HISTORY OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY 541

CHARLES D. SOUTH
JOURNALIST
SANTA CLARA POSTMASTER



SURNAME: BARRINGTON


A member in high standing of the fourth estate who has done much to mold public opinion, an efficient and popular public official, well known in the newspaper fraternity and the country at large through his literary work, Charles D. South, the postmaster of Santa Clara has done his full share in putting the now famous Mission town of Santa Clara on the map, and incidentally to advance the degree of culture in the new commonwealth. A New Yorker by birth and a Californian by adoption. Mr. South was born in Plattsburg, in the Empire State, March 24, 1864, and came to California with his family in 1876.

His parents were Capt. Joseph and Catherine South, and the father gave his life for his country, falling in the battle of Cold Harbor, Va., March 24, 1864, Mrs. South was a woman of unusual charm, possessing high poetic and linguistic ability, and from her Mr. South doubtless inherited much of his literary inclination and talent.

As a youth, precocious and gifted in expression, he was early headed for editorial work and a literary career. After completing the courses in the grammar and high schools, he pursued a literary course at the University of Santa Clara, and his Alma Mater has honored him with the degrees of A. M. and Lit. D. Mr. South was for some time on the staff of one of the Bay City's great dailies, the San Francisco "Call," first as exchange editor and then literary editor and editorial writer, providing a broad scope for his talents. After the San Francisco fire he returned to Santa Clara and became editor of the San Jose "Morning Times." When the portfolio of the post office at Santa Clara was offered to him in 1914, he accepted the appointment as postmaster under President Wilson, continuing ever since as the efficient incumbent of this office. It was then a more modest proposition, but in keeping with the growth of the nation and its great federal organization, and under the able administration of Mr. South and his corps of able assistants the business of the office has doubled and the parcel post has been notably developed. A fifty-mile rural route now encircles the rich fruit district to the north and northwest and a motorcycle delivery of parcel post has been installed. The Santa Clara post office sold $100,000 worth of War Saving Stamps during the 1918 drive, and thus went over the top magnificently, a fine testimonial to the patriotism and wealth of the fruit section. Mr. South served on the War Council and received governmental approbation for his services as a four-minute speaker.

Accepting the newly established chair of journalism in Santa Clara University, Mr. South took up his new duties on September 3, 1907, and the following comments from the press will be found interesting.
A news article in the
San Jose "Daily Mercury" reads as follows;

"Charles South Accepts New Chair at College--
Well known Special Writer to Give up Newspaper Work for Teaching. Charles D. South, who has been a valued special writer on the "Mercury," has accepted a position as a member of the faculty of Santa Clara College. He servers his connection with the "Mercury" this week. The faculty of the college has established in connection with its literary course a department or school of journalism, and Mr. South has been appointed professor in charge. The new department is designed to furnish a practical course in both newspaper and magazine work, according to the best standards and models. An idea of the preparation which he brings to his new task may be gained from a statement of some of the positions which Mr. South has held. He was for a time assistant editor of the Seattle "Telegraph," Later he was Sunday editor of the San Francisco "Call," and as exchange editor and editorial writer on the "Call." In the latter capacity he was under John McNaught. He has done considerable special work for the "Bulletin." Having received some of the more important assignments on that paper. Contributions, both poetry and prose have found their way into the San Francisco weeklies, notably the "News Letter." Mr. South has also done a great deal of Sunday special work, and has written many magazine articles. His standing in San Francisco and San Jose and the years of preparation presage well for his success in his new field of endeavor.
"It is with regret that the "Mercury" chronicles his departure from this newspaper. He has been a very useful special writer, his fund of available information being remarkably large, and his faculty for writing finished English in an interesting way a courteous gentleman, and has won the undisguised friendship of his fellow-employees in the "Mercury" office. They regret his departure, but are glad that there came to him an opportunity which he has desired. He will be given time from his duties in the college to do some magazine work
which he has in mind, and which the busy round of work in a newspaper office would not permit him to take up."


In the
San Jose "Times" of the same date, its editor and manager, Charles M. Shortridge, pays the following tribute to Mr. South's work;

"Charles D. South has been appointed professor in charge of the department or school of journalism, newly established in Santa Clara College. The import-
ance of the new specialty in collegiate education has been already recognized by the leading universities of the East. The object is to furnish a practical course in both newspaper and magazine work, according to the best standards and models. The mere announcement that the University of Santa Clara has undertaken to teach the art of newspaper and magazine writing is sufficient guarantee that there is sufficient demand for this branch of education and likewise a guarantee that no college in the country will equip more thoroughly and under better influences, the student of journalism, than the Santa Clara College. The selection of Mr. Charles D. South is also in accord with this spirit of thoroughness and carefulness, and we predict that the chair to which this close student and finished scholar has been assigned will soon rank among the very first of the chairs of the old college.

"We have known Mr. South for years. While we were editor of the San Francisco "Call." Mr. South
had full charge of the magazine department of this paper and likewise a supervision of the weekly issue, which furnished him a fine opportunity to display his wide and apt knowledge of journalism. Mr. South is also a young man of excellent character, therefore aside from his fine literary abilities he will instill into the student of the great art of rhetoric, as applied to news-paper work and magazine work, high and lofty ideals of the spirit which should actuate the journalist; in his every effort in his chosen profession. We predict that the new chair will become a most popular one, and that the name of Charles D. South will prove to be one of the brightest ornaments of the college which bears among its alumni many of the most forceful and brilliant men who have ever served in the literary or public life of the Pacific Coast."



While in San Francisco Mr. South did much dramatic work as a side issue. He finished "Constantine," a Roman drama, while at the University of Santa Clara, and this play was produced at the university with brilliant success in 1909 by a cast of two hundred actors--students and professionals. In recognition of the composition of the play of "Constantine," and its production under the auspices of  the institution, the faculty of the University of Santa Clara presented Mr. South with a magnificent gold medal, set with diamonds and appropriately inscribed in commemoration of the initial production at the university auditorium--a literary event in the history of the famous school. Mr. South is the author of "Captain Blunt," a comedy, "Santiago," a drama of the Cuban War, and of a drama, "Longwood," dealing with the career of Napoleon the Great. He has also written a number of clever short stories for newspapers and magazine and he now has in press a volume of poems. In the "Morning Times" of October 26, 1913, appeared a page of editorial comment signed by Mr. South, containing facts of peculiar historical interest; for there he reviewed, as perhaps no one before him had done, the history of the San Jose press, with its financial ups and downs, its motley assortments of politics, its able, upright or adventurous journalists, and the long line of headstones in the newspaper graveyard founded with the California commonwealth. This review of the pioneer journals and scribes, made while it is yet possible to reach back and grasp the fast evanescing data, is of such historical value that general appreciation has been accorded to Mr. South's comprehensive essay.

At San Francisco, Mr. South was married to Miss Jessie R. Barrington, a young lady of artistic talents and charming personality, who was born and reared in that city, a member of a prominent pioneer family. Three children have blessed their union. William B. South, Charles D. South, Jr., who was commissioned a first lieutenant in the late war, and Warren J. South, all engaged in business pursuits. A Democrat of the progressive type Mr. South has always taken a live interest in politics, and he is a leading spirit in all local, as well as general progressive movements. He is a member of San Jose Lodge No. 879, K. C., having served as grand knight for several terms.


Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 541

SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORIC BIOGRAPHIES

SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY