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John F. White Papers

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1618

Abstract

Title:
John F. White Papers
Author/Creator:
White, John F.
Collection number:
NPBA 92-46
Size:
0.50 linear foot
Bulk dates:
1955-1965
Inclusive dates:
1955-1982 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:

John F. White started his public broadcasting career in 1955 at WQED-Pittsburgh as its general manager. Then, from 1958 to 1963, White was president of the National Educational Television and Radio Center (NETRC). During those years, he tried unsuccessfully to bring educational television to the New York City area. In pursuit of this goal, he helped create the Educational Television for the Metropolitan Area, Inc., and served as its secretary and board member in 1961. In 1963, NETRC started to focus on cultural and public affairs programming, changing its name to National Educational Television. In 1969, after eleven years in public broadcasting, White returned to education as president of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. The collection documents White's work as general manager of WQED-Pittsburgh, his presidencies of the National Educational Television and of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and his continuing interest in the history of public broadcasting.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

John F. White Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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

John F. White was born on October 11, 1917 in Waukegan, Illinois to the Reverend Edward Sydney and Lilah McCormick White. He was educated at the Harvard School for Boys and Hyde Park High School. He received his B.A. from Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1941. In 1944, he received his masters degree at the University of Chicago. During the early 1960s, White received several honorary degrees including an LH.D. from Lawrence College in 1961 and a LL.D. from Cornell College in Iowa in 1964. He married Joan Glasow in May of 1943 with whom he would have three children Susan, Michael, and Christopher.

From 1941 to 1944, White was the Admissions Counsellor at Lawrence. White returned to Illinois in 1944 to become the Director of Admissions at the Illinois Institute of Technology. White stayed at the Illinois Institute of Technology for six years. He served as Assistant Dean of Students from 1945 to 1946, Dean of Students from 1946 to 1948, and Dean and Director of the Development Program from 1948 to 1950. In 1950, White left the Institute of Technology for Western Reserve University where he was offered the position of Vice President. During his five year tenure, White made his initial move into educational broadcasting as he pioneered development of television as an educational tool at Western Reserve.

He left his job as Vice President in 1955 to move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and to become the General Manager of WQED. During 1956, he lectured at the University of Pittsburgh. WQED won the Peabody Award for its programming in 1957. White left WQED in 1958 to become President of the National Educational Television and Radio Center. During his tenure as President, there were a few unsuccessful attempts to bring educational television to the New York City area. White helped form Educational Television for the Metropolitan Area Inc. in 1961 and served as its secretary and as a board member to further this goal. In 1962, WNDT New York went on the air, becoming one of the country's outstanding ETV operations by 1968. In 1963, the National Educational Television and Radio Center put aside all its functions except for non-instructional television programming. It changed its name to National Educational Television and focused on cultural and public affairs programming. John White served as president of the National Educational Television and Radio Center from 1963 to 1969.

After eleven years in public broadcasting, White returned to education in 1969 to serve as President of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. During this period, he began collaborating on a history of public broadcasting that was never completed. He retired from active work in 1990 but he continued to work as a consultant for the Aspen Institute from 1980 to 1988.

White was very active in his community through directorships in several companies including Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. and Viacom International Inc. and participation in local clubs such as the Century, Tuxedo, and University Clubs. He was also an active church member. He served as Trustee of St. John the Divine in New York City from 1978 to 1988 and as a Vestryman of St. Mary's Church in Tuxedo Park from 1979 to 1986.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John F. White Papers documents his work as General Manager of WQED-Pittsburgh, as President of National Educational Television, as President of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and his interest in the history of public broadcasting. This collection covers the period from 1955 to 1982 and contains some undated material. Types of documents include annual reports, clippings, correspondence, drafts of manuscripts, and publications documenting WQED's winning of the 1957 Peabody Award and National Educational Television's interest in acquiring Channel 13, WNET-New York City, as a public television station.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The John F. White Papers was donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by John F. White in September of 1991.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Susan McElrath, November 1991. Revised by Karen E. King, October 1995

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Chris Stoner, June 2006.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: WQED-Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1955-1958 (3 folders)

This series documents John F. White's work at WQED. It includes annual reports, clippings, and correspondence from the end of his years as General Manager when WQED won a Peabody award for its programming. The arrangement is alphabetical by document type.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Annual Reports, 1957-1958 series 1box 1folder 1
Clippings, 1955-1958 series 1box 1folder 2
Correspondence, 1958 series 1box 1folder 3

Series 2: National Educational Television (NET), 1960-1981 (9 folders)

