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Roger P. Smith Papers


Roger P. Smith Papers
Smith, Roger P.
Collection number:
NPBA 96-5
5.00 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
1929-1995, 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:

Roger Smith has been involved in the development and production of innovative public service television programs and films since 1955. His public television career began at WTTW (Chicago, IL) in 1965. There he worked as an executive producer for a weekly one-hour prime time arts series titled Facet. His work on that series earned him two "Emmy" awards. Then he worked at WNET (New York, NY) from 1967 to 1968, producing the show Newsfront. In 1968, he joined the staff of WGBH (Boston, MA) and remained there for nine years serving as producer, director and writer for a number of shows and films including Urban Decisions and The Captioned French Chef. The collection mostly documents Smith's work at WGBH with some materials about his work at WTTW, WNET and at his own production consulting firm, The Production House, Inc.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research use.

Preferred citation:

Roger P. Smith Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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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.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Roger P. Smith has been involved in the development and production of innovative public service television programs and films since 1955. He has worked on network news programs, as well as network and local programs for public television. His programs, numbering over 500, have been both general audience and instructional. Programs that Smith has been associated with have won Peabody, Ohio State, Edison, and Television Academy Awards. Smith received his B.A. from Yale University in Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts in 1952. After three years with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Germany, he entered the CBS Executive Training Program in News and Public Affairs. Upon completion of the training program in 1955, Smith joined the Public Affairs Department of the Columbia Broadcasting System in New York. Smith worked in a variety of capacities at CBS, including writer, producer, associate producer, researcher, project manager, and production coordinator. He also acted as production assistant for "Let's Take A Trip", a weekly live remote for children, which won the Thomas Alva Edison Award. Smith's position at CBS ended in 1965 with the abolition of the Public Affairs Department. Smith's career in public television began in 1965. From 1965 to 1966, he produced several shows for WTTW in Chicago. His work as executive producer on Facet, a weekly one-hour prime-time arts series, earned two Academy of Television Arts and Sciences "Emmy" Awards. Smith soon left WTTW and returned to New York, where he worked at public television station WNET from 1967 to 1968. At WNET, he produced Newsfront, a daily one-hour prime-time live news program. In 1968, Smith left WNET and joined WGBH in Boston, where he would work for nine years. At WGBH, he served as producer, director, and writer for a number of shows and films. Among the major productions on which Smith worked are: Urban Decisions a 1973 pilot for an empowerment series for minority youth; prefaces to the BBC's 1974 War and Peace series; Shapers of Our Times: Eamon DeValera a 1976 pilot for a history series; the 1978 Public Awareness Project for the Handicapped, and The Teaching of Interpersonal Skills to Health Professionals a 1978 series of six studio dramas produced in conjunction with the National Library of Medicine. Several programs that Smith worked on at WGBH have won recognition. The Captioned French Chef, the first television program captioned for the hearing impaired, led to federal funding for the National Caption Center at WGBH. What's My Thing? earned the prestigious Ohio State Award. A Part of Yourself, the 1972 motivational film about organ transplant, was recognized with a Certificate from the American Medical Association. Nova earned the George Foster Peabody Award. Other programs with which Smith was associated won the Cine Golden Eagle Award, and the First Prize in the Rehabilitation Film Festival. Smith left WGBH in 1977. Since then, he has served as consultant on a variety of projects. As president of his own production consulting firm, the Production House, Inc., he wrote Public Media and Community Dialogue, a handbook for the Association of Junior Leagues. He has taught courses in film analysis at the University of Massachusetts, and children's television at Graham Junior College. He has also been guest lecturer on television at Boston University, Emerson College, and Harvard University. In 2002, Smith's book The Other Face of Public Television: Censoring the American Dream was published by Algora Publishing.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Roger P. Smith Papers spans the period from 1929 to 1995, with the bulk of the material dating from 1971 to 1978. The papers consist of newspaper clippings, memos, correspondence, financial documents, reports, scripts, research notes, photographs, and slides. The collection deal largely with Smith's work at public television station WGBH in Boston. Most of the WGBH materials are production and research files for several of the shows Smith worked on. Also included are materials concerning Smith's work at WTTW, WNET, and The Production House.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Roger P. Smith Papers was donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by Roger P. Smith in July of 1995.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Heather Moore, November 1995.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Karen E. King, August 2006.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: WTTW and WNET, 1929-1967, undated (0.25 linear foot)

