Amon G. Carter Sr. Timeline
Amon G. Carter Sr. (1879-1955) was an astute businessman, community leader, art collector, and founder of the museum that bears his name. His name is a familiar one around Fort Worth, but his influence is felt throughout Texas and nationally through his association with Texas Tech University, Big Bend National Park, American Airlines, and more. This timeline outlines some of the highlights of his life that eventually led to the founding of the Carter.
"You can’t keep taking presents off the tree unless you put some on."
Amon Giles Carter Sr.
Born on December 11 in a one-room log cabin in Crafton, Wise County, Texas, the son of William Henry (1854–1915) and Josephine Ream Carter (1859–1892).
Carter’s family moves to Bowie, Texas, where the young Carter washes dishes and waits on tables at the Jarrott Hotel; works for the Chicken and Bread Boys serving sandwiches to railroad passengers.
"I was born in Crafton, Texas. As a boy I sold chicken sandwiches at the railroad station platform at Bowie [Texas]. I waited tables at a hotel, sold soda-pop at the ball games and races on Saturdays, sold newspapers, worked for a doctor for two years taking care of his horse and buggy, sweeping out his office, and, in addition, milked a cow—all for my board to enable me to go to school. I am not ashamed of my early efforts to earn a living."
Amon Giles Carter Sr.
Begins work as a traveling salesman for the American Copying Company, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in oil-colored portrait photographs.
Becomes national sales manager for the American Copying Company; works in their San Francisco office. Develops a sales philosophy for the traveling salespeople based on “strong talk”:
"It is not what you say to a man that impresses him, but it is the way you say it ... Never lose your nerve, get discouraged or homesick—and never give up the ship."
Marries Zetta Thomas Carter on November 6 in Montague City, Texas.
Begins work for Barnhart & Swasey, an advertising firm in San Francisco.
Turns down a number of lucrative job offers and instead moves to Fort Worth, where he establishes a one-man business that he names the Texas Advertising and Manufacturing Company.
Serves as advertising manager for the Fort Worth Star, a new newspaper to rival the larger Fort Worth Telegram; the first issue is published on February 1. Starts out as an advertising manager at $35 per week; is promoted to business manager a short time later and cuts his own salary to $20 per week. Sells peaches from his small farm to local grocers to support the operations of the struggling newspaper.
Convinces an investor to buy the rival Fort Worth Telegram. The newspapers are combined to create the Star-Telegram, with Carter as business and advertising manager. Keeps a motto over his desk: “Most anybody can get results when kindly encouraged, but give me the man that can get there in spite of hell.”
Over the next few years, Carter begins to identify Dallas as part of “East Texas” and Fort Worth as the place “Where the West Begins.” Under his direction, the newspaper staff fan out over some 90 Texas counties to consolidate Fort Worth and the Star-Telegram as the region’s committed representatives.