Mailing Address:
Special Collections
College of Charleston Library
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424

(843) 953-8016

Title: George Chaplin papers

Collection #: Mss 1034-023

Dates: 1914-1995

Size: 49 items

Biographical Note:

The son of Eastern European immigrants, George Chaplin was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1914. Chaplin discovered his talent for journalism while attending Clemson University, where he was an editor for The Clemson Tiger. After graduation (1935) Chaplin worked as a reporter (and later editor) at the Greeneville Piedmont ( Greeneville, SC). He married Esta Solomon of Charleston, SC, in 1937 and had two children, Stephen and Jerri.

In 1940, Chaplin was one of twelve journalists chosen for a year-long Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, where he specialized in race relations. He entered the military in 1941 and was stationed in Hawaii during World War II. While in Hawaii, Chaplin started and served as the first editor of the mid-Pacific edition of the Stars and Stripes, the Armed Forces newspaper. After the war, he worked as managing editor for New Jersey's Camden Courier Post (1946-1947) the San Diego Journal (1948-1949) and the New Orleans Item (1949-1948).

In 1958, Chaplin returned to Hawaii and assumed the role of editor-in-chief for The Honolulu Advertiser. He retired in 1986, but continued to work for The Advertiser as editor-at-large, traveling to Asia and elsewhere to write articles for the newspaper. Over his career, Chaplin received numerous awards and held many professional positions, including President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (1976.) George and Esta Chaplin moved back to South Carolina ( Charleston) in the mid-1990s.

Scope and Content Note:

Material related to the life and career of George Chaplin. Includes biographical information on the Chaplin family including birth and death dates and locations for Chaplin's grandparents (Abraham and Vera Bayarsky and Chaim and Reba Tschaplinsky) and parents, Morris and Netty Chaplin; short biographies of George Chaplin and his son, Stephen M. Chaplin.

Photographs (all b/w) include formal portrait of the Chaplin, Citron and Berkovitz families in Columbia, SC (1916), photocopy image of George Chaplin in military uniform (1935), photograph of Morris Chaplin (ca. 1960s), and photo (1987) of George Chaplin receiving the Judah Magnes Award from Dr. Bernard Cherrick, Vice President of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Correspondence (1979-1982) consists of letters of congratulations for Chaplin's achievements from Mike Mansfield, U.S. Ambassador to Tokyo; President Jimmy Carter; Sen. Daniel K. Inouye; and Hawaii Gov. John Wiahee.

Publications written by Chaplin include articles on Israel, the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, use of the atomic bomb, and myths about the South, published in The Honolulu Advertiser and Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). Series of articles and clippings (1935-1995) about George Chaplin include photocopy of Chaplin's page in the Clemson yearbook (1935); articles about his many journalistic achievements; page referencing Chaplin in "Gods with Machine: A History of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1923-1993," by Paul Alfred Pratte.

Material related to Chaplin's awards and honors contains a resolution (1977) from the U.S. House of Representatives congratulating Chaplin on becoming President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors; a program (1988) from "Toasts and Roasts Honoring George Chaplin: a Benefit for the Honolulu Symphony"; resolution (1987) from City and County Council of Honolulu honoring Chaplin; copy of Herbert Harley Award presented (1991) to Chaplin by the American Judicature Society.

Also includes material (1995) related to the George Chaplin Scholar-in-Residence Program at the Center for Cultural and Technical Interchange between East and West (a.k.a. East-West Center,) Honolulu, Hawaii.


  A. Biographical Information-Chaplin Family: Includes genealogical information on George Chaplin’s parents and grandparents (i.e. where they were born, died, etc.); images of gravestones of Chaplin’s paternal grandparents (the Tschaplinsky’s) in Bialstok, Poland; history of the Jewish population in Bialstok 1740s-1940s; summary of George Chaplin’s many career achievements including dates he held various posts and received awards; four page biography of Chaplin’s life (1990); short biography of Stephen M. Chaplin (George Chaplin’s son) from the Caracas Daily (ca. 1990s)  
  B. Photographs (1917-1987): Formal portrait of the Chaplin, Citron and Berkovitz families, Columbia, SC ca. 1916; photocopy image of Lt. Col. George Chaplin, 1935; photograph of Morris Chaplin, ca. late 1960s; photocopy image of Morris and Netty Brown Chaplin, ca. late 1960s; photograph of George Chaplin, ca. 1970s; photograph of George Chaplin receiving the Judah Magnes Award from Dr. Bernard Cherrick, VP, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1987.  
  C. Correspondence (1979-1982): All photocopies; several letters to Chaplin from Mike Mansfield, Ambassador of the United States to Tokyo, re. Chaplin’s visits abroad and articles he was writing; letter (April,1980) from President Jimmy Carter thanking Chaplin for sharing time with the him during a visit to the White House; letters (1982) from U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and Honolulu Mayor, Eileen R. Anderson congratulating Chaplin on being selected as an outstanding leader in Hawaii by the Univ. of Hawaii Foundation; letter (1989) from John Wiahee (Gov. of Hawaii) commending Chaplin for years of service on Hawaii’s Board of Governors.  
  D. Publications by George Chaplin (1973-1995): Feature story/article series, "Israel 1973" from the Honolulu Advertiser; "How Elvis ‘built’ Arizona Memorial" Dec. 1, 1991, Honolulu Advertiser; "[Irving] Robinson left ‘imprint’ for good" June 18, 1994, Post and Courier (Charleston, SC); "Facts justified A-bomb use," August 9, 1995, Honolulu Advertiser; "Southern dreams-and realities: Myths muddy rival perceptions of region’s disputed heritage," ca. 1990s, Post and Courier  
  E. Publications about George Chaplin (1935-1995): Includes photocopy of Chaplin’s page from the Clemson yearbook, 1935; articles re. Chaplin’s various journalism positions, achievements and awards from publications including Newsweek, the Editor and Publisher, Honolulu Advertiser, The Greenville News, Nieman Reports (Harvard University) and mention of Chaplin in, "Gods with Machine: A History of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1923-1993."   
  F. Awards and Honors (1977-1995): All photocopies; House of Representatives Resolution congratulating George Chaplin as President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (1977); "Toasts and Roasts Honoring George Chaplin, A Benefit for the Honolulu Symphony" (1988); Resolution/The Council of the City and County of Honolulu, honors George Chaplin for outstanding service to the community….and for his promotion of excellence in journalism (1987); "A Tribute to George Chaplin, September 23, 1989, Pacific Club, Honolulu, Hawaii (program); copy of Herbert Harley Award presented to George Chaplin by the American Judicature Society (1991); material related to the George Chaplin Scholar in Residence Program, East-West Center (1995).