Storke, Thomas M. (Thomas More), 1876-1971

Alternative names
Birth 1876-11-23
Death 1971-10-12

Biographical notes:


Thomas More Storke, a seventh generation Californian, was born in Santa Barbara, California. On November 23, 1876, the only son of Charles Albert and Martha (More) Storke. C. A. Storke was a prominent California land attorney, a State Legislator, the first mayor of Santa Barbara and founder of the Los Angeles Herald.

T. M. Storke received his formal education in Santa Barbara schools and was graduated from Stanford University in the class of 1898. He began his lifelong newspaper career on January 1, 1900, as owner and editor of the Santa Barbara Daily Independent. In March 1913 Storke purchased the Santa Barbara Daily News which he combined to form the Santa Barbara Daily News & Independent. Following his purchase of the Morning Press in September 1932, Storke merged the two newspapers in 1938 to form the present Santa Barbara News-Press.

In 1914, he was appointed Postmaster of Santa Barbara by President Woodrow Wilson and, following the resignation of his close friend Senator William G. McAdoo late in 1938. Storke was chosen by Governor Frank F. Merriam to be U. S. Senator from California along with Hiram Johnson.

A long-time democrat, Storke was named in 1951 to Governor Earl Warren's Special Crime Study Commission and was later appointed a Regent of the University of California by Governor Goodwin J. Knight to complete the remaining five year term of John F. Neylan. As a University Regent, Storke was instrumental in the establishment of a University of California campus at Santa Barbara. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University in 1960 and a similar honor by Colby College, Maine, in 1963.

As a crusader for civil liberties, Storke was among the first publishers during the early 1960's to speak out forcefully and at length against the ultra-conservative John Birch Society in a series of condemnatory articles against the Society and the tactics of its founder Robert Welch. As a result, Storke was awarded the Lauterbach Award by the Nieman Foundation of Harvard University in November 1961, the coveted Pulitzer Prize from Columbia University in May 1962 and the Elijah Lovejoy Fellowship for courageous journalism from Colby College in 1962.

In 1958, Storke published his memoirs under the title California Editor, and a shorter version appeared in 1963 as I Write for Freedom.

Storke sold his consolidated News-Press and KTMS radio station in 1964 while continuing as consulting editor and publisher emeritus of the newspaper until his death on October 12, 1971, at the age of 94.

From the guide to the Thomas More Storke Papers, [ca. 1906-1971], (The Bancroft Library)


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  • California--Santa Barbara County (as recorded)
  • California--Ventura County (as recorded)
  • Santa Barbara (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)