was 50 cents.
Giant newspapers in page size began in England when they were taxed by the page. Eventually, papers in the U.S. in the 1840s began copying the style.
The collection also includes the world's smallest daily, The Tryon Daily Bulletin, published at Tryon, N.C., in the 1950s by Seth Vining and his wife.
Pulliam, a Knoxville native, came of age in the Great Depression. His newspaper career began in 1925, when he worked as a carrier for the Knoxville Dispatch and later the Knoxville Free Press while attending grade and high school.
His first reporting assignment came in the summer following his high school graduation for The Knoxville Times.
He later enrolled at the University of Tennessee where he earned a degree in English and history.
In college Pulliam earned extra money as a stringer for papers across the state, covering university events. He also served as editor for the Orange and White, then the UT student newspaper.
Following graduation he worked at The Knoxville Journal and then The Knoxville News-Sentinel. The attack on Pearl Harbor inspired Pulliam to enlist in the Army, where he reported for the Stars & Stripes.
After the war, he returned to The Knoxville News-Sentinel before moving on to The Washington Post, where he worked first as a reporter and then assistant city editor.
Pulliam purchased and sold several community papers during his career including The Harriman Record, The LaFollette Press, the Jellico Advance-Sentinel and The Lake City Town Crier. He served as president for the Tennessee Press Association and was integral in establishing the Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame at the University of Tennessee.
In 1966 he was awarded the Tennessee Press Association's Award for service to the newspaper industry.
Pulliam has been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists since the beginning of its Knoxville chapter, was a longtime member of the National Press Club of Washington, D.C. and the Washington Post E-Street Club.
Pulliam and his wife, the former Julia Hill Brownlow of Columbia, have one daughter, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They live in Knoxville.