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Douglas Gomery papers

 Collection 0143-MMC

Douglas Gomery (1945- ) is the author of 21 books, including The History of Broadcasting, and more than 600 articles on mass media's history and economics. He is Professor Emeritus at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland in College Park.

The Gomery papers consist of 136 boxes of research files, notes, correspondence, and audiovisual and electronic media. These document Gomery's research from the 1980s to 2007 into the history of motion pictures, broadcasting, and popular music. This donation also included an extensive collection of books and serial titles.


  • Majority of material found within 1980s-2007

Conditions Governing Access

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.

This collection is unprocessed. This means that materials are in the same state we received them and have not been reviewed for content or condition. The collection may need to be screened prior to use. Please contact us before visiting the Special Collections reading room to view this collection. A preliminary inventory is available under the Inventories/Additional Information section.

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.


204 Linear Feet (136 record storage containers)

Biographical / Historical

Douglas Gomery was born in New York City in 1945 and grew up in Allentown, PA. He had a distinguished academic career teaching and writing on the history of media, including motion pictures, broadcasting, and popular music. He received his PhD in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975 and began his teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1974. Dr. Gomery spent the majority of his academic career at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park, MD, where he taught from 1981 until his retirement in 2005. While at UMD, Dr. Gomery was on the faculty of the Radio, Television and Film Department and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. In 2003, he was named Resident Scholar of the Library of American Broadcasting, now part of the Mass Media & Culture collections. In addition to his regular teaching at the University of Maryland, Dr. Gomery was also a visiting professor at Northwestern University, the University of Iowa, New York University, and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Dr. Gomery has also contributed to the academic community in many ways by serving on the editorial boards of significant media journals, serving on the board of trustees for the American Film Institute, and as the senior researcher for the Media Studies Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Dr. Gomery is a prolific writer of books and articles. His major works include Patsy Cline: The Making of an Icon (2011), A History of Broadcasting in the United States (2008), The Coming of Sound: A History (2005), Shared Pleasures: A History Of Movie Presentation In The United States (1992), and The Hollywood Studio System (1986).

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains audiovisual materials. Items that cannot be used in the Special Collections reading room or are too fragile for researchers require that a digital copy be made prior to use. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit.

This collection contains born-digital materials. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit as items may require specialized software for access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Douglas Gomery papers were donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by Douglas Gomery and his wife Marilyn Moon in October 2007.

Separated Materials

Books and serials were removed, cataloged and added to the Mass Media and Culture print collection. A a much smaller selection number of books and serials still remain with the papers.

Processing Information

When the material arrived in 2007 a basic box level inventory was created. At that time books and serials were removed.

In 2009, a folder-level inventory was completed that records the folder headings, dates, formats, and subjects contained in the collection. The folder headings reflect exactly what was written on the original folders. No additional arrangment of the collection took place.

In 2018 a basic finding aid was created. The inventory was reviewed and intellectually organized into series. The inventory was reorganized to represent these series and added to the finding aid. The attached inventory represents signficant portions of the collection. No rearrangement or additional work was done so materials from different series can appear in one box. A group of material that was not categorized into existing series appears at the end of the inventory. The articles and clippings are not represented in the inventory. Researchers can request access to the articles and clippings as needed.

Guide to the Douglas Gomery papers
Minimally Processed
Michael Henry and Joanne Archer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2021-08-13: Jim Baxter re-wrote the collection abstract.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

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