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Noran Kersta papers

 Collection 0105-MMC

Noran Edward "Nick" Kersta (1911-2003), with a background in engineering and television research, was manager of the television department at NBC from 1942 to 1949 (excluding a period of military service). This collection is particularly important because of the information it provides about the early development of television before World War II.

Kersta left NBC in 1949 to become vice-president in charge of radio and television at an advertising agency and concluded his television career managing station WFTL in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from 1953 to 1957.

The papers of Noran Kersta span the years of 1935-1966 with the majority personal correspondence between 1945 and 1955. There are some reports, managerial procedures, and some photographs within the collections. There are also some personal clippings and articles.


  • 1935-1966
  • Majority of material found within 1938-1956

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


7.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The papers of Noran Kersta span the years of 1935-1966. The majority of the papers are Kersta's personal correspondence within the period of 1945-1955. There are some reports, managerial procedures and some photographs within the collection. In addition, there are some personal clippings and articles that Kersta kept either because of personal interest in the content or because he wrote them or is mentioned in the article. The collection is particularly important because of the information it provides about the early development of television prior to World War II. Items of particular note are the WNBT schedule rate cards.


Noran Edward "Nick" Kersta was born on July 17, 1911 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He attended a special engineering school at Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1930 to 1931. He then attended Georgia School of Technology from 1931 to 1933 for Chemical Engineering. From 1933 to 1934, Mr. Kersta attended New York University for Electrical Engineering and completed his education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1934 to 1935 where he took courses in Advanced Mathematics, Economics and Psychology.

Upon the completion of his formal education in 1935, Noran Kersta began his career at NBC. After several years in television research, Kersta became Manager of the Television Department at NBC on January 1, 1942. Kersta temporarily left NBC on July 8, 1943 to serve in the Marine Corps in the South Pacific. He returned to NBC, and resumed his position as Manager of the Television Department in October of 1945.

In 1949, Kersta left NBC to become Vice-President in charge of Radio and Television a William H. Weintraub & Company, an advertising agency. He remained at Weintraub until 1953 when he helped form Tri-County broadcasting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he was Station Operator of WFTL Channel 23. On December 26, 1954, a deal was finalized to sell Tri-County to Storer Broadcasting. Noran Kersta continued to work for Storer as Managing Director and WFTL was renamed WGBS-TV. Kersta lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, until his death in 2003. He was considered a pioneer for his work in the development of business methods for television as well as his studies of the commercial policies and the future of television.


This collection is arranged in six series:

Series 1
Personal Correspondence
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Broadcasting Pioneers
Series 5
Articles and Clippings
Series 6

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Kersta donated the collection to Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland Libraries in 2003.

Related Materials

Penn State holds the Noran Kersta Collection of NBC Television Network Commercial Cooperative Files, 1934-1950: Kersta finding aid

Processing Information

Folders were replaced with acid free folders and metal fasteners replaced. In the case of newspaper clippings or paper that was too damaged to allow researcher access, photocopies were made on acid free paper.

Five folders exhibited damage from a fire. These materials are housed in a separate box but are represented with the appropriate material in the finding aid.

Guide to the Noran Kersta papers
Processed by Michael Maggioncalda, November 2003. Revised by Ashley S. Behringer, February, 2013.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017-07-17: Finding aid updated post ArchivesSpace migration by Michael Henry and Joanne Archer.
  • 2018-01-11: Minor updates and revisions made by Joanne Archer
  • 2021-10-01: Jim Baxter re-wrote the collection abstract; Sam O'Donnell updated gendered language.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742