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Joseph A. Flaherty papers

 Collection 0164-MMC

Joseph Antony Flaherty, Jr. (1930-2018) played an integral role in the development of such technologies as electronic newsgathering (ENG), the miniature color camera, off-line video editing, and high definition television (HDTV). He joined CBS in 1957 as a Design Engineer and eventually rose to Senior Vice President for Technology. He was the recipient of many Emmy awards, including one for lifetime achievement.

The Joseph A. Flaherty papers cover the years 1931 to 2008, with the bulk of the collection from 1965 to 2007. The largest components of the collection are speeches and videotapes. They relate to the pioneering work Flaherty performed during his long career as CBS. Other materials in the collection include awards and one photograph.


  • 1925-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1965-2007

Use and Access to Collection

The collection is open for research use.

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.


4.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Joseph A. Flaherty Papers cover the years 1931 to 2008, with the bulk of the collection from 1965 to 2007. The collection documents Flaherty's career as a television engineer. The largest components of the collection are speeches and video tapes. They relate to the pioneering work Flaherty performed during his long career as CBS. Other materials in the collection include awards and one photograph.


Joseph A. Flaherty, Jr. is the son of a television engineer. He earned a degree in physics from Rockhurst College. From 1953 to 1955 Flaherty served at the Signal Corps Photographic Center. As Technical Director and Design Engineer of the U.S. Army's first television station, Flaherty designed the studio where training films were made through kinescope. Flaherty's commercial career began in 1957 when he joined CBS as a Design Engineer. Flaherty moved up in the ranks due to his innovations and in 1977 he became Vice President for Technology. He played an integral role in the development of such technologies as Electronic News Gathering, the miniature color camera, one inch videotape, off-line videotape editing, and high definition television.

Flaherty was Chairman of the Planning Subcommittee of the FCC's Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service that developed the ATSC HDTV standard. Flaherty also served as Chairman of the Technical Committee of the North American Broadcasters Association. Over the decades, he delivered dozens of speeches to his peers at various conferences and meetings.

Flaherty also served as the president of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation. He is a fan of Clarke's work and has referenced the science fiction author in speeches.

Honors and Awards Received (A Partial List)

  • Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers David Sarnoff Gold Medal (1974)
  • Emmy for development of Electronic News Gathering (1975)
  • National Association of Broadcasters Engineering Award (1983)
  • Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur (1985)
  • Emmy for electronic editing systems for programs produced on film (1986)
  • Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1989)
  • Emmy for the first Digital Computer Automation System for television (1989)
  • Member of the Broadcasting and Cable Magazine Hall of Fame (1991)
  • Personal Achievement Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in Contributions to the Development and Improvement of the Science and Technology of Television (1994)
  • Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award (1996)


Organized as four series:

Series 1
Speeches and Published Works
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4

Custodial History

The collection was acquired via LAB board member Don West, who received them from Joseph A. Flaherty while conducting an oral history interview. The tapes were sent to the Library of American Broadcasting on November 13, 2008.

Separated Material

The following books were removed from the Joseph A. Flaherty Papers and entered into the University of Maryland Libraries Catalog:

  1. RCA Institutes. Television Volume II (1936-1937), 1950.
  2. Clement et al. Radio at Ultra-High Frequencies, 1940.
  3. Sterling, George E. The Radio Manual, 1929.
  4. Federal Telephone and Radio Corporation. Reference Data for Radio Engineers, 1949.
  5. Pawley, Edward. BBC Engineering 1922-1972, 1972.
  6. National Regulatory Research Institute. Quarterly Bulletin, March, June 1991.
  7. Australian Regional Groups of the Royal Institute of Public Administration. Public Administration, September, 1970.
  8. Prospects for Universal Telephone Service: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Consumer Protection, and Finance, 1983.
  9. The Impact of Changes in the Telecommunications Industry on Small Business: A Report of the Committee on Small Business, House of Representatives, 1984.
  10. Federal Communications Commission, petitioner v. Midwest Video Corporation, respondents: Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 1977.
  11. Subcommittee of Communications. Cable Television: Promise Versus Regulatory Performance, 1976.
Guide to the Joseph A. Flaherty papers
Processed by Ashley S. Behringer
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

  • 2013-03-21: EAD revised by Ashley S. Behringer
  • 2019-01-16: Minor updates and revisition made post ArchivesSpace migration by Joanne Archer.
  • 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