This series contains material Smith collected while doing background research for show ideas at WTTW. Also included in this series is material about Newsfront, the news show that Smith produced at WNET in New York. This series is arranged first by station, then alphabetically within each station.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Aging, 1961, undated series 1box 1folder 1
American Thought and Culture, June 1964 series 1box 1folder 2
Children's Programs, 1965 series 1box 1folder 3
Creative Person, 1965 series 1box 1folder 4
Glossy Bohemia, 1965, undated series 1box 1folder 5
Jane Addams, 1929-1965, undated series 1box 1folder 6
Law, 1965, undated series 1box 1folder 7
Left Wing, 1965-1967, undated series 1box 1folder 8
Leisure, September-October 1965, undated series 1box 1folder 9
Mental Health, 1962-1965, undated series 1box 1folder 10
Mentally Retarded, November 1964-February 1966, undated series 1box 1folder 11
Montessori, August 1965, undated series 1box 1folder 12
Negro, February 1964-January 1966, undated series 1box 1folder 13
Medicine, 1965, undated series 1box 1folder 14
Poets, April 1963, undated series 1box 1folder 15
WTTW Memos, October 1965 series 1box 1folder 16
Youth Protest Movements, October-November 1965, undated series 1box 1folder 17
Newsfront Memos, November 1966 series 1box 1folder 18

Series 2: WGBH, 1961-1995, undated (4.50 linear feet)

This series consists of material created and collected by Smith while working at public television station WGBH in Boston. These materials include production and research files, as well as WGBH administrative files.

Subseries 2.1: Program Production Files, 1964-1978, undated (1.75 linear feet)

This subseries consists of the production and research files for many of the shows that Smith worked on while at WGBH. Particularly extensive are the production files for The Teaching of Interpersonal Skills to Health Professionals. These files include material documenting almost every aspect of show production, including research, writing, and funding. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by the name of the show.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Adult Learning Program Service, January 1972-May 1973, undatedseries 2.1box 1folder 19
A Part of Yourself, March 1971-June 1973, undatedseries 2.1box 1folder 20
Cahill, Dorothy, January-November 1975, undatedseries 2.1box 1folder 21
Child Advocacy Proposal, July 1976-February 1977series 2.1box 2folder 1
Crockett's Victory Garden, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 2
DeValera -- Shapers of Our Time, January-July 1976, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 3
DeValera -- Addresses and Contacts, April 1976, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 4
DeValera -- Correspondence, April 1976-March 1977, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 5
DeValera -- First Draft, May-July 1976, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 6
DeValera -- Fiscal, 1972-April 1977, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 7
DeValera -- Post Production, August 1976-January 1977series 2.1box 2folder 8
DeValera -- Rates, Rights, Royalties, and Printing, August 1975-August 1976, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 9
DeValera -- Resource Materials, May 1964-April 1976, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 10
DeValera -- Script, April 1976, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 11
DeValera -- Stock Footage, April-June 1976, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 12
DeValera -- Transcript, July 1976series 2.1box 2folder 13
Ecology -- Proposal, November 1970-December 1974, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 14
Ecology -- Research, March 1969-November 1970series 2.1box 2folder 15
Ecology -- Research Meetings, September-December 1970, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 16
Fairs, October 1975series 2.1box 2folder 17
Interpersonal Skills -- Audio Script for Freeze Frames, March 30, 1978series 2.1box 3folder 1
Interpersonal Skills -- Budget, December 1977-September 1978series 2.1box 3folder 2
Interpersonal Skills -- Cast, February 1978, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 3
Interpersonal Skills -- Contact People, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 4
Interpersonal Skills -- Contract, December 1977-May 1978series 2.1box 3folder 5
Interpersonal Skills -- Correspondence, November 1977-March 1978series 2.1box 3folder 6
Interpersonal Skills -- Credits, March 1978, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 7
Interpersonal Skills -- Draft Scripts, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 8
Interpersonal Skills -- Edit Logs, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 9

