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Barton L. Griffith Papers


Barton L. Griffith Papers
Griffith, Barton L.
Collection number:
NPBA 92-2
7.50 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
1954-1988 and undated
Collection Area:
Mass Media and Culture
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

Barton L. Griffith began his broadcasting career working for stations WIBW, KTOP, and WREN at Topeka, Kansas as an announcer, sales representative and promotion director from 1947 to 1950. Five years later, he joined National Educational Television as the Director of Distribution and Station Relations. His professional career also included consulting work with various organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Finally, Griffith actively participated on many educational councils and organizations. Particularly, he chaired the Speech Association of America's Radio-TV-Film Interest Group, belonged to the National Association of Educational Broadcaster's Board of Directors (1962-1966) and to the International Television Association's Executive Council (1982-1990) His main interests throughout his career have been involvement in innovative higher education programs utilizing telecommunications and the improvement of teaching and learning through radio, film and instructional television. The collection contains monographs and correspondence regarding instructional television and educational television technologies.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

Barton L. Griffith Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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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.

Historical Note

Barton L. Griffith was born May 8, 1926 in Topeka Kansas. During and after World War II (1944-1947) he served in the U.S. Army as a Special Investigator of the Counter-Intelligence Corps. From 1947 to 1950 he worked at three Topeka radio stations: WIBW, KTOP and WREN as announcer, sales representative and promotion director respectively. In 1950 he completed the work for his BA in political science at Washburn University in Topeka; the following year he earned his MA in speech/radio-TV-film at the University of Iowa.

In 1951 Griffith was recalled by the U.S. Army and served for two years during the Korean War, this time as Psychological Warfare Officer. In this capacity he helped reestablish the Army PsyWar School in Fort Bragg NC, and spent some time on detached duty at the Office of the Chief, Pentagon. Upon his return to civilian life in 1953 he began studying for his Ph.D in speech/radio-TV-film at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While there he joined the Educational Television and Radio Center as their first full-time Director of Distribution and Station Relations (July 1955). In 1957, Griffith left Ann Arbor to join the faculty of the University of Missouri at Columbia as Professor of Communication, a post he held until 1991 when he was named Professor Emeritus. He was granted his Ph.D from the University of Michigan in 1959.

At the University of Missouri-Columbia Dr. Griffith was Head of the Speech/Radio-TV-Film Area and taught most of the courses in that curriculum. In 1958 he launched the Office of Instructional Television and under his directorship it grew into an operation serving over 150 courses in 31 departments throughout the Columbia campus. In 1969 Dr. Griffith became a Coordinator in the Office of Instructional Design. This office had been established for the purpose of assisting faculty in the development of systematic learning packages for students, including the implementation of telecommunications projects.

Throughout his career in broadcasting, Dr. Griffith's stated objectives have been 1) involvement in innovative higher education programs utilizing telecommunications and 2) improvement of teaching and learning through radio, film and instructional television. His professional activities and commitments have reflected these goals. Among numerous other involvements, he was on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) from 1962 to 1966; a member of the FCC executive committee on Instructional Television Fixed Service (2500 mhz); and on the Board of Trustees of the International Television Association Educational Research Foundation, 1982-1990. He served as a consultant to many public institutions throughout the world, especially at colleges and universities, where he helped establish educational television workshops. For the NAEB he chaired at the National Instructional Broadcasting Conferences in 1963, 1965 and 1967. For the Corporation for Public Broadcasting he was facilitator for Public Broadcasting and Education, a 1974 study the Corporation conducted to determine its future role in media applications for education.

Dr. Griffith authored more than 40 published articles for professional journals and wrote several monographs. He co-edited the book Improvement of Teaching by Television (1964) and was co-contributor of the chapter "The Social Importance of Television and Radio" for the anthology Academic Areas of Speech (1967).

Dr. Barton L. Griffith died in 1996.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

In keeping with Dr. Griffith's stated objectives, the Barton L. Griffith Papers has been divided into two series. The first series, Educational Television Technologies, documents his involvement with the development of telecommunications systems for educational purposes at the University of Missouri and across the country. These papers cover the years 1970 to 1988 and include correspondence, monographs, reports and presentations. The second series, Educational Television Instruction, covers the years 1954 to 1983; the bulk of this series is from the 70s and 80s and is mostly related to Dr. Griffith's educational television courses at the University of Missouri.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Barton L. Griffith Papers was donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by Barton L. Griffith in July of 1991.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Michael J. Lewis, January 1995. Revised by Karen E. King, March 1997

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Karen E. King, November 2004.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Educational Television Technologies, 1970-1988 and undated (1.25 linear feet)

