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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

COLLINS, JAMES WALTER

COLLINS, JAMES WALTER

COLLINS, JAMES WALTER (16 Sept. 1889-16 Aug. 1971) filled what he regarded as the most important job in metropolitan journalism for 33 years as city editor for the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Born in Portland, Me., he was the son of James and Olive Fogelin Collins. While still in high school, he began writing for the Brockton (Mass.) Times. In 1911 he became a sports writer, and later telegraph editor, for the Providence Journal in R.I. He was hired to direct the Plain Dealer's copy desk by ERIE C. HOPWOOD in 1919 and became day city editor 2 years later. In 1921 he married Lora Montgomery, a former Plain Dealer secretary and Kentucky school teacher. His tenure as city editor began in 1929, during which time he violated all stereotypes of the position by never yelling or even swearing. Nevertheless, he headed a news team which won an award from the CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER GUILD for its coverage of the SHEPPARD MURDER CASE. He also shared a Sigma Delta Chi National Public Service Award for exposing a gypsy-chasing racket by the Teamsters Union. In retirement Collins worked for the re-election of Ohio Governor Michael DiSalle and headed a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury in 1965. Predeceased by his wife and a daughter, Ruth, he was survived by another daughter, Virginia, and a son, Philip. He was buried in Lakewood Park Cemetery and inducted posthumously into the CLEVELAND JOURNALISM HALL OF FAME.