Subseries 2.2: Administrative Files, 1961-1995, undated (6 folders)

This subseries contains material collected by Smith while at WGBH, as well as material concerning WGBH which Smith collected after leaving the station. Included in this subseries are internal WGBH memos, correspondence, and materials for a class that Smith taught at Graham Jr. College while still at WGBH. This subseries is arranged alphabetically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Interpersonal Skills -- Facilities, December 1977-March 1978series 2.2box 3folder 10
Interpersonal Skills -- Freeze Frames, undatedseries 2.2box 3folder 11
Interpersonal Skills -- Memos, December 1977-February 1978series 2.2box 3folder 12
Interpersonal Skills -- Pre-Edit Logs, undatedseries 2.2box 3folder 13
Interpersonal Skills -- Props, undatedseries 2.2box 3folder 14
Interpersonal Skills -- Research, December 1977-January 1978series 2.2box 3folder 15
Interpersonal Skills -- Scripts and Script Notes, undatedseries 2.2box 3folder 16
Interpersonal Skills -- Tape Logs, February-April 1978series 2.2box 3folder 17
Interpersonal Skills -- Show #1 - Overview, January-February 1978series 2.2box 3folder 18
Interpersonal Skills -- Show #2 - Prep. for Teaching, December 1977-February 1978series 2.2box 3folder 19
Interpersonal Skills -- Show #3 - Implementing Instruction, January 1978series 2.2box 3folder 20
Interpersonal Skills -- Show #4 - Monitoring/Providing Feedback, January 1978series 2.2box 4folder 1
Interpersonal Skills -- Show #5 - Basic Interpersonal Skills, January-February 1978series 2.2box 4folder 2
Interpersonal Skills -- Show #6 - Process Awareness, January-February 1978series 2.2box 4folder 3
Interpersonal Skills -- Show #7 - Video Technology, January-February 1978series 2.2box 4folder 4
Interpersonal Skills -- Revised Script Day #1, February 1978series 2.2box 4folder 5
Interpersonal Skills -- Revised Script Day #2, February 23, 1978series 2.2box 4folder 6
Interpersonal Skills -- Revised Script Day #3, February 28, 1978series 2.2box 4folder 7
Interpersonal Skills -- Revised Script Day #4, March 1, 1978series 2.2box 4folder 8
Interpersonal Skills -- Revised Script Day #5, March 1978series 2.2box 4folder 9
Interpersonal Skills -- Draft Scripts #1-#6, January 10-16, 1978series 2.2box 5folder 1
Interpersonal Skills -- Draft Scripts #1-#6, January 26, 1978series 2.2box 5folder 2
Lomax, Alan, February-August 1975, undatedseries 2.2box 5folder 3
McLean Hospital, May 1971-July 1975, undatedseries 2.2box 5folder 4
Mixed Media, undatedseries 2.2box 5folder 5
Olmsted, June 1973-April 1984, undatedseries 2.2box 5folder 6
Public Awareness Program for the Handicapped, April 1975-May 1978, undatedseries 2.2box 6folder 1
Public Awareness Program for the Handicapped -- Advisory Committee Materials, January 1976-July 1980, undatedseries 2.2box 6folder 2
Public Awareness Program for the Handicapped -- Advisory Committee Photographs, March 16, 1977series 2.2box 6folder 3
Public Awareness Program for the Handicapped -- Budget and Contracts, September 1977-September 1980, undatedseries 2.2box 6folder 4
Public Awareness Program for the Handicapped -- Directory and Abstracts for the BEH Vocational/Career Education Projects, 1979-1980series 2.2box 6folder 5
Public Awareness Program for the Handicapped -- Grant Material, May-November 1978, undatedseries 2.2box 7folder 1
Public Awareness Program for the Handicapped -- Reports, January-October 1977series 2.2box 7folder 2
