James E. “Mutt” Ward was born in Nashville, Tennessee on April 30, 1906, to William E. and Anne Berney Ward. He graduated from Duncan Preparatory school in 1924 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences of Vanderbilt in 1928. While at Vanderbilt, he was assistant manager for the Vanderbilt Football team in 1927 and manager of the team in 1928. He was also a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, Commodore Club from 1927-1928, Pan-Hellenic Council, Varsity Club, Ace Club, Owl Club, and YMCA Council.
From 1929 to 1942, Mr. Ward contributed to the success of the Vanderbilt football team by photographing Commodore games. The use of cameras for the filming of football games, a practice instituted by Coach Dan McGugin in 1927, was innovative at the time. Ward’s slow-motion films were an invaluable training aid to Vanderbilt coaches and players.
In 1932, James Ward joined his father, brother William E. Ward, and A.J. Baird in business with the Baird-Ward Printing Co. During the Depression and after William Ward, Sr.’s death, the brothers and Baird decided to keep the Baird-Ward Printing Co. in operation. According to a family spokesperson, they had to chose between operation at a loss with no apparent prospects rather than declare bankruptcy; before James Ward’s retirement in 1968, they had engineered Baird-Ward into the second largest printing company in the state. Arcata National Corp acquired the Baird-Ward company in 1976.
Mr. Ward served as president of Baird-Ward Printing Co. from 1959-1966 and was a member of the Board of Baird-Ward Printing Co. from 1966-1969. In 1967, Mr. Ward was chairman of the Southeast Federal Reserve Board and a member of the Nashville Board of the Federal Reserve Bank. He was president of the King of the Road Enterprises from 1969-1970. During World War II, Mr. Ward earned the rank of commander through the U.S. Naval Reserve. For most of the war, he served as a flag secretary in New Orleans and oversaw the Navy’s primary supply line to the Pacific fleet.
James Ward was involved in numerous Vanderbilt alumni activities and Nashville civic activities. He served as President of the Nashville Vanderbilt Club from 1956- 1957 and Vice-Chairman of the Nashville Business Campaign from 1967-1968. Mr. Ward was a trustee of Montgomery Bell Academy, Director of the Belle Meade Country Club, and Governor of the Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Cumberland Club and St. George’s Episcopal Church. James Ward died on September 16, 1991 in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Services set today for James E. Ward.” The Tennessean. 9-18-91.
“James E. Ward of printing fame dies at age 85.” Nashville Banner. 9-17-91
McGaw, Bob. “Movie Man at Dudley Field Big Help to Coaching Staff: Slow-Motion film Preserves Every Detail of Contests; Used as Corrective Device After Games. Nashville Banner. 11/20/35
O ’Donnell, Red. “Ward’s Camera Invaluable to Coaches.” Tennessean 11-10-40.