Silliman Evans

 

 

Induction Year: 1969

Lived: 1894-1955

 

Papers:

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Tennessean, Nashville

Chicago Sun

 

Silliman Evans had established a reputation as the "most influential political reporter" in his native Texas and gone on to play a major role in national politics and business before he purchased the Nashville Tennessean in 1937.

 

The combination of his experience on Texas newspapers and wire services and in establishing or reviving business ventures was just what the Tennessean needed. He quickly merged advertising departments and mechanical facilities with James G. Stahiman's Banner, setting a pattern for such mergers. And in 45 days the Tennessean was showing a profit.

 

Under Evans the Tennessean became one of the most active and potent newspaper voices in the state. He had successfully fought the Klan in Texas, and in Nashville he turned his attention to the Memphis-based Crump political machine.


Although the machine collapsed in 1948, in his will Evans admonished his son to "fight the machine in Memphis."

 

Evans' Tennessean championed the cause of the TVA and the development of the Tennessee Valley; he helped rid the state of the poll tax; and he supported measures to improve the Nashville area and the South in general, particularly the recruiting of new industry.

 

In 1941 Marshall Field employed Evans to establish and manage the Chicago Sun, to compete with the Tribune. For the next few years he shuttled between the two cities. But in 1944, with the Sun well established, he returned to Nashville to push the Tennessean to greater heights.