Jack Stewart was born on January 24, 1904. He attended school in Grafton, North Dakota, where he was twice selected as an all-state quarterback. He then accepted an athletic scholarship to South Dakota State University, where he began writing sports stories for several newspapers. He transferred to the University of North Dakota in 1923 and wrote updates on the North Central athletic conference for the Grand Forks Herald, the Fargo Forum, the Minneapolis Journal, the St. Paul Dispatch, the Omaha World-Herald, the Des Moines Register, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and the Christian Science Monitor. While at UND he joined Beta Theta Pi fraternity and was the first sports publicity director for the university.
In 1925 he entered the University of Illinois, but returned to Grand Forks when he was named publicity manager and, later, executive director of the campaign that led to the construction of Memorial stadium. When he was honored by the UND Letterman's Club in 1969, an article in the Dakota Student cited his campaign efforts as "models of efficiency." Stewart continued as campaign director until 1930, when he moved to California and worked as a sportswriter for several years.
He soon accepted a post as publicist for a mountain club near Phoenix and managed another resort. He received financial backing to open his own resort, the Camelback Inn near Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1936. The Camelback Inn was built around a Southwestern pueblo motif and it boasted such guests as Clark Gable, Bette Davis and Cary Grant. It was also the site for many UND alumni reunions.
In 1967 Stewart sold the Camelback Inn but remained in Arizona. As head of the Greater Phoenix Sports Foundation, he served as Chairman of the Executive Committee that launched the Fiesta Bowl in the Tempe-Phoenix area in 1971.
Also in 1967, Stewart donated $100,000 in trust funds to UND. The bulk of the donation was used for construction of the Winter Sports Center. Trust fund money was also used to improve media facilities in Memorial Stadium and the UND Fieldhouse and to grant several annual Jack Stewart Athletic Scholarships. In 1969, he was honored as the first recipient of the UND Letterman's Club Honorary Award.
Stewart was named Outstanding Citizen of 1972 by the Scottsdale Real Estate Board for his efforts in developing the area. He died in Scottsdale on February 8, 1973. A Grand Forks Herald editorial appeared the next day praising him as "a great North Dakotan and a great friend of the University...His support for UND and North Dakota will be missed, but his contributions will live on."
Donation; Acc. 91-1728
The Jack Stewart Papers consist of two scrapbooks and a folder of loose scrapbook pages. The large scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, photographs, personal mementos and other memorabilia from Stewarts's athletic career at Grafton High School, South Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota dating from 1919 to 1929. Also included are keepsakes from dances and other social events. Toward the back of this scrapbook are six pages of photographs with captions.
The smaller scrapbook contains clippings of sports articles written by Stewart between 1921 and 1926. The articles cover North Dakota college and high school sports, mostly football and basketball. Most clippings were written by Stewart and published in the Fargo Forum, Grand Forks Herald, and Argus Leader, among other newspapers. Several clippings feature news about Stewart's athletic accomplishments or his role with the fundraising drive that led to the construction of Memorial Stadium on the UND campus.
A folder contains unbound scrapbook pages featuring more newspaper clippings and a 1971 Fiesta Bowl pamphlet. These clippings are primarily about social events at UND in the 1920s, with an emphasis on the Delta Zeta sorority. Some articles near the back of the folder are about UND athletics. Most clippings are undated and sources are not specified.