Robert A. McGaw Papers
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McGaw was born in Nashville, TN March 25, 1914 to Samuel M. and Bonnie Howard McGaw. A product of Nashville public schools, he graduated from Hume Fogg High School in 1931. Accepted into Vanderbilt University, he only attended for 1 year before he went to work at the Nashville Banner in the sport department under Vanderbilt Alumnus Fred Russell. In 1936 he went work at Methodist Publishing House where he served as magazine editor, advertising manager, and director of personnel and public relations. He stayed at Methodist Publishing House till his move Vanderbilt, with the exception of the leave of absence he took to serve in the United States Marine Corps as a celestial navigator in the Pacific Arena of WWII.
In addition to his job as Secretary of the University, McGaw was also the executive secretary of Alumni relations, director of information and publications, and chief editor and designer of Vanderbilt publications. As a designer McGaw was responsible for creating the Vanderbilt shield, stationary, and diploma. Two significant works he wrote and published for Vanderbilt were Vanderbilt: A Brief History (1973) and The Vanderbilt Campus: A Pictorial History (1978).
Outside of Vanderbilt, McGaw was an active member in Nashville society. He was a charter member of the Metro Historical Commission, a member of the Tennessee Historical Society and the Old Oak Literary Club, for which he wrote many essays and served as secretary for 40 years. He was also a lifelong member of West End Methodist Church. McGaw had one son, John Early McGaw, with his wife Elizabeth Early McGaw. He died of cancer on June 30, 2003 at the age of 89.
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Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States