Handbook of Texas
Amon G. Carter Foundation
Texas Christian University
Amon G. Carter
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Hall of Fame Class of 2008
Amon G. Carter Sr., longtime publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, was born in a log cabin near Crafton, Texas, in 1879. He died at his home in Fort Worth in 1955.
He quit school to help his family when he was eleven years old, did odd jobs in Bowie, and later worked in Oklahoma and California
He soon became advertising manager of the Fort Worth Star and in 1908 its owner. He then bought its larger competitor, the Fort Worth Telegram, and founded the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Jan. 1, 1909. In 1925, he bought another rival newspaper, the Record,
Carter saw opportunity to the west of Fort Worth and sent sales people to the far reaches of the state, setting up circulation offices near bus stations and train depots. The newspaper's circulation and influence grew and grew. He called Fort Worth "Where the West Begins" and ran the slogan on every day's front page of the paper.
From 1923 until after World War II, the Star-Telegram had the largest circulation of any newspaper in the southern United States, serving Fort Worth, West Texas, New Mexico and western Oklahoma, a land area more than twice the size of New England.
Carter was unequalled as a booster for Fort Worth and all of West Texas, personally touting the region's attributes in venues as far away as New York, N.Y., Washington, D.C., and Europe.
He persuaded the Texas Legislature to establish a four-year state college (new Texas Tech University) in Lubbock, and he was the first chairman of its board of directors. The main entry to the campus, named Amon G. Carter Plaza, includes a sculpture of the univesity's seal, set against a backdrop of a seven-jet fountain and an equestrian statue called "Riding into the Sunset."
Carter personified the popular vision of cowboys and the West and he courted celebrities like Will Rogers and Walter Winchell. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art has the world's foremost collection of works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell—the two greatest artists of the American West.
Carter convinced Southern Air Transport (now American Airlines) to move its headquarters from nearby Dallas to Fort Worth. His disdain for Dallas, Fort Worth's much larger and much richer neighbor, was legendary in Texas. One of the best-known stories about Carter is that he would take a sack lunch whenever he traveled to Dallas so he wouldn't have to spend any money there.
In 1922 Carter established WBAP, Fort Worth's first radio station; it became the first television station in the South and the Southwest
He was the youngest president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. And when oil was discovered in North Texas in the 1920s he helped persuade oilmen to move to Fort Worth and encouraged construction of downtown skyscrapers. He later served as director of the American Petroleum Institute.
Besides American Airlines, he also was instrumental in General Dynamics and Bell Aircraft Corp. establishing plants near Fort Worth. Amon G. Carter Field was named for him in 1950.
Carter's roles as newspaper publisher, civic booster and philanthropist have left a widespread legacy. Just a few examples in Fort Worth alone: Texas Christian University's Amon G. Carter Stadium, the world-famous Amon Carter Museum, and the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law's main auditorium.
The publisher also was noted for his large-scale philanthropy, fueled by wealth from the oil business. His generosity was recognized
Carter was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2008 as one of four members of the Hall's second class of honorees.