E. Ross Bartley followed his job to Washington, D.C., and beyond before he came full circle, ending his career as Indiana University’s director of university relations. Along the way, he worked as a White House correspondent, secretary to a U.S. vice president and press secretary to a presidential candidate.
Bartley was born in 1892 in Brookston, Indiana. At IU, he majored in political science and studied journalism, and he worked on the Indiana Daily Student From there, he became city editor of the Bloomington Journal, then worked for United Press in Indianapolis and New York and for the Ohio State Journal.
In 1916, Bartley was hired by the Associated Press, first in Pittsburgh and then in Washington, D.C., as an editor and correspondent to the U.S. Senate and to the White House, where he covered the Wilson, Harding and Coolidge administrations. He traveled with Harding to the West Coast and Alaska in 1923, and was said to be the first reporter to file a story on the president’s death.
In 1924, Bartley was assigned to cover Gen. Charles G. Dawes, the Republican candidate for vice president. After Dawes won, Bartley became his secretary. When Dawes’ term was over, Bartley worked for a brokerage firm before being appointed director of publicity for the World’s Fair, held in Chicago from 1933¬–34.
In 1936, presidential candidate Alf Landon, governor of Kansas, hired Bartley as his press representative. Landon lost to Franklin Roosevelt, and Bartley went back to the corporate world.
In 1938, newly appointed IU president Herman B Wells hired Bartley as head of the IU News Bureau. He later became director of university relations. Bartley retired in 1962, but continued his work for the university at the IU Foundation. He died in 1969.