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George R. Dale papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-045

Scope and Contents

The collection includes correspondence from 1924-1934, including a warning from the Ku Klux Klan in 1923, printed material from the Ku Klux Klan, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook from the Dale family covering the life of George R. Dale through his battles with the Ku Klux Klan and the United States federal and state court systems.

Dates

  • 1922-2011

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical Note

George R. Dale, mayor of Muncie from 1930-1935, was also the editor and publisher of the Post-Democrat, a local newspaper. Mr. Dale gained the national attention in the late 1920s for his battles with the Ku Klux Klan.

George Dale was born in Monticello, February 5, 1867, the son of an attorney. Dale was educated in the Monticello public schools, but quit in his senior year because of chronic headaches. His father died when Dale when was sixteen and his mother two years later. Following the deaths of his parents, Dale temporarily worked in a Monticello dry goods store. He then went to work for his uncle, who owned a paper mill and the first electric light plant in Hartford City, Indiana. Dale served one year as the town clerk and then established the Hartford City Times.

During this period he also met and married his wife, the former Lena Mohler. A quarrel with his business partner led Dale to sell his interest in the Times and go to Montpelier, where he established the Montpelier Call. Dale launched a fight against the liquor trade in that town and succeeded in driving out the saloon owners. Returning to Hartford City, Dale began publishing the Journal, again taking up a crusade against saloons and liquor. After his crusade largely succeeded subscriptions and general interest decreased, so Dale sold his subscription list to the Times-Gazette and moved to Muncie. With Drs. Fred and Rollin Bunch, first his friends and later his political enemies, Dale founded thePost-Democrat in 1920.

He soon gained national prominence with the paper, as he fought the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and its influence on local politics. During this long and bitter fight, Dale was physically manhandled several times. In one instance he grabbed the gun of a Ku Klux Klan assailant and shot the man in the abdomen. It was never known whether or not the man died as a result of the wound. Dale's enemies attempted to silence him through criminal libel and contempt of court charges. Dale was convicted on these charges by Judge Clarence Dearth, whom Dale had accused of being a Klan member. At one point Dearth sent Dale to the state prison farm for two days before Dale was pardoned by Governor Ed Jackson. As support for Dale's efforts poured in from across the country, the circulation of the Post-Democrat reached 18,000. Dale ran for mayor in 1929 and campaigned with the same fervor in which he ran his newspaper. He was swept into office and promptly dismissed all forty-two police officers and ten firemen of the city.

During his time as mayor, Dale was often at odds with the city council. One of his hardest fights came in 1932, when he and twelve others were indicted for violating Prohibition laws. He was convicted in District Federal Court, and his conviction was upheld by the Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, but Dale was pardoned by President Roosevelt on Christmas Eve, 1933. Defeated in his reelection bid in 1934, Dale retired to run his newspaper until his death in 1936.

Extent

0.8 Cubic Feet (2 boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Dale, George R. correspondence, 1923-1934

Series 2: Dale, George R., Ku Klux Klan documents, 1922-1944

Series 3: Dale, George R. newspaper clippings, 1925-1979

Series 4: Dale, George R. printed documents, 1925-1943

Series 5: Dale, George R. scrapbook documents, 1922-1979, 2011

Series 6: Pardon for George Dale from President Franklin Roosevelt, 1933 Dec.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation on 1980/10/01 from an unknown source and 2011/04/21 by John Dale.

Accruals

No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of the Post-Democrat are available electronically through the Ball State University Libraries' Digital Media Repository at http://libx.bsu.edu.

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie IN:

MSS.001: Richard A. Greene collection, 1945-1983

N.008: Post-Democrat newspapers, 1921-1950

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 1993/03/03 by Nancy Turner. Finding aid created 1993/03/03 by Nancy Turner. Finding aid revised 2003/02/05 by Chris Martin. EAD finding aid completed 2008/01/15 by Maren L. Read. EAD finding aid revised 2009/08/03 by Maren L. Read. EAD finding aid revised 2012/01/18 by Bethany Fiechter. EAD finding aid revised 2013/09/09 by Leslie Nellis.
Title
George R. Dale papers
Status
Completed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Contact:
Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA