You are here

Aileen Chambers Evans

Aileen Chambers Evans

2018

Aileen Chambers Evans inherited the News-Democrat in Russellville in 1940 when her husband died at age 47. She poured her life into the community newspaper for the next 28 years before selling it. In her farewell column, she wrote, “I have written miles of copy of every kind and have walked miles of concrete in advertising.” But the only time her byline appeared in the newspaper was on that final column. Her original nomination was written by John Siegenthaler, the highly respected editor of the Tennessean in Nashville and a staunch defender of the First Amendment. Siegenthaler recalled writing a story on Thanksgiving Day 1953 revealing that a Russellville woman who had disappeared and been declared dead was actually living in Texas. Mrs. Evans called her staff and they published an “extra” before dinner. Siegenthaler’s letter reports that the story made international news. Mrs. Evans and her staff, according to the letter, won more than 70 awards in the annual Kentucky Press Association contest. Her ownership of the newspaper was a family matter: children and grandchildren worked at the News-Democrat and went on to other news outlets. Mrs. Evans, who was born in 1895, graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt while playing for the women’s basketball team.