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Donley F. Feddersen Papers

Abstract

Title:
Donley F. Feddersen Papers
Author/Creator:
Feddersen, Donley F.
Collection number:
NPBA 94-17
Size:
6.25 linear feet
Bulk dates:
1956-1964
Inclusive dates:
1956-1978 and undated
Collection Area:
Mass Media and Culture
Repository:
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email: askhornbake@umd.edu
Abstract:

Donley F. Feddersen began his career in public broadcasting as an instructor at Northwestern University in Illinois in 1944. Later, beginning in 1956, Feddersen decided to devote all of his creative energies solely to the design and production of series for national educational television. That year, he joined the National Educational Television and Radio Center as a Program Associate, and a liaison between the NET and NBC. A few years later, when the NETRC moved to New York from Ann Arbor, Feddersen became the director of Television Programming. In this post, he designed the program schedule. Finally, in 1965, he joined the faculty of Indiana University as Chairman of the Department of Radio and TV, and general manger and director of station WTIU. The collection documents Feddersen's work for NET as well as the conflict over programming control between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

Donley F. Feddersen Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1575
Publication rights:

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 publicatioght status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Donley F. Feddersen was born in Clinton, Iowa in 1915. He attended Niobrara High School in Niobrara, Nebraska, and earned his diploma there in 1931. He went on to receive his AB in 1937 from Wayne State Teachers College in Wayne, Nebraska, where he majored in Education and English. From 1937 to 1941 he was employed by the Norfolk High School in Nebraska. Feddersen also attended Northwestern University in Illinois where he completed a Masters degree in Theatre and Interpretation in 1942. He continued at Northwestern working towards a Doctorate while also being employed as a Teaching Assistant there. Although he completed his Doctoral course work in 1944, he was unable to complete his dissertation because of an offer of a permanent position on the faculty at Northwestern.

Feddersen began his career in public broadcasting as an instructor at Northwestern University in 1944. By 1954 he had advanced to the rank of Professor. From the years 1945 to 1947 he was the Director of The Northwestern University Reviewing Stand, a program that was produced by the University for broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System. In 1947 he became Chairman of the Department of Radio-Television-Film, a post which he held until 1956. During this time he also served as Director of the NBC-Northwestern Radio-Television Institute. In 1950 he was named to the Broadcast Advisory Committee of the United States Information Agency. At that time he was the only member appointed from the field of educational broadcasting.

During the years 1952 to 1956, Feddersen also directed and moderated the public affairs discussion program, Chicago Forum of the Air. In 1953, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations cited this program as the winner of its annual award for the local radio series which had contributed the most to the promotion of world understanding.

In addition to his teaching and broadcasting duties Feddersen also found the time to write. In 1955 his book, The Egghead and the Others was published. Sydney Head, in Broadcasting in America: A Survey of Television and Radio, described Feddersen's work as ,"a gem of satire," and goes on to say that, "the whole catalogue of prejudices betrayed by the intellectual snob when faced with the monstrous advent of television has been neatly exposed by Donley Feddersen."

Beginning in 1956, Feddersen decided to devote all of his creative energies solely to the design and production or production supervision of programs and program series for "publication" via national educational television. In this year, Northwestern University granted him a leave of absence so he could accept a short term assignment as Program Associate with the Educational Television and Radio Center, then located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While there he became the NET liaison and consultant to NBC at the beginning of the NBC-NET Educational Television Project. During the year of his tenure more than 100 programs were telecast nationally. After his eighteen month tour of duty with NET, he returned to his teaching duties at Northwestern in January of 1958.

In June of 1958 Feddersen was offered a position at WTTW, Chicago's educational television station, with the understanding that he could continue his work at Northwestern University on a reduced load basis. He began his work at Chicago Educational Television as Northwestern University's representative on the Educational Advisory Committee, a group which laid the groundwork for the establishment of the station. In 1958 he held the position of Program Consultant and in only four months he was named the Program Manager. In 1959 he became the Director of Special Projects and had the principal responsibility of designing and producing program series intended for national distribution through NET. While working for WTTW, Feddersen was responsible for more than 50 programs which were accepted by NET for national distribution. Some of these include: American Memoir with John Dodds (American Culture since 1900); The Big Count with Philip Hauser (The Story of the 1960 Census); Meeting of Minds (Discussions between Russian and American educators); America Looks Abroad with Carter Davidson (Foreign Policy processes and issues): Beginnings (Interviews with distinguished Americans); Fact and Fancy with Rita Criste (Creative Dramatics for youngsters); Children Growing with Maria Piers (Guidance for parents); and many others.