This series documents White's work as President of the National Educational Television and Radio Center, which later changed its name to National Educational Television, and his continued interest in that organization. It includes clippings, correspondence about NET and relating to its archives, manuscripts written about NET, policies, publications, and speeches. There is some documentation relating to the proposed addition of a public television station in New York City and the possibility of taking over commercial station WNET for these purposes. The arrangement is alphabetical by subject or document type.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Archives-State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1971-1973 series 2box 1folder 4
Clippings, 1961-1969 series 2box 1folder 5
Correspondence, 1963-1964, 1968 series 2box 1folder 6
Efforts to Make Channel 13 in New York City a Public Television Station, 1960-1961, 1969 series 2box 1folder 7
Guidelines and Policies, 1963-1964 series 2box 1folder 8
Jauch, Fritz, A Brief History of Educational Television in the United States with Emphasis on the Development of National Educational Television. . ., 1968 series 2box 1folder 9
Publications, 1961-1968 series 2box 1folder 10
Speeches by John F. White, 1961-1968 series 2box 1folder 11
Two Drafts of Chapters Dealing with National Educational Television from a Book on Public Television by James Day, 1981 series 2box 1folder 12

Series 3: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, 1970-1978 (2 folders)

This series documents White's continued interest in public broadcasting while he was President of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. It includes comments submitted to Congress and a speech, both on his experiences in public broadcasting. The arrangement is alphabetical by subject or document type.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Comments to Congress on H.R. 11100, 1978 series 3box 1folder 13
Speech Before the Headmasters Association, 1970 series 3box 1folder 14

Series 4: Personal Papers, 1964-1982 (4 folders)

This series documents John F. White's private activities before and after his retirement from his work in education and public broadcasting. It includes biographical materials, correspondence relating to a book project on the history of public broadcasting, and a masters thesis on White. The arrangement is alphabetical by subject and/or document type.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Biographical Materials, 1964, 1967 series 4box 1folder 15
Correspondence -- Gould, Jack, 1972-1976 series 4box 1folder 16
Correspondence, 1982 series 4box 1folder 17
Frederickson, Sara Garland, John F. White: One Man's Contribution to Educational Television in the United States, 1972 series 4box 1folder 18

Series 5: Photograph Collection, 1958-1968 and undated (4 folders)

This series documents the various activities in which White participated as part of his roles as President of National Educational Television and General Manager of WQED. It includes photographs from award ceremonies, conferences, receptions, and speeches. Among the pictures is one taken of White at the White House with President Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt. The arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
Photographs, 1958, early 1960's series 5box 1folder 19
John F. White with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harold Burton at D.C. "Decision Preview", December 1958 series 5box 1folder 19item 1.0
NET Board, 1958 series 5box 1folder 19item 2.0
NET Board, Early 1960's series 5box 1folder 19item 3.0
John F. Whtie with President Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt at the White House, Early 1960's series 5box 1folder 19item 4.0
The Jack Delanos and Pablo and Maria Casals at the Casal's home in San Juan, January 1961 series 5box 1folder 19item 5.0
Photographs, 1961, 1962, 1964 series 5box 1folder 20
The Ambassador to Sweden and the Former Head of Swedish Radio in Rome, December 1961 series 5box 1folder 20item 1.0
John F. White, Jean D'Archy, and Olof Rydbeck at the European Broadcasting Union Meeting, October 1962 series 5box 1folder 20item 2.0
Leland Hazard, Martha Graham, and John F. White at a party in Martha Graham's Honor, 1964 series 5box 1folder 20item 3.0
Josephine Case, William Schuman, Joan and John F. White at the Martha Graham Party, 1964 series 5box 1folder 20item 4.0
Intertel Council Meeting, 1964 series 5box 1folder 20item 5.0
Photographs, 1965, undated series 5box 1folder 21
Finnish Ambassador Olavi Munkki and Wife with John F. White and Wife at Reception for Sibelius: Symphony for Finland, a Joint U.S.-Finnish Production, 1965 series 5box 1folder 21item 1.0
John F. White helping WYES-New Orleans with their Auction, undated series 5box 1folder 21item 2.0
Dr. Everett Case [Member of the Board of Directors of NETRC], undated series 5box 1folder 21item 3.0
Dr. George Stoddard, undated series 5box 1folder 21item 4.0
John F. White Receiving an Emmy, undated series 5box 1folder 21item 5.0
Photographs, undated series 5box 1folder 22
John F. White and Mr. Hall of Hallmark Receiving an Emmy, undated series 5box 1folder 22item 1.0
John F. White Receiving a Peabody Award, undated series 5box 1folder 22item 2.0
John F. White Receiving a Sylvania Award, undated series 5box 1folder 22item 3.0
John F. White, undated series 5box 1folder 22item 4.0

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