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William S. Hedges Papers


William S. Hedges Papers
Hedges, William S.
Collection number:
2.50 linear feet
Bulk dates:
1917-1918; 1966-1976
Inclusive dates:
1917-1976 and undated
Collection Area:
Library of American Broadcasting
Library of American Broadcasting, 3210 Hornbake Library, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9160, Fax: 301-314-2634, Email:

William S. Hedges (1895-1978) was one of the primary architects of American Broadcasting. During his career in broadcasting he established station WMAQ, the radio department of the Chicago Daily News (1922), co-founded the National Association of Broadcasters (1923) and served as its president and its director and chairman of the executive committee (1928-1930). Through his work on the Broadcast Pioneers History Project in 1964, Hedges was responsiible for assembling the core collection of the present Library of American Broadcasting. The collection documents Hedges' career, particularly in regards to the Broadcast Pioneers History Project.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


The collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

William S. Hedges Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Fees 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.

Historical Note

William S. Hedges, one of the primary architects of American broadcasting, was born in Elmwood, Illinois, on June 21, 1895. He lived in Colorado from 1900 to 1913 and attended schools in Grand Junction, Denver and Colorado Springs. He graduated from Colorado Springs High School and then moved to Chicago where he worked as a department foreman in the car shops of the Armour Car Lines. He left Armour in the fall of 1914 to attend the University of Chicago and became campus correspondent for the Chicago Daily News. He left college at the end of his junior year to join the Air Service of the United States Army. While awaiting his call to ground school he served as military correspondent for the Chicago Daily News at Camp Grant near Rockford, Illinois. Mr. Hedges served as publisher of the student publication, "The Pilot", while at the School of Military Aeronautics at Ohio State University, Columbus. Upon graduation from the School of Military Aeronautics at the University of Texas, Austin, he attended the Artillery School of Fire at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the Observers School Post Field. He was then commissioned Second Lieutenant and following the cessation of hostilities in 1918, attached as a reserve officer to the 311th Observation Squadron for five years.

William Hedges returned to the Chicago Daily News as a reporter in December of 1918. In 1922 he established the radio department of the Chicago Daily News and assisted in the establishment of the Daily News radio station, WMAQ, which first went on the air in April of 1922. When WMAQ was incorporated as a separate Daily News subsidiary, Hedges was made president of WMAQ Inc. In 1923 he was one of the founders of the National Association of Broadcasters. He served as president from 1928 to 1930 and subsequently as director and chairman of the executive committee. From 1928 to 1931 he was a director and secretary of Press Wireless, Inc. which was an organization founded by a group of leading newspapers for the purpose of operating wireless stations for international communication. In 1929, he established W9XAP, an experimental television station that he operated in connection with WMAQ until November 1931.

In 1931 NBC purchased WMAQ. In addition to managing WMAQ, Mr. Hedges managed WENR - NBC's second Chicago station at that time. In June of 1933 he was appointed general manager of radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in April of 1934, was transferred to New York as manager of NBC's newly established Owned and Operated Stations Division. Mr. Hedges left NBC in December of 1936 to become manager of radio stations WLW and WSAI in Cincinnati, Ohio and was elected vicepresident of the Crosley Radio Corporation. In November of 1937 he returned to NBC as vice-president in charge of Station Relations and Traffic.

Mr. Hedges was appointed vice-president of the newly created Stations Department in May of 1939. This department encompassed Station Relations, Traffic, National Spot Sales and Owned and Operated. In July of 1945, he was named vice-president in charge of Planning and Development. In December of that year he was designated vice-president in charge of Integrated Services. In 1951 he was made vice-president in charge of General Services and in 1959 vice-president in charge of NBC's Political Broadcast Unit. In 1960 Mr. Hedges completed his last assignment for NBC -- coverage of the 1960 political conventions. William Hedges retired from NBC in January of 1961.

In 1964 William Hedges began work on the Broadcast Pioneers History Project and was responsible for assembling the core collection of the present Broadcast Pioneers Library of American Broadcasting. Mr. Hedges was also a leader in the establishment of the Broadcast Pioneers Educational Fund which endowed and supervised the library's operation. The Broadcast Pioneers Library, which traces the evolution of the broadcasting industry, was founded in April of 1972. On September 18, 1974, Mr. Hedges was elected Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Broadcast Pioneers Educational Fund.

William Hedges served as president of the Radio Executives Club (now known as the International Radio and Television Society) in 1946 and 1947 and as president of the Radio Pioneers (now known as Broadcast Pioneers) in 1949 and 1950. From 1942 to 1959 he was a member of Board of Directors of both Broadcast Music, Inc. and Associated Music Publishers. Additionally, Mr. Hedges was involved in numerous civic organizations throughout his life.