In September of 1960, Feddersen, resigning from his positions at Northwestern and Chicago Educational Television, became Director of Television Programming at the National Educational Television and Radio Center which had moved to New York. In this post he was responsible for the design of the NET program schedule and for the activities of the six Program Associates and six assistants and secretaries who had comprised the operational force of the NET Program Department. He was also responsible for the planning, selection and production supervision of the 520 half hours of program material which NET supplied annually to over 70 affiliated non-commercial etv stations.

In 1964 Feddersen left NET to take a temporary position at the University of Florida. In 1965 he accepted a permanent position at Indiana University. His titles were Chairman of the Department of Radio and TV in the College of Arts and Sciences and Director of Radio and TV Services for Indiana University and General Manager and Director for station WTIU when it went on the air. He was responsible for developing a PhD program for the academic department, as well as completing the application for licensing and equipping and hiring personnel for the new TV station. When he had fulfilled his responsibilities to the academic department he resigned his chairmanship and devoted his full energies to the work connected with the station. This was the position he held until his death in April, 1979.

Donley Feddersen was the husband of Frances R. Feddersen and the father of four children. He was noted and admired among his colleagues as a man who held strong principles when it came to supporting high standards and excellence in public broadcasting.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Donley F. Feddersen Papers cover the years 1956 to 1978, and contains some undated material. The bulk of the material is from 1956 to 1964. The collection documents Feddersen's work as first Program Associate with the Educational Television and Radio Center, and then as Director of the Television Programming Department of the National Educational Television and Radio Center. It also includes correspondence and position papers concerning the CPB/PBS conflict over the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's January 10, 1973 resolution on the restructuring of the Public Broadcasting Service as well as additional writings and memorabilia relating to the Public Broadcasting Service.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Donley F. Feddersen Papers were donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by his wife Frances R. Feddersen in September of 1993 and by Edwin G. Cohen in July of 1997.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Debra J. Gousha, April 1994. Revised by Karen E. King, June 2000

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Karen E. King, April 2005.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Educational Television and Radio Center (ETRC), 1956-1960 and undated (0.50 linear foot)

This series documents activities by Donley F. Feddersen as Program Associate for the Educational Television and Radio Center. Documents include budgets, correspondence concerning station WTTW (Chicago, IL), as well as materials regarding programs produced with the National Broadcasting Company as part of the NBC-ETRC Project. Materials are arranged alphabetically by type or folder title.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Budget, 1956-1958 series 1box 1folder 1
ETV -- Notes for Specials, 1957, undated series 1box 1folder 2
NBC-ETRC Programs -- Arts and the Gods, 1957 series 1box 1folder 3
NBC-ETRC Programs -- International Geophysical Year -- Background, 1956-1957, undated series 1box 1folder 4
NBC-ETRC Programs -- International Geophysical Year -- Scripts, 1957 series 1box 1folder 5
NBC-ETRC Programs -- International Geophysical Year -- Scripts, 1957 series 1box 1folder 6
NBC-ETRC Programs -- Mathematics, 1957 series 1box 1folder 7
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- Block One Stations (oversize), May 1959-January 1960 series 1box 1folder 8
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- Block One Stations (oversize), November 1959-July 1960 series 1box 1folder 9
WTTW, Chicago, 1956, undated series 1box 1folder 10

Series 2: National Educational Television and Radio Center, 1958-1964 and undated (3.50 linear feet)

This series documents activities by Donley F. Feddersen as Director of Television Programming at the National Educational Television and Radio Center. Materials have been arranged into three subseries, described below.

Subseries 2.1: Administrative Files, 1958-1963 and undated (0.75 linear foot)

This subseries consists of budget files, correspondence, documents concerning legal and technical issues as well as reports on office routines, instructional television library, and the program department. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic, and then chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Budget, 1959series 2.1box 2folder 1
Budget, 1959series 2.1box 2folder 2
Budget, 1960-1961series 2.1box 2folder 3
Budget, 1962-1963series 2.1box 2folder 4
Correspondence and Memoranda, 1958-1959series 2.1box 2folder 5
Correspondence and Memoranda, 1960-1961series 2.1box 2folder 6
Correspondence and Memoranda, 1962-1963, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 7
Instructional Television Library, 1963series 2.1box 2folder 8
Legal, 1960-1962, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 9
NET News, Winter 1963series 2.1box 3folder 1
Office Routines and Procedures, 1960-1962, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 2
Program Department Report, 1961series 2.1box 3folder 3
Technical, 1959-1963, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 4

Subseries 2.2: Programs, 1960-1964 and undated (2.75 linear feet)

