Administration Building, 313 S Locust St, Greencastle, IN 46135
In 1929, Bernard received Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University, and Doctor of Laws in 1951.
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Eighteen Editors Tell How You Can Explore Career Opportunities In Newspaper Work. Additional Contributors Are John H. Colburn, George W. Healy Jr., Frank H. Bartholomew, And Many Others.
In 1929, Bernard received Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University, and Doctor of Laws in 1951. He also received Doctor of Laws from Colby College in 1961.
While at the university, Kilgore joined Phi Beta Kappa, was editor of the yearbook, and edited the student-run paper, the DePauw, as well. Moreover, Kilgore was lucky enough to have as his roommate Charles Robbins, another budding journalist.
After Kilgore graduated from DePauw, Robbins - who had come to the Journal by way of the Indianapolis Star - found a position for him on the Journal staff. Soon after Kilgore was hired, he was packed off to San Francisco to train in all areas of newspaper production. Kilgore spent part of his first day in the press room on a mechanical assignment. The training was successful. Within two years, Kilgore was made news editor of the San Francisco office, and his column, “Dear George,” was run in both the San Francisco and New York editions of the paper.
“Dear George” was an unusual column for the Journal since it attempted to explain complex economic ideas in terms that anyone could understand. During the thirties, when Kilgore was first writing for the Journal, it was assumed that readers of the Journal came strictly from the business community. They were to be addressed in the argot of business. But Kilgore insisted that the paper would reach more readers if it addressed the businessman as a working man, rather than an economics professor. “Dear George” was a step in that direction, but it would be several years before Kilgore could shift the entire paper’s focus.
In 1935, Kilgore became the Washington Bureau chief, where his carefully neutral political coverage enabled him to make inroads at the capitol. Toward the end of his tenure in Washington, Kilgore even became the first Journal writer to join the elite Gridiron Club. By 1941, Kilgore had become so successful that he was named managing editor in New York. Within two years, he also became a vice president at the Dow Jones chemical company and finally had some control over the newspaper he had served all his life.
During the course of Kilgore’s editorship of the paper, from 1941 to 1967, the paper’s circulation grew from 33,000 readers to 1.1 million. Kilgore’s strong sense of business, and particularly of the newspaper business, made a real newspaper out of a financial newsletter. The Wall Street Journal, at which he worked all his life, was not, however, Kilgore’s entire world. In New Jersey, Kilgore also ran some local weekly papers, as well as sitting on the board of trustees for the student-run Daily Princetonian. He also edited a book encouraging young writers to become journalists. Kilgore not only wrote for everyone but helped everyone to write. Kilgore died in Princeton in 1967.
(Eighteen Editors Tell How You Can Explore Career Opportun...)1959
Kilgore was a political conservative, in line with the editorial page of the Journal. Nevertheless, its Washington coverage showed some neutrality. The Journal defended the New York Stock Exchange after the 1929 crash and was generally opposed to strong regulation of the securities markets. Kilgore, while certainly aware of the newspaper’s editorial positions, distanced himself from any major role in editorial-page policy. Kilgore’s writing helped to pave the way for his credibility in Washington. Indeed, President Roosevelt was a vocal fan of Kilgore’s, as were many in the Washington area.
Kilgore began to work on several fronts to insure that his Journal would become a great, national newspaper. Kilgore expressed three major goals for the Journal: comprehensive national news coverage; in depth reporting beyond immediate news; and broader subject matter, in which economic news was defined in the widest possible terms.
Kilgore thus developed operations carefully geared to insure that the same paper could be delivered in every major city. Moreover, he developed an editorial policy of strong, plain language in order to broaden the potential readership of the paper.
Beyond those changes, however, Kilgore also insisted that the Journal could treat national and international news from a business perspective. For example, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Kilgore refused to focus solely on what was going on in the financial markets. Instead, he published sound analysis of what the invasion meant for the country’s economic health. The changes Kilgore instigated shifted the Wall Street Journal from a stock market guide to a national newspaper with a broad, devout following.
Kilgore was a member and director of the Inter-American Press Association, a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, treasurer and honorary president of the Society of Professional Journalists, and member of the Gridiron Club of Washington Journalists.
Kilgore was an accomplished amateur photographer, and was also deeply invested in his home community of Princeton, New Jersey.
Quotes from others about the person
"Kilgore was a columnist who explained complex economic questions in simple language, and a company president who campaigned in the newsroom for clear, uncomplicated prose.” - James Bow wrote in the Dictionary of Literary Biography
On October 1, 1938, Bernard married Mary Louise Throop. They had three children: Kathryn, James Bernard, John Harvey.