Bernard (Barney) Kilgore was the Wall Street Journal's dominant personality practically from the moment he was appointed managing editor in 1941, at the age of 32, until his death from stomach cancer at November 14, 1967, at the age of 59, after being diagnosed in the summer of 1965. Over those years he built the paper's circulation up to 1.1 million from 33,000. He created the philosophy, news formulas, corporate organization and much of the physical infrastructure that carried the Journal's circulation even further, making it the nation's largest newspaper, with a circulation at times breaking two million. Warren H. Phillips, who became the corporation's executive editor in 1966, during his tenure as chairman of Dow Jones & Company, said "I don't think there's any question that Kilgore was the most important figure in the newspaper's 100-year history."
In 1961 Kilgore received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College. He, like many of his colleagues at the Wall Street Journal, was a graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where he was a longtime member of the Board of Trustees.
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