Edward R. Murrow’s 104th Birthday

Edward R. Murrow photographed by Don Sturkey
Photograph by Don Sturkey

On this day in 1908 Edward R. Murrow was born in the Guilford County community of Polecat Creek. Named Egbert Roscoe Murrow by his parents, the CBS News broadcast legend changed his name to Edward while a college student. The Murrow family left their Guilford County farm when Murrow was six and moved to Washington in search of more prosperous work in the lumber industry. However, Murrow always remained loyal to his Piedmont roots, visiting Guilford County and other parts of the state throughout his life. The Charlotte Observer‘s Don Sturkey captured the image above during Murrow’s stay at the Hotel Charlotte in the Queen City in December 1956. The photograph below was taken about 1951 and is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory collection. The photographer, location and exact date of the photograph are unknown. I’m still searchng for details on Murrow’s visits to Chapel Hill and Charlotte. I’ll add to the story if and when I find additional information. In the meantime, our colleagues at NCPedia have created a rich entry on Murrow.
Edward R. Murrow with
Gordon Gray, president of the UNC system; Edward R. Murrow; F.O. Carver, president of the Carolinas Radio News Directors Association; and Chancellor Robert B. House

3 thoughts on “Edward R. Murrow’s 104th Birthday”

  1. A most interesting post John. Earlier this year I wrote a piece for the Hugh Morton website, “A View To Hugh,” about Charles Kuralt. In doing the research for that piece, I recall seeing 3 mentions of the Edward R. Murrow 1951 visit to UNC. One was part of a Kuralt timeline at this ink:


    (“Spring 1951: (Kuralt) Travels to Chapel Hill to hear Edward R. Murrow speak. Kuralt’s ‘heart beat faster,’ he wrote to Wesley Wallace. ‘There he was in [the] same room.”)

    The second mention is also part of a timeline in the 1987 book, “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: The First 200 Years” on page 45 (top right under 1951).

    It simply says,” Edward R. Murrow spoke to the student body.”

    Finally, on page 116 of the February, 1951 issue of “The Alumni Review” there is the same picture that you have and the caption reads:

    “At center left is a group gathered February 17 for an address at the University by Edward R. Murrow, the radio news commentator. Left to right: President Gray, Murrow, F.O Carver, Jr. ’32 (President of Carolinas Radio News Directors), and Chancellor House.”

    So, it’s Carver instead of Wynn. If memory serves, Carver was News Director at WSJS in Winston-Salem.

    Later in 1951, on December 2nd, Murrow would begin his historic CBS program “See It Now.” That “program led television news out of infancy and into maturity,” according to Vincent Terrace in his 1976 book “The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947-1976,” Vol. II.

  2. Jack,
    Thanks for digging up the date of Murrow’s visit and correcting me on one of the photo id’s. The date you supplied helped me gather more information from the Daily Tar Heel.

    Murrow’s visit coincided with an all-day “news clinic” of the Carolinas Radio News Directors Association (CRNDA). The broadcaster arrived by plane at Raleigh-Durham Airport and was met by a delegation that included UNC Chancellor Robert B. House and Frank Jarman, representing the CRNDA.

    Then (here’s the best part), Murrow and his greeters were driven to Chapel Hill with a state police escort. Perhaps that’s the kind of treatment you get with a Saville Row suit.

    The broadcaster was feted with a lunch at the Carolina Inn and then addressed CRNDA members at Swain Hall on “Who is Entitled to a Loud Voice?” Chancellor House introduced Murrow.

    In the evening Murrow spoke to a crowd of students, faculty and townspeople at Hill Hall, offering his ideas on the best ways to communicate American foreign policy to the world. The broadcaster would find that issue among his daily concerns 10 years later, when he retired from CBS News and assumed leadership of the United States Information Agency.

  3. On October 19, 1930, The Daily Tar Heel covered the visit of Egbert Roscoe Murrow who spoke to a joint meeting of the Di and Phi Societies. Murrow was then president of the National Federation of Students. He would later join Carthage, NC’s John A. Lang, the president of the Phi Society and President of North Carolina Federation of Students, on a tour of area colleges to speak to students during Student Government week.

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