Vance Trimble

Vance H. Trimble (born July 6, 1913) is an American journalist. He won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in recognition of his exposé of nepotism and payroll abuse in the U.S. Congress. Trimble has worked in the newspaper business for over fifty years. Trimble was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1974. He has published numerous books since his retirement.

Vance H. Trimble
BornJuly 6, 1913 (age 105)
Known forPulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author
Spouse(s)Elzene Trimble (m. 1932 - 1999; her death)

Early life

Trimble was born in Harrison, Arkansas on July 6, 1913. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a poet and writer. Trimble's father was the mayor of Harrison, and in 1919 a railroad strike on the Missouri led to mob rule in the town. His father took the side against the mob rule and was essentially forced out of town. The family traveled to Okemah, Oklahoma in 1920 to start a new life. Trimble and his family lived in Okemah until 1929 when they moved to Wewoka. Trimble graduated from Wewoka High School in 1931. In high school, Trimble was the editor of the school newspaper as well as a full-time reporter for the Wewoka Times Democratic as a courthouse reporter, sports editor, and city editor.[1] At age eighteen, Trimble married Elzene Trimble on January 9, 1932. The two met in high school when they both worked on the school newspaper. Elzene worked at a florist shop and Trimble lost his job a week after they wed, which led to their cross country travels in order to find employment.[2] He turned 100 in July 2013.


During the Depression, Trimble worked wherever he could write. He maintained two to three newspaper jobs around the Seminole and Maud area, but only for a limited amount of time. Eventually, Trimble and his wife took to the road to find him a newspaper job. Along the way Trimble would repair typewriters, adding machines, and cash registers for money.[3] After a year and a half, Trimble got jobs in Muskogee, Tulsa, and Okmulgee. The dailies he worked for include: the Seminole Morning News, Seminole Producer, Okmulgee Times, and Muskogee Phoenix. Trimble also worked as financial editor of the Tulsa Tribune, and as editor of the Maud Enterprise. After being fired for joining the Newspaper Guild, Trimble went to work for the Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News in Texas.

In 1939, Trimble joined Scripps Howard as a copy editor for the Houston Press. Within six months, Trimble was promoted to city editor. Trimble served in the Army during World War II for two years, and when he returned was appointed managing editor of the Houston Press in 1950. In 1955, Trimble was transferred to the Scripps Howard Washington bureau as news editor in 1955. In this position, Trimble found his job to be duller than his previous job in Houston and decided to look for stories to investigate outside of his normal requirements. Trimble came across a book by Raymond Clapper about nepotism in Congress that had been published thirty years prior. He looked into current payrolls and found that around twenty percent of Congress had family members on their payroll. After running this story in the Washington Daily News, Trimble had a daily story for six months. As a result, Lyndon Johnson decided to open up the payroll records of the Senate to bring them up to date.[1]

As a result of his work, in 1960, Trimble was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Correspondence Record for Washington coverage, and the Raymond Clapper Award - referred to as the "triple crown".[4][5] Trimble stayed in DC until 1963 when he was appointed editor of the Kentucky Post in Covington, Kentucky. Trimble drastically improved the paper during his time as editor. Some of Trimble's greatest mentors in the newspaper business were Walker Stone and Paul Miller. Trimble served at the Kentucky Post until 1979.


Trimble's wife, Elzene, died on July 5, 1999. The two were married for 67 years. Trimble constructed a monument to his wife, dubbed the Oakwood Singing Tower, where she was buried in Wewoka. Though he had retired in Kentucky, Trimble moved back to Wewoka to be closer to his wife even in death.[6] When asked the secret to a long life, Trimble responded, "stay in love."[7] He has published several books since leaving the newspaper business and even worked to have them available as E-books.[8] Trimble and his wife also donated $25,000 to the Wewoka Public Library for an expansion to hold approximately 5,000 books being donated from the couple's personal library.[9]

Published works

Along with being an award-winning journalist, Trimble has published numerous books, including:[1]

  • The Astonishing Mr. Scripps: The Turbulent Life of America’s Penny Press Lord
  • Heroes, Plain Folks, and Skunks: The Life and Times of Happy Chandler
  • Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America’s Richest Man
  • The Uncertain Miracle: The History of Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Ronald Reagan, the Man from Main Street, USA
  • The Scripps Howard Handbook,3rd rev. ed.
  • Faith in My Star: A Selection of His Own Words That Showcases the Vision and Vitality of E.W. Scripps
  • Overnight Success: Federal Express and Frederick Smith, Its Renegade Creator
  • Alice & J.F.B.: The Hundred-Year Saga of Two Seminole Chiefs
  • Bing Crosby: Love & Mystery
  • An Empire Undone: The Wild Rise and Hard Fall of Chris Whittle
  • Choctaw Kisses, Bullets and Blood
  • Poetry With My Love
  • Will Rogers and His Daredevil Movie


  1. ^ a b c Finchum, Tanya; Bishop, Alex (July 6, 2013). "Oral History Interview with Vance Trimble". Oklahoma 100 Year Life Oral History Project. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  2. ^ Anson, Karen. "Wewoka author, journalist is one of Oklahoma's hidden gems". News OK. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Vance H. Trimble". Amazon. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Vance Trimble Collection" (PDF). OU Library. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  5. ^ "1960 Pulitzer Prizes Winners & Finalists". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  6. ^ Doucette, Bob. "Widower pays tribute to wife with memorial". News OK. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  7. ^ Anson, Karen. "Harrison gave birth to Pulitzer winner — Vance Trimble, 100". Harrison Daily. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  8. ^ Culver, Galen. "Great State: Trimble's E-books". News OK. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Pulitzer Prize Winner Helps Wewoka Library" (April 13, 1991). The Oklahoman. online digital archives. Retrieved 14 May 2015.

External links


1913 (MCMXIII)

was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1913th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 913th year of the 2nd millennium, the 13th year of the 20th century, and the 4th year of the 1910s decade. As of the start of 1913, the Gregorian calendar was

13 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1960 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1960.

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Houston Press (Scripps Howard)

The Houston Press was a Scripps Howard afternoon newspaper, founded in 1911, in Houston, Texas. Under the leadership of founding editor Paul C. Edwards (1911–16), Marcellus E. Foster, known as "Mefo" (1927–37), and George Carmack (1946–64), the newspaper developed a reputation for flashy stories about violence and sex and for exposés of political malfeasance. It ceased publication in 1964.

Notable former staff members included Walter Cronkite, who later became the CBS news anchor; Thomas Thompson, author of Hearts and Blood and Money; Donald Forst, later editor of Newsday and The Village Voice; Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and biographer Vance Trimble; columnists Sig Byrd ("The Stroller") and Carl Victor Little ("By The Way"); gossip columnist Maxine Mesinger; and television crusader Marvin Zindler, who once worked there as a photographer covering crime stories. Joseph Agris, who became Zindler's biographer, called the Houston Press "a paper that, by journalistic standards, had no standards at all" and Clyde Waddell who was a chief photographer in 1943.In 1963, the year before it closed, The Press had an average daily circulation (Monday-Saturday) of 90,000, and it employed 300 people. On March 20, 1964, editor Carmack and Business Manager Ray L. Powers announced that the paper had been sold to the rival Houston Chronicle for a price estimated as more than $4 million.

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Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting

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The Cincinnati Post

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Wewoka, Oklahoma

Wewoka is a city in Seminole County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 3,430 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Seminole County.Founded by a Freedman, John Horse, and Black Seminoles in January, 1849, Wewoka is the current capital of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

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