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Keith Runyon papers

Identifier: 1995_100-UA

The Keith L. Runyon papers date from 1953 to 2005, with the bulk of the material dating from 1972 to 1999. Most of these papers relate to Runyon's career as Editor of Opinion Pages of the Courier-Journal, including correspondence with editorial writers, book reviewers, cartoonists, writers and would-be writers. Correspondence also covers Runyon's work with the professional society, The National Conference of Editorial Writers. The collection includes Runyon’s own writings, some dating back to 1972. Among these are his notes for his Contract Law course at the University of Louisville Law School. As a career journalist, Runyon's papers provide some insider views of the newspaper business, including the assignment book from the mid 1950s of Cary Robertson, long-time Sunday editor of The Courier-Journal, editorial conference notes and reading files, correspondence, and other items documenting this local newspaper. Topical files include research and clippings on a variety of subjects along with some information from Runyon’s travels. Although these materials came to the Archives in separate accessions, due to their nature, they have been processed and filed together as one large group.


  • 1953-2011
  • Majority of material found within 1977-1994



15.5 linear feet (12 records center boxes and 1 manuscript box)

Biographical / Historical

Louisville native Keith L. Runyon was born in 1950 and began his career in journalism while still a teenager. At sixteen years of age Runyon served as teen editor of The Evansville Courier. In 1969, shortly before he began his sophomore year at the University of Louisville, he joined the staff of The Courier-Journal as an obituary clerk in July 1969. That entry-level job initiated a twenty-six year career with the newspaper. Over the next two decades, Runyon juggled increasing responsibilities on the newspaper with continuing education, professional, family, and community activities. He has long been editor of the Editorial and Forum pages of The Courier-Journal and is credited by many in the industry for achieving balanced opinions. He is also influenced many other newspapers to modernize their graphics and layout of editorial pages. Runyon studied in England at the University of London in 1971 and received his B. A. degree from the University of Louisville in 1972. Upon graduation he joined the news staff of The Courier-Journal, serving a short internship before becoming a feature writer, general assignment writer, and a specialist in religion, higher education, and health issues. One of his early assignments was covering his alma mater, the University of Louisville, as it entered a crucial transition period to move from municipal to state institution. In 1977, the same year Runyon was elevated to the Editorial Board, he entered the University of Louisville Law School. Over the next five years, Runyon worked part-time writing editorials while completing his J.D. degree in night classes. In 1982 he became a part-time legal counsel to the Bingham companies while retaining his role as an editorial writer, and from 1984 to 1986 divided his time between these two responsibilities. Following the newspaper's sale to Gannett in 1986, he was appointed editor of the Forum. He has also been responsible for the Saturday Book Forum since 1989. Subsequently, he was named editor of Editorial Page and then editor of Opinion Pages early in 1991. Active in the National Conference of Editorial Writers, Runyon served as chair of the Education Committee, which sponsored a number of workshops providing critical reviews of editorial pages. As a member of the University of Louisville's Alumni Association's board of directors, he has chaired its publications committee. In 1971 Runyon received a scholarship from the English-Speaking Union for study in Great Britain. From 1972 to 1987 Runyon served on the board of that organization's Kentucky branch with his primary interest the continuation and growth of the scholarship program. Runyon is an elder at the Calvin Presbyterian Church. He and his wife, Meme Sweets Runyon, have two children, Amelia and Keith, Jr. Ms. Runyon is executive director of River Fields Inc., a non-profit organization that monitors environmental conditions along the Ohio River.


Arranged into four series: Series 1: Published and unpublished writings (mainly arranged chronologically); Series 2: Correspondence (arranged by correspondent and then chronologically); Series 3: Courier-Journal materials; Series 4: Topical files.


Keith Runyon Papers
In Progress
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752