William Hedges married Margaret Elizabeth Hasenbalg in Chicago, April 21, 1920 and they had two daughters. He died on January 19, 1978 at the age of 82.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The William S. Hedges Papers spans the years 1917 to 1976, with the bulk of the material dating from 1917 to 1918 and 1966 to 1976. The collection contains correspondence, clippings, diaries, financial statements, logs, memoranda, newsletters, pamphlets, photographs, publications and speeches.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The William S. Hedges Papers was donated to the Library of American Broadcasting by William S. Hedges in 1972, 1973 and 1977

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Linda Machado, November 1998

Encoded by:

EAD markup using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Karen E. King, April 2009

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Broadcast Pioneers, 1964-1976 and undated (7 folders)

This series contains correspondence with Mr. Hedges on a variety of topics pertaining to the Broadcast Pioneers. Topics include a 1964 dinner honoring Mr. Hedges, the Broadcast Pioneers History Project, the Broadcast Pioneers Educational Fund and the Broadcast Pioneers Library. Also included in this series are sporadic issues of the publication, Broadcast Pioneer (1966-1974), a rough draft of a speech given by Mr. Hedges at the opening of the Broadcast Pioneer's Library in Washington, D.C. and an undated inventory of the Broadcast Pioneers Library.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Dinner honoring WS Hedges, 1964 series 1box 1folder 1
Broadcast Pioneers History Project, 1965-1972 series 1box 1folder 2
Broadcast Pioneers Educational Fund Correspondence, 1970-1972 series 1box 1folder 3
Broadcast Pioneers Correspondence, 1970-1976 series 1box 1folder 4
The Broadcast Pioneer, 1964, 1966, 1971-1972, 1974 series 1box 1folder 5
Broadcast Pioneers Library Speech, undated series 1box 1folder 6
Broadcast Pioneers Library Inventory, undated series 1box 1folder 7

Series 2: Early Correspondence, 1932-1958 (1 folder)

This series contains correspondence from Mr. Hedges' days with NBC and KDKA. Also included in this series is a September 13, 1945 press release from NBC with notations by David Sarnoff.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Early Correspondence, 1932-1958 series 2box 1folder 8

Series 3: Writings, 1917-1970 and undated (0.50 linear foot)

This series contains writings both authored by William S. Hedges and about him. It is divided into two subseries.

Subseries 3.1: Authored by William S. Hedges, 1917-1970 and undated (13 folders)

This series contains writings by William S. Hedges. Included are materials from his days as a columnist for the Chicago Daily News, clippings of his articles from 1917-1918. Also included are diaries and notes from Mr. Hedges' 1945 trip to Europe as a member of a special mission to appraise military and civilian uses of broadcasting. The series also contains various speeches and articles written by Mr. Hedges throughout his life.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Articles -- Chicago Daily News, 1917series 3.1box 1folder 9
Articles -- Chicago Daily News, 1918series 3.1box 1folder 10
Articles -- Chicago Daily News, undatedseries 3.1box 1folder 11
Articles, undatedseries 3.1box 1folder 12
What's in the Air magazine, March 1924series 3.1box 1folder 13
Motor View magazine, September 1924series 3.1box 1folder 14
Island Daily Press Association, 1930series 3.1box 1folder 15
Memorandum from NBC, 1945, 1947series 3.1box 1folder 16
Trip to Europe, 1945series 3.1box 1folder 17
Speeches and Articles, 1920-1948series 3.1box 2folder 1
Speeches and Articles, 1951-1960series 3.1box 2folder 2
Speeches and Articles, undatedseries 3.1box 2folder 3
Television/Radio Age, March 9, 1970series 3.1box 2folder 4

Subseries 3.2: About William S. Hedges, 1922-1967 and undated (3 folders)

This series contains various magazine and newspaper articles written about Mr. Hedges as well as biographical items written about Mr. Hedges.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Articles, 1922-1955series 3.2box 2folder 5
Articles, 1955-1967series 3.2box 2folder 6
Biographical Information, undatedseries 3.2box 2folder 7

Series 4: Photographs, 1917 and undated (2 folders)

This series contains two photographs of Mr. Hedges. One photograph, taken in 1917, is a shot of Mr. Hedges posing in front of a press car for the Chicago Daily News and the other is an undated portrait of Mr. Hedges. Also included is an undated portrait of several members of the Broadcast Pioneers Board of Directors.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
William S. Hedges, 1917 and undated series 4box 2folder 8
Broadcast Pioneers, undated series 4box 2folder 9

Series 5: Memorabilia, 1918-1945 and undated (1.50 linear feet)

This series contains material from the life and career of William S. Hedges between 1918 and 1960. Included are two items from the School of Military Aeronautics at Ohio State University - a 1918 edition of the student publication, "The Pilot" which Mr. Hedges published and a commemorative pin of the 1945 flight of the "Radio Beam". Also included is a copy of a October 13, 1924, satirical issue of the Chicago Daily News, a business card for Mr. Hedges while he was a District Manager for NBC in Chicago, a birthday poem written for Mr. Hedges by an unidentified person and a copy of the NBC News 1960 Convention Directory.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
School of Military Aeronautics, 1918, 1945 series 5box 2folder 10
Miscellaneous, undated series 5box 2folder 11
Chicago Daily News, October 13, 1924 series 5box 3folder 1

Related Material

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Selected Search Terms

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