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Willy King papers

Identifier: CHC-2000-029

Scope and Contents

This collection contains cartoons, photographs, and articles created by Willy King regarding political, scholastic, athletic, and environmental developments in Chattanooga, Tennessee and in the United States from 1942 to 1993.


  • Creation: 1928-1993
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1942-1993


Language of Materials

This collection contains materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright status of this collection has not been evaluated.

Biographical / Historical

William C. King (1911-1993) was a cartoonist, journalist, and photographer for the Chattanooga Times from 1942-1992. King, born in Bronx, New York, was raised in Rome, Georgia where he was able to cultivate a love for sketching through taking a “corresponding course of cartooning” in college. In response to the Great Depression, King dropped out of college to pursue paid employment. He picked up a job at a factory that manusfactured pants in Rome, and kept his eyes peeled for a job opening in the newspaper industry. King finally got his wish and was employed as a layout editor for the Chattanooga Evening Times, which closed soon thereafter due to war rationing. King was reassigned to the Chattanooga Times in 1942, where he remained until his retirement in 1992.

During his employment with the Times, King worked as a photographer, journalist, and cartoonist, earning him the name “Triple Threat” among his colleagues. King’s photographs typically consisted of Chattanooga landscapes, buildings, sporting events, politicians, and significant events such as presidential visits. His writing included a weekly fishing column called “Wetting a Line.”

King’s cartoons set him apart at the Times. His caricatures, which depicted anyone from a local happening to national news, added a dash of humor and optimism to what could be a seemingly dark time. These cartoons were made primarily through humorous caricatures of famous individuals. One of King’s signature caricatures was a small dapper man named “Little Willy King”. In most of his cartoons, "Little Willie King", a caricature of King himself, makes an appearance with a spot of witty dialogue to add a humorous twist. King also created annual New Year's Greeting cartoons that featured hundreds of names of important Chattanoogan individuals.

While working for the Chattanooga Times, Willy King had the opportunity to invest in the Chattanooga community. During this time he was able to work with, and help establish the Chattanooga chapter of The Big Brother Big Sister initiative. Due to his significant and impactful involvement with the Big Brother Big Sister program, King earned recognition as program’s “Man of the Year.” Followoing a career an that spanned 51 years. Willy King passed away in January of 1993.

Kennedy, Mark. “Little Willy King.” The Chattanooga Times (Chattanooga, TN), Aug. 15, 1992.

“Longtime journalist, cartoonist ‘Little Willy’ King dies at 81.” The Chattanooga Times (Chattanooga, TN), Jan. 27, 1993.

Schmidt, Philip. “King Named Chief Photographer Of Times, Baker Assistant Chief.” The Chattanooga Times (Chattanooga, TN), Dec. 8, 1974.

“William Calvin ”Little Willy’ King.” The Chattanooga Times (Chattanoga, TN), Jan. 27, 1993.

“Will King, Times Staff Photographer, Places Picture Among 30 Best of ‘65.” The Chattanooga Times (Chattanooga, TN), June 24, 1966.

“Willy King Honored.” The National Press Photographers Association (Chattanooga, TN), 1969-1970.


2.29 Linear Feet (11 containers)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Suzanne King Belcher donated this collection to the Chattanooga History Center on 2000 May 15. The Chattanooga History Center donated this accession to the Chattanooga Public Library and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on 2017 June 12.

Processing Information

Processing of this collection is complete.


Willy King papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collection Area Details

Part of the Chattanooga History Collections Collection Area

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library
c/o Special Collections
600 Douglas Street
Chattanooga Tennessee 37403 United States