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Samuel Talmadge Ragan Edit Profile

educator , writer , poet

Samuel Talmadge Ragan was a journalist, author, poet and champion of the arts from North Carolina.


Mr. Ragan was born on December 31, 1915, in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. He was a son of William Samuel and Emma Clare (Long) Ragan.


In 1936 Sam Ragan graduated from Atlantic Christian, now Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina with Bachelor of Arts degree.


After serving in the U.S. Army as a Military Intelligence officer from 1934 to 1946, he served briefly as a reporter for the San Antonio Evening News, now the San Antonio Express-News, and then returned to North Carolina. In 1941 Mr. Ragan accepted the position of managing editor for the Raleigh News and Observer in North Carolina; in 1956, he became the paper’s executive editor, a position he held until 1969.

He also taught creative writing at local area colleges and contributed articles to journals, including Reader’s Digest, Journalism Review, and Saturday Evening Post. Mr. Ragan was a contributing editor for World Book Encyclopedia. In 1982, he was appointed poet laureate for life by Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. of North Carolina, and in 1984 was inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame.


  • Sam Ragan gained prominence as North Carolina’s poet laureate. He was numerously awarded and honored for his works.

    In 1981 St. Andrews University initiated the Sam Ragan Awards. These awards are given annually "to honor of Samuel Talmadge Ragan, North Carolina's first Secretary of Cultural Resources" Barton College founded the Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center in their honor.

    In 2003 the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association paid tribute to Mr. Ragan's memory by establishing the Ragan Old North State Award Cup for Nonfiction.


  • Trustee North Carolina School Arts , United States

    1963 - 1972

  • North Carolina Administration of Justice Council , United States

    1964 - 1996

  • North Carolina Symphony Society , United States

    1975 - 1979

  • North Carolina Literature Forum , United States

    1956 - 1996

  • Eastern North Carolina Press Association , United States

  • president 1973-1974

    North Carolina Press Association , United States

  • director general chairman continuing studies, 1961, secretary,1962, vice president,1963, president, 1964

    Associate Press Managing Editors Association , United States

  • chairman 1967-1972

    North Carolina Arts Council , United States

  • president 1977

    North Carolina Literature and History Association , United States

  • president 1979-1984

    Friends of Weymouth , United States

  • Sigma Delta Chi , United States

  • Sandhills Kiwanis (Southern Pines) , United States


Sam Ragan married Marjorie Usher on August 19, 1939. The couple had two children, Nancy and Ann Talmadge.

William Samuel Ragan - American

Emma Clare (Long) Ragan - American

Nancy Ragan Smith - American

Ann Talmadge Ragan Keeter - American

Marjorie Usher