Rollo Anderson Clymer – 2007 Inductee

Rollo Anderson Clymer was born in Mount Ayr Township, Osborne County, Kansas, on July 23, 1888.  He was the son of Presbyterian minister George H. and Ella (Light) Clymer.  Rollo graduated high school in 1905 from Quenemo, Franklin County, Kansas, and in 1909 from College of Emporia, Emporia, Kansas.

From 1907 until 1914 Rollo worked at the Emporia Gazette newspaper for legendary editor William Allen White, with whom he remained a lifelong friend.  He later attended the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.  From 1914 to 1918 Rollo served as editor and manager of the Olathe Register newspaper.  In the midst of his work Rollo found time to marry Elizabeth Hoisington of Newton, Kansas in 1915.  In 1918 he became editor and manager of the El Dorado Republican in el Dorado, Kansas. Except for a six month hiatus in 1937 as editor and manager of the Santa Fe New Mexican in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Clymer served the remainder of his journalism career in El Dorado – 59 years in all.

Clymer oversaw the merger of the Republican and the Walnut Valley Times into the El Dorado Times in 1919.  He was widely respected as a writer and editorialist and his work was often reprinted by other editors throughout the state and nation.  Rollo wrote and published numerous widely circulated articles and poems about the Flint Hills.  His best known tribute was his poem “Majesty of the Hills.”  Rollo soon became known as the Poet Laureate of the Flint Hills and also the Sage of the Flint Hills.

As a journalist Rollo was Republican in politics.  He served as Kansas State Republican Committee in 1930 and 1934 and was part of Alfred M. Landon’s staff during the 1936 U. S. Presidential campaign.

In his life Rollo served as Public Relations Director of the Kansas Industrial Development Commission from 1939 until 1942.  He served as president of the Kansas Press Association and of the Kansas Daily Newspaper Association.  Other accomplishments included serving as president of the William Allen White Foundation and as president of the Kansas State Historical Society.  Rollo was also instrumental in gaining public support for the creation of the Kansas Turnpike through his numerous editorials in favor of the road.

In 1957 Rollo received the annual William Allen White Foundation Award for Journalistic Merit.  Three years later he was chosen “Kansan of the Year” by the Kansas Native Sons and Daughters.

A legend in his own time Rollo Clymer died on June 4, 1977, in El Dorado, where he was buried.  A final tribute to him was made when he was posthumously inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame in 1980.

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