Thad Holt Papers
Thad Holt's broadcasting career centered in Alabama and in the fields of educational television, cable television and satellite broadcasting. Notable achievements include starting WAPI, the first radio station in Alabama and becoming an early proponent of using satellites for transmission of educational programs. The collection documents Thad Holt's career in Alabama broadcasting from 1930 to 1980 and includes business records, business and personal correspondence, financial records and other documents.
Important Information for Users of the Collection
The collection is open for research use.
Thad Holt Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials page for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.
This collection is PROCESSED.
Thad Holt spent a lifetime in the field of broadcasting. Early in his career Holt started WAPI, the first radio station in Alabama. With the advent of FM radio, he expanded his operations to include FM broadcasts -- the first in Alabama to do so. The arrival of television in the late forties led Holt to develop his broadcasting activities.
He became a leader in educational television, and later fought for the rights of cable companies to establish operations in the area. Holt quickly perceived the application of satellites for long distance communication -- non-military as well as military -- and became an early proponent of using satellites for transmission of educational programs.
Holt's lifetime accomplishments, his connections with important figures of the early 20th century--such as Harry Hopkins--and others in the field of broadcasting--particularly Edward R. Murrow--forms an important chapter in American broadcasting.
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Thad Holt Collection spans from 1930 to 1980, and includes business records, business and personal correspondence, financial records and other documents relating to Mr. Holt's involvement with WAPI, WAPI-FM, the TeleVision Corporation, educational television, Alabama Educational Television, community antenna television, and materials concerning satellite and video communications that span the years from approximately 1936 to 1982.
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
Samuel C.O. Holt, son of Thad Holt, donated the Thad Holt papers to the Library of American Broadcasting in April and June of 1996.
Processed by Jonathan Powell, October 1996.
Documents were placed in acid-free folders which were then put into acid-free boxes. Some newsclippings in bad shape were copied onto acid-free paper.
EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Karen E. King, May 2009.
Arrangement of Collection
The collection is organized into four series.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: WAPI Radio Materials, 1936-1954 (1.50 linear feet)
This series contains documents relating to radio station WAPI, and includes original leases, contracts, as well as detailed applications for radio licensing to the FCC. The spread of FM radio and the rise of television in the latter 1940s is also evidenced by documents in this series.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|WAPI -- Bid, 1930, 1936, 1972||series 1||box 1||folder 1|
|WAPI -- Original Lease, 1936||series 1||box 1||folder 2|
|WAPI -- Startup of WAPI -- some NBC and CBS Affiliation Papers (fragile documents), 1936||series 1||box 1||folder 3|
|WAPI -- Startup of WAPI -- some NBC and CBS Affiliation Papers (fragile documents), 1936||series 1||box 1||folder 4|
|WAPI -- FCC Applications and Reports -- Correspondence, 1937-1938||series 1||box 1||folder 5|
|WAPI -- FCC Applications and Reports, 1939-1940||series 1||box 2||folder 1|
|WAPI -- New Lease on Equipment, 1941||series 1||box 2||folder 2|
|WAPI -- Contracts, 1948-1949||series 1||box 2||folder 3|
|WAPI -- New Lease, Negotiations, and Results, 1949||series 1||box 2||folder 4|
|WAPI -- Time & Production Cost Swap Arrangement with Colleges, 1949,1953||series 1||box 2||folder 5|
|WAPI -- Publicity Materials, 1930s||series 1||box 3||folder 1|
|WAPI -- Application with Exhibits for Transfer of License of Station WAPI, May 4, 1937||series 1||box 3||folder 2|
|WAPI -- Application with Exhibits for Transfer of License of Station, May 10, 1937||series 1||box 3||folder 3|
