James Stuart · 1969
By Donald Hartzell
James Arthur Stuart, known by many as "the man who helped me get started in the newspaper business," was born September 2, 1880, in Bloomington, Indiana, to John Wesley and Rachael E. Stuart. His father was employed as the first buildings and grounds superintendent at Indiana University, thus affording young James early exposure to college life.
In 1897 Stuart graduated from Bloomington High School and in 1901 received an AB degree from Indiana University. He married Moss Farr on October 24, 1904, with the union ending with her death in 1915. Stuart later remarried, taking Ruth L. Day as his bride on April 21, 1921.
Immediately upon graduation from college, Stuart began his newspaper career as a reporter on The Muncie Star and later rose to city editor of that paper. In 1905 he left the Muncie paper to join the staff of The Indianapolis Star, then only in its third year of operation. From 1905 to 1921 Stuart served the paper as state editor, Sunday editor, city editor, and news editor.
In 1921 Stuart left The Indianapolis Star to become editorial director of the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Times, serving in that position until 1946 when he became editor. He was also named editorial director of Central Newspapers, Inc.
Stuart remained closely connected with Indiana University throughout his years as a newspaperman. He was instrumental in beginning Indiana University’s Writers’ Conference, serving as a mentor for many Indiana authors. In 1953 Stuart was elected president of the Indiana University Alumni Association, serving on term (1953-54). In 1954 the university awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree at the school’s 125th commencement.
In 1960, for reasons of ill health and in lieu of retirement, James Stuart was named editor emeritus of The Indianapolis Star by Eugene C. Pulliam, publisher of the paper. Upon receiving his new status, Stuart was assured there would always be a desk and an office at the Star for him.
The Indianapolis Press Club honored Stuart in 1967 with the title Indiana Newsman of the Year, the highest award given to Hoosier journalists by an Indiana organization. He was again honored in 1969 upon being selected to the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame by Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists. Stuart had served as president of that organization from 1927-28 and was named fellow of the society in 1961 in recognition of his distinguished achievements in journalism.
James Stuart died on May 20, 1975, at the Emily E. Flinn Home in Marion, Indiana. Burial was in the Crown Hill Cemetery. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife, Ruth (who died in February 1979); a daughter, Mrs. John Schumacher; sons James A. Jr., and Lawrence D.; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
James A. Stuart was considered one of the most widely known newspapermen in America. During his editorship, The Indianapolis Star emerged as the leading newspaper in Indiana.
Stuart’s journalistic contributions include over fifty years of service to The Indianapolis Star in the positions of state editor, Sunday editor, city editor, news editor, editor, and editor emeritus. He also served briefly on The Muncie Star as city editor and on the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Times as editorial director. He also served as editorial director of Central Newspapers, Inc.
Higher education continued to attract Stuart’s interest and support throughout his career. He remained active in Indiana University and was instrumental in beginning the university’s writers’ conference. Such activity reflected his concern for the development of programs designed to improve the writing skills of newsmen and writers in general.
Stuart was a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the National Press Club, the Hoosier State Press Association, and the Indianapolis Press Club.
Few newspapermen have been honored more frequently and richly than James Stuart. He was named a fellow of Sigma Delta Chi in 1961. In 1967 he was named Newsman of the Year by the Indianapolis Press Club. Stuart was again honored in 1969 when he was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
James A. Stuart was an active participant in civic, health, and church affairs, serving as an officer and board member of more than thirty community groups during a fifty-five year period. These groups include Methodist and Riley Hospitals in Indianapolis, Indiana Heart Association, American Heart Association, National Council of Churches of Christ, Red Cross, YMCA, Boy Scouts of America, Council on Children and Youth, Board of Weekday Education, Indianapolis Goodwill Industries, Crossroads for Crippled Children, Rehabilitation Survey, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, United Negro College Fund, School of Practical Nursing, Indiana University Alumni Association, Indianapolis at Work, Rotary Club, English Speaking Union, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Indiana Society of Chicago, Masonic Lodge, James Whitcomb Riley Memorial Association, and Marion County Society of Crippled Children and Adults, Inc.
In recognition of such extensive community service, the Eleventh District of the American Legion named Stuart 1959 Man of the Year. He also received an award of merit in 1967 for distinguished service to the American Heart Association. In 1968 he was given a gold service medallion by the Indiana Heart Association after having served that organization as president. Marion County Heart Association presented Stuart with a special recognition award in 1969.
In 1974 Stuart was honored by the American Red Cross for fifty years of service to that organization. They Riley Association in 1972 elected Stuart a life governor.
James Stuart was also active for many years in the alumni affairs at Indiana University. He served as president of the Indianapolis Alumni Club, a member of the Alumni Visiting Committee, and first president of the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association. During his tenure as president of the Indiana University Alumni Association, Stuart helped in supervising arrangements for the alumni centennial observance in 1953-54.