York native Frederick Woltman won Pulitzer in 1947

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Composer Dominick Argento is not the only achiever with York County roots to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Frederick Woltman, a native Yorker and reporter for the New York World-Telegram, gained the coveted prize in journalism 60 years ago.
This makes him one of York County’s most honored journalists, joining Robert Maynard, the Baltimore Sun’s Art Geiselman and the New York Times’ Manny Freedman and the Denver Post’s Craig F. Walker.


Woltman received his early education in York schools before moving to Pittsburgh. His father and grandfather were involved in the real estate and insurance business in York.
Frederick graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, taught philosophy for a year and then worked for the New York Telegram.
According to a yellow clipping at the York County Heritage Trust, Woltman collaborated with Joseph Lily toward winning the Pulitzer in 1931 in a series of stories exposing a real estate mortgage bond racket.
He came close in 1933 with an honorable mention for his reporting on the status of banks in suburban areas after President Roosevelt proclaimed a mandatory bank holiday.
He won his 1947 prize for reporting on “The Infiltration of Communism into the United States.” (Click here.)
Maynard and Geiselman worked at the The Gazette and Daily early in their careers. Maynard’s Oakland Tribune won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990.
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At least five other journalists with York County links have ties to the Pulitzer.
Los Angeles Times photographer Clarence Williams, who interned with the York Daily Record in the early 1990s, won for feature photography. He documented the plight of children whose parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Bruce Ritter, a York native and former artist with the York Daily Record, was part of a team from Knight-Ridder newspapers who covered critical flooding in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Stories by Ivey DeJesus and Jeff Frantz, former York Daily Record reporters, were part of the entry on the Penn State scandal in 2011 investigated by the Patriot-News. That newspaper and reporter Sara Ganin received the Pulitzer for journalistic work on the child abuse cases against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Craig F. Walker of the Denver Post has won two Pulitzer Prizes in photography – the only York countian to do so. The York Suburban graduate freelanced for the York Daily Record.
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Back to Frederick Woltman.

How  did he do it?
Time magazine provided insight in 1947:

Freddy Woltman gets most of the stories he writes by sitting at his desk in the city room. Other reporters usually develop the tips. A carefully cultivated army of tipsters, many of them disgruntled ex-Communists, keep his two phones humming all day long. Woltman checks the tips in a four-decker steel filing case, which bulges with clippings, speeches, articles, manifestoes, bulletins and letters from Communist sources, files of Woltman’s “favorite morning newspaper”: the Daily Worker. His steel filing case helped Woltman put the finger last year on Gerhart Eisler as the No. 1 Communist agent in the U.S. Says Freddy Woltman: “Simple enough. I just put two & two together”– from the filing case, that is.

Edited, 4/16/12

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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4 Responses to York native Frederick Woltman won Pulitzer in 1947

  1. H. Jay Siskin says:

    As a follow-up to this post, I wonder if you have information regarding Woltman’s later years? I’m trying to reconstitute his biography for a book I’m writing.

  2. Jim McClure says:

    Jay, There’s not much locally on Woltman. Still, you might check with York County Heritage Trust archives. I’m remembering that his file containing a newspaper clipping and that’s about it.
    Jim

  3. H. Jay Siskin says:

    Thanks, Jim, I’ll let you know what I find out!

  4. Beverly Woltman-Fredrickson says:

    Siskin ~ Have you finished your book?

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