This series was arranged into two topics. The topic Extension Technologies documents Dr. Griffith's work in the development of telecommunications technologies for university systems. Much of the material, which consists of notes, correspondence, and articles, centers on a task force report for the University of Missouri Columbia compiled in 1986, the subject of which was educational equipment in university extension. The documents are arranged chronologically. The following topic, Statewide Systems, chronicles Dr. Griffith's observations of and participations in education oriented technological systems in states other than Missouri. Reports and correspondence concerning Indiana (1972 1987), monographs on Wisconsin (1972 1988) and correspondence and presentation materials, including a set of slide transparencies, about Alaska (1984 1985) are each arranged in chronological order. A 1984 book, Cooperative Extension Service, completes this series.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Extension Technologies -- State Networks, 1970 series 1box 1folder 1
Extension Technologies -- Intercampus Technological and Educational Development (ITED) Committee --Microwave, 1971-1973 series 1box 1folder 2
Extension Technologies -- GPN Satellite Use Study, 1977 series 1box 1folder 3
Extension Technologies -- Electronic Technology, May 1985 series 1box 1folder 4
Extension Technologies -- "Delivery Systems for Extension" and related papers, July 1985 series 1box 1folder 5
Extension Technologies -- Equipment Committee correspondence, February - August 1986 series 1box 1folder 6
Extension Technologies -- Equipment Subcommittee meetings, August - September 1986 series 1box 1folder 7
Extension Technologies -- Final Draft of "Report" with attachments, September 30 1986 series 1box 1folder 8
Extension Technologies -- "Report of the Task Force on Educational Equipment in University Extension", October 15, 1986 series 1box 1folder 9
Extension Technologies -- Telecommunications articles and documents, 1984-1988 series 1box 1folder 10
Extension Technologies -- Telecommunications notes and correspondence, 1985-1988 series 1box 1folder 11
Extension Technologies -- Telecommunications glossaries, undated series 1box 1folder 12
Statewide Systems: Indiana -- Indiana Higher Education Telecommunication System (IHETS) overview, 1972 series 1box 2folder 1
Statewide Systems: Indiana -- Indiana Higher Education Telecommunication System (IHETS) overview, 1972 series 1box 2folder 2
Statewide Systems: Indiana -- IHETS Report and correspondence, 1972 series 1box 2folder 3
Statewide Systems: Indiana -- "IHETS Book" and related correspondence, 1985-1987 series 1box 2folder 4
Statewide Systems: Indiana -- IHETS materials, 1987 series 1box 2folder 5
Statewide Systems: Wisconsin -- University of Wisconsin -- Extension (UWEX), 1972-1973 series 1box 2folder 6
Statewide Systems: Wisconsin -- "Wisconsin Idea in the Electronic Age", 1985 series 1box 2folder 7
Statewide Systems: Wisconsin -- "Infotext", March 1986 series 1box 2folder 8
Statewide Systems: Wisconsin -- "Telecommunications and the University", 1988 series 1box 2folder 9
Statewide Systems: Alaska -- "Learn Alaska Network" presentation and related correspondence, July 1984-March 1985 series 1box 3folder 1
Statewide Systems: Alaska -- Learn Alaska: rural education/programming/general, 1984-1985 series 1box 3folder 2

Series 2: Educational Television Instruction, 1954-1983 and undated (1.25 linear feet)

The second series documents some of Dr. Griffith's participation in guidance and instruction for educators and aspiring educators in terms of the potential use of the television medium in their field. Again, there are two topics. The first, General Materials, features monographs and pamphlets with a small amount of correspondence concerning teaching and learning via television. It is arranged chronologically. The second topic, Speech 407 Course Materials, covers notes and related papers for a University of Missouri course in educational television. The papers are arranged by subject according to the outline of the lecture session objectives, and cover the years 1977 to 1983.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
General Materials -- "Attitude Change Through Mass Communications", August 1954 series 2box 3folder 3
General Materials -- American Psychologist, October 1955 series 2box 3folder 4
General Materials -- Psychological Monographs, 1959 series 2box 3folder 5
General Materials -- "Guide for Television Teachers" and related materials, 1960s series 2box 3folder 6
General Materials -- Instructional television materials and correspondence, 1966-1976 series 2box 3folder 7
General Materials -- "The Nature of Persuasive Communication", 1967 series 2box 4folder 1
General Materials -- To Improve Learning [U.S. Govt. pamphlet], March 1970 series 2box 4folder 2
General Materials -- "Crew Handbook," Office of Instructional Television, September 1970 series 2box 4folder 3
General Materials -- "So You Want to be on Television?", undated series 2box 4folder 4
General Materials -- Educational television articles and documents, 1980s series 2box 4folder 5
General Materials -- Educational television materials, 1980s series 2box 4folder 6
Speech 407 Course Materials -- Classroom materials, 1977-1983 series 2box 4folder 7
Speech 407 Course Materials -- Classroom materials, 1977-1983 series 2box 4folder 8
Speech 407 Course Materials -- Educational television information, vols I and II, undated series 2box 5folder 1
Speech 407 Course Materials -- Educational television information, vols I and II, undated series 2box 5folder 2
Speech 407 Course Materials -- Educational television information, vols I and II, undated series 2box 5folder 3
Speech 407 Course Materials -- Educational television information, vols I and II, undated series 2box 5folder 4

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