|WAPI -- Application with Exhibits for Transfer of License of Station, Janurary 14, 1941||series 1||box 3||folder 4|
|WAPI -- FM Application-Correspondence -- Procurement, 1943-1945||series 1||box 3||folder 5|
|Voice of Alabama to TeleVision Corporation -- Board of Directors Minutes, 1936-1953||series 1||box 3||folder 6|
|Voice of Alabama to TeleVision Corporation -- Stockholder Minutes, 1947||series 1||box 3||folder 7|
|WAPI -- Management Contract, 1937,1941||series 1||box 3||folder 8|
|WAPI -- Financial, 1940,1947,1952||series 1||box 3||folder 9|
|WAPI WAPI: Sale of WAPI to Birmingham News -- Sale of WAPI to Birmingham News, 1953-1954||series 1||box 3||folder 10|
Series 2: Radio and Television, 1954-1980 (2.50 linear feet)
Holt's long interest in Community Antenna TeleVision (CATV) is documented by the many proposals made in favor of CATV to various communities as early as 1954 and going into the early 1970s. Holt supported his position with copies of articles from various newspapers, which are part of the collection. Also included are records of the TeleVision Corporation from 1961 to 1971, one of Holt's commercial broadcasting ventures.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|WBHM -- Outline of Plan for WBHM -- Dunbar Correspondence, 1971-1975||series 2||box 4||folder 1|
|WBHM -- Startup of WBHM, 1974-1976||series 2||box 4||folder 2|
|TeleVision Communication -- Corporate Records, Minutes, Bylaws, 1961, 1964-1965||series 2||box 4||folder 3|
|TeleVision Communication Corporation, 1964-166||series 2||box 4||folder 4|
|TeleVision Communication Corporation -- Bessamer Bid, 1970-1971||series 2||box 4||folder 5|
|TeleVision Communication Corporation -- Incorporation Documents, Minutes, 1961-1962||series 2||box 5||folder 1|
|TeleVision Communication Corporation -- Corporation Permits, Tax Troubles, 1962-1971||series 2||box 5||folder 2|
|TeleVision Communication Corporation -- Status Reports, Projections, Franchise Proposals, 1965, 1971||series 2||box 5||folder 3|
|TeleVision Communication Corporation -- Tax Troubles, IRS records, 1966-1969||series 2||box 5||folder 4|
|TeleVision Communication Corporation -- First National Bank Record, 1961-1969||series 2||box 5||folder 5|
|TeleVision Communication Corporation -- Misc. Correspondence,other Misc., n.d.||series 2||box 5||folder 6|
|CATV -- General Documents, Vestavia Proposal, 1961,1965-1967||series 2||box 5||folder 7|
|Carter Publications Inc. -- Legal Documents, 1965-1966||series 2||box 5||folder 8|
|CPB -- Soliciting Consulants -- Related Correspondence, 1975-1977||series 2||box 5||folder 9|
|CATV -- Proposals,Drafts, Proposals to Assorted Cities, 1954, 1965-1967||series 2||box 6||folder 1|
|CATV -- Articles,Brochrues, Legal Documents, 1964-1965||series 2||box 6||folder 2|
|CATV -- Franchise Proposal Variations, 1965, 1970||series 2||box 6||folder 3|
|CATV -- Application Birmingham, Exhibits, Part 1, 1972||series 2||box 6||folder 4|
|CATV -- Application Birmingham, Exhibits, Part 2, 1972||series 2||box 6||folder 5|
|CATV -- Clippings, n.d.||series 2||box 6||folder 6|
|Television & Radio -- Written Testimony of Columbia Btoadcasting, Inc., 1970||series 2||box 7||folder 1|
|Television & Radio -- Ford Foundation -- Passage of Corporation for Public Broadcasting Bill, 1971-1972||series 2||box 7||folder 2|
|Television & Radio -- COMSAT -- Presentations, Drafts, 1975||series 2||box 7||folder 3|
|Television & Radio -- Cowles Contract, Proposals, n.d.||series 2||box 7||folder 4|
|Television & Radio -- Satellite Earth Station Symposium '80, 1980||series 2||box 7||folder 5|
|Television & Radio -- Satellite Earth Station Symposium '80, 1980||series 2||box 7||folder 6|
|Corporate Stamp -- TeleVision Corporation, n.d.||series 2||box 13||folder 1|
Series 3: Educational Television, 1953-1974 (1.00 linear feet)
Materials in this series treat the history of educational television (ETV), from 1953 to 1974; included are progress reports, budgets, and correspondence. The efforts of Holt and others to establish Alabama Educational Television (AETV) starting in 1953-54, can be traced from newspaper clippings in the collection. "Operation New Birmingham," one of several ambitious projects, is also documented in this series.
