Vance H. Trimble
Vance Henry Trimble
July 6, 1913
|Known for||Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author|
Vance Henry Trimble (born July 6, 1913) is an American journalist. He won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in recognition of his exposé of nepotism and payroll abuse in the U.S. Congress. Trimble has worked in the newspaper business for over fifty years. Trimble was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1974. He has published numerous books since his retirement.
Trimble was born in Harrison, Arkansas on July 6, 1913. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a poet and writer. Trimble's father was the mayor of Harrison, and in 1919 a railroad strike on the Missouri led to mob rule in the town. His father took the side against the mob rule and was essentially forced out of town. The family traveled to Okemah, Oklahoma in 1920 to start a new life. Trimble and his family lived in Okemah until 1929 when they moved to Wewoka. Trimble graduated from Wewoka High School in 1931. In high school, Trimble was the editor of the school newspaper as well as a full-time reporter for the Wewoka Times Democratic as a courthouse reporter, sports editor, and city editor. At age eighteen, Trimble married Elzene Trimble on January 9, 1932. The two met in high school when they both worked on the school newspaper. Elzene worked at a florist shop and Trimble lost his job a week after they wed, which led to their cross country travels in order to find employment. He turned 100 in July 2013.
During the Depression, Trimble worked wherever he could write. He maintained two to three newspaper jobs around the Seminole and Maud area, but only for a limited amount of time. Eventually, Trimble and his wife took to the road to find him a newspaper job. Along the way Trimble would repair typewriters, adding machines, and cash registers for money. After a year and a half, Trimble got jobs in Muskogee, Tulsa, and Okmulgee. The dailies he worked for include: the Seminole Morning News, Seminole Producer, Okmulgee Times, and Muskogee Phoenix. Trimble also worked as financial editor of the Tulsa Tribune, and as editor of the Maud Enterprise. After being fired for joining the Newspaper Guild, Trimble went to work for the Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News in Texas.
In 1939, Trimble joined Scripps Howard as a copy editor for the Houston Press. Within six months, Trimble was promoted to city editor. Trimble served in the Army during World War II for two years, and when he returned was appointed managing editor of the Houston Press in 1950. In 1955, Trimble was transferred to the Scripps Howard Washington bureau as news editor in 1955. In this position, Trimble found his job to be duller than his previous job in Houston and decided to look for stories to investigate outside of his normal requirements. Trimble came across a book by Raymond Clapper about nepotism in Congress that had been published thirty years prior. He looked into current payrolls and found that around twenty percent of Congress had family members on their payroll. After running this story in the Washington Daily News, Trimble had a daily story for six months. As a result, Lyndon Johnson decided to open up the payroll records of the Senate to bring them up to date.
As a result of his work, in 1960, Trimble was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Correspondence Record for Washington coverage, and the Raymond Clapper Award - referred to as the "triple crown". Trimble stayed in DC until 1963 when he was appointed editor of the Kentucky Post in Covington, Kentucky. Trimble drastically improved the paper during his time as editor. Some of Trimble's greatest mentors in the newspaper business were Walker Stone and Paul Miller. Trimble served at the Kentucky Post until 1979.
Trimble's wife, Elzene, died on July 5, 1999. The two were married for 67 years. Trimble constructed a monument to his wife, dubbed the Oakwood Singing Tower, where she was buried in Wewoka. Though he had retired in Kentucky, Trimble moved back to Wewoka to be closer to his wife even in death. When asked the secret to a long life, Trimble responded, "stay in love." He has published several books since leaving the newspaper business and even worked to have them available as E-books. Trimble and his wife also donated $25,000 to the Wewoka Public Library for an expansion to hold approximately 5,000 books being donated from the couple's personal library.
Along with being an award-winning journalist, Trimble has published numerous books, including: