Elmer Beth was born December 8, 1901 in Chicago. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1927 and earned a master’s from the university the following year.
After serving as an instructor at Washington State University and the University of Idaho, he came to the University of Kansas in 1940. In the war years he ran the journalism department.
At KU, he helped develop the western civilization program, and was longtime chairman of the Humanities Series Committee, which brought scores of distinguished speakers to the campus. He was secretary-treasurer of the Association for Education in Journalism for 19 years.
Beth also served as chairman of the Department of Journalism Hall of Fame. His mainstay class had been Law of Press, but he also taught hundreds of students in Reporting of Public Affairs and Newspaper Administration. He died in 1970.