This subseries consists of program proposals, reviews, scripts and scheduling information. The proposals, reviews and scripts are arranged beginning with general information, and then alphabetically by program categories. These files contains correspondence between Feddersen and the Program Associates Curtis Davis, Brice Howard, and Sumner Glimcher. It also includes correspondence with Paul Taff, Assistant Director of Television Programming and with Basil Thornton, Director of International Programming. Scheduling information materials are arranged alphabetically by folder title and then chronologically. These materials include oversize distribution charts which are boxed at the end of the collection.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Extra Preliminary Project Data Sheets, 1961-1963series 2.2box 3folder 5
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Program Planning, 1961-1963series 2.2box 3folder 6
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Proposal File, 1962-1963series 2.2box 3folder 7
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Civil Defense, 1961series 2.2box 3folder 8
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Environmental Revolution, 1962-1963, undatedseries 2.2box 3folder 9
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Fine Arts and Music -- Curtis Davis, 1961-1963, undatedseries 2.2box 3folder 10
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Fine Arts and Music -- Curtis Davis -- American Memoir: Ad-land Revisitedseries 2.2box 3folder 11
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Foreign Acquisitions -- Basil Thornton, 1960-1963, undatedseries 2.2box 4folder 1
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- History, 1960, undatedseries 2.2box 4folder 2
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Humanities -- Brice Howard, 1961-1963, undatedseries 2.2box 4folder 3
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- International and Social Sciences -- Sumner Glimcher, 1961-1963series 2.2box 4folder 4
Proposals, Reviews and Scripts -- Public Affairs -- Donald S. Hillman, Paul Kaufman, Al Perlmutter, 1961-1964, undatedseries 2.2box 4folder 5
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- Block One Stations (oversize), May 1960-January 1961series 2.2box 4folder 6
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- Block One Stations (oversize), August 1960-April 1961series 2.2box 4folder 7
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- Block One Stations (oversize), November 1960-July 1961series 2.2box 4folder 8
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- Block One Stations (oversize), October 1961-September 1962series 2.2box 4folder 9
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- Block One Stations (oversize), May 1962-April 1963series 2.2box 4folder 10
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- NET Schedule Projection. September 1962 -- 1963 (oversize), March 30, 1962series 2.2box 4folder 11
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- NET Schedule Projection. September 1962 -- 1963 (oversize), May 1, 1962series 2.2box 4folder 12
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- NET Schedule Projection. September 1962 -- 1963 (oversize), May 1, 1962series 2.2box 4folder 13
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts -- Time Schedule (oversize), Fall 1962series 2.2box 4folder 14
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts (oversize), Fall 1962series 2.2box 4folder 15
Program Schedules -- Distribution Charts (oversize), Spring 1963series 2.2box 4folder 16
Schedules -- Scheduling Information, undatedseries 2.2box 4folder 17
Schedules -- WNDT Program Guides, December 1962, Summer 1963, October 1963series 2.2box 4folder 18

Subseries 2.3: Station Relations, 1961-1963, undated (6 folders)

This subseries consists of documents concerning interaction between the National Educational Television and Radio Center with affiliated stations. Materials include a file on administrative procedures, minutes and supporting materials of affiliates meetings, and a tentative catalogue of program exchange between stations. Materials are arranged alphabetically by folder title and then chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Administrative Procedures and Mailing List, 1962, undatedseries 2.3box 4folder 19
Affiliates Meeting, October 19-21, 1961series 2.3box 4folder 20
Affiliates Meeting, April 15-18, 1962series 2.3box 4folder 21
Affiliates Meeting, October 1962series 2.3box 4folder 22
Affiliates Meeting, March 20-22, 1963series 2.3box 4folder 23
Station Depository Exchange: Tentative Catalogue, February 1963series 2.3box 4folder 24

Series 3: Personal Papers, 1964-1978 and undated (0.25 linear foot)

This series documents Donley F. Feddersen's position regarding the disagreement and conflict generated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's January 10, 1973 resolution to restructure the Public Broadcasting Service. Also included are assorted personal papers collected by Donley F. Feddersen and consists of additional writings of his, NAEB memorabilia, and a newspaper clipping. The arrangement is alphabetical by subject or document type.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
CPB/PBS Conflict -- Correspondence, December 1972 - February 1973 series 3box 5folder 1
CPB/PBS Conflict -- Position Papers, January, March 1973 series 3box 5folder 2
Meeting report, January 9, 1976 series 3box 5folder 3
National Association of Educational Broadcasters 1978 Awards Luncheon, October 30, 1978 series 3box 5folder 4
Newspaper clipping -- "TV Hone for Political Wits", January 22, 1964 series 3box 5folder 5
Poem -- "A Witches' Tale", undated series 3box 5folder 6
Position paper -- "Dominant Characteristics of the U.S. Public Television System", June 8, 1978 series 3box 5folder 7

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