Author John Dennis McCallum (1924-1988) grew up in Tacoma, Washington. His parents were Mildred Tiedeman McCallum and George McCallum, and he was one of four siblings. He graduated from Washington State University in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in English and journalism, after interrupting his education to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II with the 670th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He was a student-athlete who became a prolific author, a radio and television broadcaster, and a popular and successful lecturer.
McCallum played briefly in professional baseball with the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League, and then began his professional writing career. First, he worked as a staff journalist for several Pacific Northwest newspapers, then moved to New York, beginning his work there with a daily sports column for a small tabloid newspaper. Within a few years, he had a nationally syndicated column for the Newspaper Enterprise Association. He published his first book in 1954, eventually producing nearly 40 in total, mostly popular biographies and sports reference books. His books include sole-authored works as well as many collaborations, and some projects where he operated behind the scenes as a ghostwriter. In addition to these activities, he engaged in a variety of editorial work, and served as public relations director for the National Football Hall of Fame.
In 1961, he married dancer and television actress Marjie Millar, whom he met while working on her biography. They divorced in 1963. The biography, with the working title "Talk About a Girl," never published, is now lost.
McCallum received recognition for his important contributions to Washington State athletics, and was named to the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame (1969) and the Washington State Sports Hall of Fame (1993). Among his other honors are the Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award (1975) and a distinguished service award from Pacific Lutheran University (1972). His best-known book, a biography of Ty Cobb titled "The Tiger Wore Spikes," was named the best sports book of 1956 by the New York Times.
Restrictions on Access :
This collection is open for research use.Preferred Citation :
[Item Description]. Cage 64, Guide to the John Dennis McCallum Manuscripts. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.
John Dennis McCallum: A bibliography
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