Baylor University Poage Library

JACK D. WHITE (1927-2012)



Jack D. White was born on January 17, 1927, in San Angelo, Texas. His parents, John Nathan White and Billie Lorena Dumas White, moved the family to Fort Worth shortly after his birth and he was raised and educated there. After graduation from Amon Carter Riverside High School in 1944, White worked briefly for the Fort Worth Press as a sports writer covering high school sports under legendary sports editor H. H. "Pop" Boone. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945, during World War II. After his discharge in 1946, White returned to Fort Worth to pursue his interest in journalism, art, and history. He graduated from Texas Christian University in 1949, with a B.A. in journalism and began an advertising career as copywriter and art director at Yates Advertising Agency in Fort Worth. In 1954, he joined the Witherspoon and Ridings Public Relations Agency in Fort Worth, which later became Witherspoon and Associates, at the time the largest advertising agency in town. White began as the firm's first art director and during his twenty-seven years with the agency rose to vice-president, executive art director, personnel manager, and part owner. He specialized in design, type management, and photography and developed their in-house facilities for darkroom work, studio photography, and slide show presentations.

Although White had photographed the city since the 1950s, he only began collecting Fort Worth photographs seriously in 1972, when Witherspoon was planning the 100th anniversary of one of its clients, the Fort Worth National Bank. He was in charge of acquiring copies of historical prints of Fort Worth for the bank's annual report, a historical booklet, and an exhibit for the bank lobby. After the anniversary event, he took care to preserve all the exhibit materials. During the next twenty years White reproduced other clients' historical photographs and took hundreds of pictures to add to the collection. Another of White's areas of expertise and collecting interests is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, in 1963. He is nationally known as an expert on the assassination and served as a photographic consultant to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations during the hearings. He was also a consultant on the Oliver Stone film, JFK. As a result of his interest in the Kennedy assassination, White published two videotapes on his photographic studies of the assassination. He has developed a slide lecture, which he presents to classes and symposia on the JFK assassination and also contributes his research to professional journals.

White retired from Witherspoon and Associates in 1981, and formed his own company, Jack White Enterprises, which specialized in free-lance art and photography. In 1984, as business increased, he took on partners. The firm's name changed to VJS Companies, and the company added new services, including typography and photostats. The firm closed for a brief period in 1991, following several setbacks, but reopened later in the year as Jack White Graphic Arts. White retired and lived in the White Lake Hills addition in east Fort Worth with his wife the former Sue Benningfield. Their home, built in 1970, was designed to focus on a view of the downtown Fort Worth skyline.

Jack died on June 18, 2012, after a long illness.


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