In 1974 the FCC revoked AETV's operating license, sparking a national debate on the roles of government and the media. Holt, though no longer directly involved, tracked events in the unfolding AETV drama, and this series contains his records of the controversy.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|ETV/Educational Television -- History, 1953-1974||series 3||box 8||folder 1|
|ETV/Educational Television -- Progress Reports, Budget, 1953-1955||series 3||box 8||folder 2|
|ETV/Educational Television -- Correspondence, Brochures, 1965||series 3||box 8||folder 3|
|ETV/Educational Television -- Clippings, n.d.||series 3||box 8||folder 4|
|AETV/Alabama Educational Television -- History, 1953-1954||series 3||box 8||folder 5|
|AETV/Alabama Educational Television -- Blueprints, 1953||series 3||box 8||folder 6|
|AETV/Alabama Educational Television -- Legal Foundation, Budgets, Studies, Proposals, 1950, 1952-1955, 1973||series 3||box 8||folder 7|
|AETV/Alabama Educational Television -- "Operation New Birmingham" -- Clippings, 1953, 1974-1975||series 3||box 9||folder 1|
|AETV/Alabama Educational Television -- Clippings, 1953, 1974-1975||series 3||box 9||folder 2|
|AETV/Alabama Educational Television -- The ETV Commision, n.d.||series 3||box 9||folder 3|
Series 4: Holt Biographical Material, 1922-1984 (5.50 linear feet)
Articles in this series include those relating to syndicated columnist Barney Oldfield, the Democratic and Republican national conventions of 1956, and Holt's contributions to the Murrow Symposia, which he helped organize in memory of his friend Edward R. Murrow.
The oversize boxes in Series 4 (12 and 14) are not processed.
Pamphlets and books from the Thad Holt Collection are stored with other, similar materials in the Library of American Broadcasting. Please see the "Separated Materials" section of this finding aid for more a complete listing.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame||Item|
|Convention Materials, 1956||series 4||box 10||folder 1|
|Oldfield Materials, Arts Hall of Fame, 1980-1981||series 4||box 10||folder 2|
|"Like it Was", 1980||series 4||box 10||folder 3|
|Alabama Broadcasters Association Directory, 1980||series 4||box 10||folder 4|
|"Watch the television guide to the 1956 conventions, the campaign and the election", 1956||series 4||box 10||folder 5|
|"How Radio Can Serve Alabama", 1953||series 4||box 10||folder 6|
|"The Television Corporation", 1965||series 4||box 10||folder 7|
|Murrow Symposia, Presentation Drafts, Correspondence, 1978-1980||series 4||box 11||folder 1|
|Murrow Symposia, Brochures, Correspondence, 1978-1981||series 4||box 11||folder 2|
|Radio, Newspaper, Clippings; Festival Kings, Murrow, WAPI, ETV, Radio, 1948-1977||series 4||box 11||folder 3|
|Personal, 1942-1981||series 4||box 11||folder 4|
|Role, Importance of Public Television, Clippings, 1967-1980||series 4||box 11||folder 5|
|Biographical materials||series 4||box 12||folder 1|
|Scrapbook||series 4||box 14||folder 1|
|CBS News Reference Guides, 1956||series 4||box 15||folder 1|
|1956 Democratic National Convention, August 13, 1956||series 4||box 15||folder 1||item 1.0|
|1956 Republican National Convention, August 20, 1956||series 4||box 15||folder 1||item 2.0|
The papers of Holt's son Samuel C. O. Holt are also located in the National Public Broadcasting Archives.
For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Books, Pamphlets, Brochures, and Reports separated from Series 4: Holt Biographical Materials
- Report: "An Analysis of Senator John W. Bricker's Reporter Entitled: 'The Network Monopoly'." (1956)
- Report: "Before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the United States Senate." (1956)
- Columbia Broadcasting System, eds. Crisis: A Report from the Columbia Broadcasting System, New York: Columbia Broadcasting, Inc., 1940
- Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., eds. CBS News on D-Day, New York: Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 1945
- Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., eds.The Sound of Your Life, New York: Columbia Broadcasting, Inc., 1950
- Fortune, J. Douglas,Amateur Radio: A Beginers Guide, Chicago: Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Co., 1940
- National Broadcasting Company, eds.The Fourth Crime, New York: National Broadcasting Company, 1944
- State Department of Education, eds. Handbook for Teachers, Inschool Television Course Catalog, 1975-1976, Montgomery, Alabama: Alabama State Department of Education, 1975
- Washington State University. The First Amendment and Broadcasting Press Freedoms and Broadcast Journalism, Washington State University: The Edward R. Murrow Symposium, 1978
- Winfield, Betty Houchin & Louis B. DeFleurThe Edward R. Murrow Heritage, Challenge for the Future, Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1986