George Dealey

George Bannerman Dealey (September 18, 1859 February 26, 1946) was a Dallas, Texas, businessman. Dealey was the long-time publisher of The Dallas Morning News and owner of the A. H. Belo Corporation. Dealey Plaza in Dallas is named in his honor, and became instantly world-famous on Friday, November 22, 1963, when it became the site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

George Dealey's press pass for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936


Dealey was born on September 18, 1859 at the home of his parents, George Dealey (1829–1894) and Mary Ann Nellins (1829–1913), on Queen St., Rusholme, Manchester, England. He was the fifth of ten children.

In the mid-1860s the family moved to Liverpool, England, where he began his schooling and worked as a grocer's apprentice. In 1870 his family immigrated to Galveston, Texas, where he continued in public school and worked at various odd jobs.

Newspaper career

On October 12, 1874 he assumed an older brother's job as office boy at The Galveston News at $3.00 per week, for the owner, Alfred H. Belo. Dealey took evening classes at the Island City Business College and rose steadily at the News. As traveling correspondent, he sent both news stories and newspaper-business reports back to Galveston.

In 1884, he determined that Dallas would be the best market for a new Belo company newspaper. In 1885, The Dallas Morning News debuted. He became the paper's manager in 1895, a board member in 1902, vice president and general manager of the corporation in 1906, and president in 1919.

Dealey refused advertising that he considered dishonest or immoral, including ads for hard liquor. He refused ads for oilfield ventures, since he could not determine which were sound businesses. The News also opposed the Ku Klux Klan's influence in the 1920s.

Dealey's also owned the G. B. Dealey Land Co. and the West Commerce Realty Co. He founded an early newspaper-owned radio station, WFAA, in 1922.

In 1926, Dealey bought the Dallas Morning News, the Journal (an evening edition), the Semi-Weekly Farm News, and the Texas Almanac from the heirs of A. H. Belo, along with a majority of the company stock.

Civic activities

Under Dealey, the News was enlisted in the cause of civic planning. A campaign of 1899 led to the foundation of the Cleaner Dallas League, which became the Dallas Civic Improvement League in 1902. He was instrumental in the adoption of the 1910 Kessler Plan to improve Dallas and provide for its growth.

He helped establish Southern Methodist University and was instrumental in bringing a Federal Reserve branch to Dallas.

Dealey served on the board of governors of the American City Planning Institute (1920–21), as vice president of the National Municipal League (1923–24), on the advisory council of the American Planning and Civic Association, and on the national committee of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. He was a director of the Children's Hospital of Texas and was president of the Family Bureau, a Dallas social agency, from its inception in 1908. He was also president of the Philosophical Society of Texas, a member of the Texas Press Association, an honorary life member of the Texas State Historical Association, founder (1922) and lifetime president (from 1933) of the Dallas Historical Society, second vice president of the Associated Press (1923–24).

He had honorary rolls at Sigma Delta Chi (1940–41) and Phi Beta Kappa (1943). He received honorary doctoral degrees from Southern Methodist University (1921), Austin College (1924), and the University of Missouri (1925), the last of which invited him to accept a gift to its school of journalism from the British Empire Press Union.[1]

Dealey Plaza in Downtown Dallas was named for him, when it was built starting in 1934, for the 1936 Texas Centennial. He initially thought to decline the honor, but was persuaded to accept it by his son. A statue of GB Dealey was made and erected in Dealey Plaza in 1949.

Personal life

He married Olivia Allen at her home in Lexington, Missouri on April 9, 1884. She was born in Lexington on November 14, 1863 and died at her home in Dallas on January 28, 1960. She had succeeded her husband as chairman of the board of A. H. Belo Corporation and was serving in that capacity when she died.

The Dealeys had three daughters and two sons. The sons were Walter Allen Dealey and Edward Musgrove (Ted) Dealey. Ted Dealey, succeeded his father as publisher of the Morning News. A younger brother, James Q. Dealey (1861–1937), was a professor of political science at Brown University and later editor of the Morning News. A nephew, Samuel David Dealey (1906–1944), was a World War II naval submarine officer who received the Medal of Honor[2] and for whom the USS Dealey (DE-1006) was named.[3] James M. Moroney III, the current publisher of the Morning News, is Dealey's great-grandson. Another grandson, Dr. Walter Allen (Al) Dealey, Jr. became a Christian minister and studied under Norman Vincent Peale.

Dealey was a Thirty-third-degree Scottish Rite Mason, Knight Templar, Shriner, and member of the Red Cross of Constantine. He was a Presbyterian and Democrat. The New York Times called him the dean of American publishers. He died at his home in Dallas on February 26, 1946, of a coronary occlusion.

He was still working as a publisher when he died of a massive coronary occlusion at his Dallas home, February 26, 1946, at the age of 86. He was buried in Grove Hill Cemetery in Dallas.



  1. Associated Press (18 November 1925). "Missouri State School Obtains Historic Stone: British Journalists Present Gift as Salutation of International Friendship". The Miami News. p. N-19. Retrieved 15 April 2014. The St. Paul's stone was accepted for the university by George Dealey of Dallas, president of the Dallas News, and former vice president of the Associated Press
  2. "Samuel David Dealey". Military Times Hall of Valor. Gannett Company. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  3. "Dealey". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. U.S. Navy. Retrieved 15 April 2014.

Further reading

External links

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