Public Awareness Program for the Handicapped -- What If You Couldn't?, December 1977-January 1978series 2.2box 7folder 3
Russia, May 1971-January 1984, undatedseries 2.2box 7folder 4
Russia -- Contacts and Consultants, May 1975, undatedseries 2.2box 7folder 5
Russia -- Correspondence, May 1975-March 1976series 2.2box 7folder 6
Russia -- Fiscal, February 1975-June 1976series 2.2box 7folder 7
Russia -- Interviews, September 1974-May 1975series 2.2box 7folder 8
Russia -- Production Plan, October 1974-May 1975series 2.2box 7folder 9
Russia -- Proposal, August 1971-February 1976, undatedseries 2.2box 7folder 10
Russia -- Publisher, April-December 1975series 2.2box 7folder 11
Russia -- Research Sources, October 1961-March 1975series 2.2box 7folder 12
Russia -- Script Outline, August-September 1974, undatedseries 2.2box 7folder 13
Russia -- Transcripts, August-October 1975series 2.2box 7folder 14
Sexton, Anne, October-December 1974, undatedseries 2.2box 7folder 15
Urban Decisions, November 1971-April 1973, undatedseries 2.2box 8folder 1
Urban Decisions -- Budget, July 1973-September 1975series 2.2box 8folder 2
Urban Decisions -- Contacts, May 1973-October 1974, undatedseries 2.2box 8folder 3
Urban Decisions -- Fiscal, April 1972-May 1975, undatedseries 2.2box 8folder 4
Urban Decisions -- Funding [1], July 1973-September 1976, undatedseries 2.2box 8folder 5
Urban Decisions -- Funding [2], December 1972-May 1978, undatedseries 2.2box 8folder 6
Urban Decisions -- In the Hot Seat, November 1974-May 1975, undatedseries 2.2box 8folder 7
Urban Decisions -- Monthly Report, February 1973-April 1973series 2.2box 8folder 8
Urban Decisions -- Professional, May 1975-February 1977, undatedseries 2.2box 8folder 9
Urban Decisions -- Project Design, January 1972-March 1975, undatedseries 2.2box 9folder 1
Urban Decisions -- Task Force, June 1972-April 1973, undatedseries 2.2box 9folder 2
Urban Decisions -- Teachers, March 1972-April 1973, undatedseries 2.2box 9folder 3
Urban Decisions -- Utilization, April-May 1975, undatedseries 2.2box 9folder 4
Vernacular Architecture of New England, July 1971-July 1972, undatedseries 2.2box 9folder 5
Vernacular Architecture Funding, January 1971-August 1980, undatedseries 2.2box 9folder 6
War and Peace, May-December 1973, undatedseries 2.2box 9folder 7
War and Peace Introductions 1-9, October 1973-March 1974, undatedseries 2.2box 9folder 8
Charlotte, February 1973-September 1977series 2.2box 10folder 1
Education Division Development, February 1973-November 1975, undatedseries 2.2box 10folder 2
Graham Jr. College, October 1977-February 1978, undatedseries 2.2box 10folder 3
Parody, November 1979-April 1980series 2.2box 10folder 4
Resumes, 1969-1986, undatedseries 2.2box 10folder 5
WGBH, 1970-1995, undatedseries 2.2box 10folder 6

Series 3: The Production House, Inc., 1976-1985, undated (4 folders)

This series contains material concerning projects Smith worked on as president of his own production consulting firm, The Production House, Inc. The projects documented in this series include a handbook written by Smith for the Association of Junior Leagues, as well as a television show for children. This series is arranged alphabetically, with correspondence at the end of the series.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
AJL Handbook, 1976-1977, undated series 3box 10folder 7
Public Media and Community Dialogue, May 1977, undated series 3box 10folder 8
Secrets, April 1983-October 1985 series 3box 10folder 9
Correspondence, July 1980 series 3box 10folder 10

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