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Norman R. Glenn papers

 Collection 0024-MMC-LAB

Norman R. Glenn (1909-1999) was the founding editor and publisher of two advertising and broadcasting magazines, Sponsor and Marketing and Media Decisions. In the 1930s, Glenn (born Norman R. Goldman) held executive positions at WLS, a Chicago radio station. He created Sponsor in 1946 as a publication geared towards the broadcasting advertiser. The magazine featured influential commentary, including a series of editorials on McCarthyism and blacklisting that earned the magazine a George Polk Memorial Award for distinguished journalism. After selling Sponsor, Glenn created another trade magazine, Marketing and Media Decisions, in 1966. This publication provided guidance on planning and placement to advertisers during the television era. He sold that publication in 1984.

The Norman R. Glenn papers span the years 1933 to 1998. The collection contains two scrapbooks, correspondence, and publications.


  • 1933-1998 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1933-1965

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.


2.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Norman R. Glenn papers span the years 1933 to 1998. The collection contains two scrapbooks, correspondence, and publications.


Norman R. Glenn (born Norman R. Goldman), founding editor and publisher of Sponsor and Marketing and Media Decisions, was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois on September 3, 1909. Glenn enrolled in the University of Chicago as a Liberal Arts major in 1927 but dropped out during his senior year due to financial hardship.

To help support himself and his family, Glenn took a job with The Chicago Daily News. While at The Chicago Daily News he was introduced to the General Manager of WLS radio in Chicago who offered Glenn a job and where he worked from 1932 to 1936. His first job at the radio station was to hold up placards introducing the acts at WLS's weekly show, "The National Barn Dance". Glenn was eventually promoted to information clerk at WLS and finally, in 1933, to Promotion Director. As Promotion Director, he handled all publicity and promotions for the Prairie Farmer-owned WLS.

In 1936, Martin Codell, publisher of Broadcasting Magazine, offered Glenn an opportunity with the New York office of his magazine. Glenn accepted and one year later, in 1937, transferred to Broadcasting Magazine's Washington, D.C. office where he was promoted to Business Manager. While at Broadcasting Magazine, Glenn came up with the idea to run a series of ads designed as public service. The result of this was a series of public service advertisements specifically addressing the war effort. These ads ran in Broadcasting Magazine from 1942 to 1943. Glenn remained with Broadcasting Magazine until he entered the military in 1942. Glenn served in the military until the end of World War II in 1945.

In 1945, Glenn married Elaine Cooper and, for a short time, was Executive Director of Frequency Modulation magazine. Earlier, while at Broadcasting Magazine, Glenn imagined a trade journal geared towards the broadcast advertiser - to serve the concerns of broadcast media, broadcasters and advertisers. This idea came to fruition with the publication of Sponsor magazine in November of 1946. Sponsor's credo, as stated in the magazine's first issue, was "Sponsor is the trade magazine for the man who foots the broadcast advertising bill..its objective is to do a job for the sponsor". Sponsor initially ran as a monthly publication but by the end of 1947 expanded into a bi-weekly publication.

Sponsor magazine was a popular and influential magazine within the broadcast community. Sponsor's editorials were of notable influence. The editorials called for sound TV and radio practices – creation of a television ad bureau, a revitalized radio ad bureau, improved research and media buying professionalism. For several years, Sponsor ran a series entitled, "This We Fight For". This was a series of articles dealing with ethical standards. During the early to mid 1950s, Sponsor also ran a series of editorials entitled "Red Channels" which attacked McCarthyism and blacklisting. This series earned the magazine the George Polk Memorial Award for distinguished journalism. Norman Glenn sold Sponsor magazine to Obijay Press of Duluth, Minnesota in 1963.

Elaine Glenn passed away in March of 1966 and later that same year Norman Glenn created another trade magazine, Marketing & Media Decisions. Marketing & Media Decisions was an extension of Sponsor magazine. It gave advertisers guidance on evaluating and using all advertising media in the television era. Glenn sold Marketing & Media Decisions in 1985.

In 1985, Glenn founded the Community Action Network (CAN), a non-profit group in New York City that is run in partnership with broadcast and print media and is supported by an annual media awards event. CAN is a volunteer community resource whose sole objective is to collect and to share practical solutions to challenging social problems. CAN acts as a databank of information dealing with community social problems and publishes booklets dealing with critical community social problems.

Norman Glenn died in New York City on February 5, 1999 due to complications from a stroke. He is survived by his wife Roberta, two children from his first marriage, two stepchildren and five grandchildren.


The collection is organized as three series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence and Related Materials
  2. Series 2: Publications
  3. Series 3: Scrapbooks

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Norman R. Glenn donated his papers in 1996 and 1998 to the Library of American Broadcasting, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Separated Material

Bound volumes of Sponsor magazine (1946-1964) and three bound volumes of US Radio (1957-1961) are shelved in the Library of American Broadcasting's periodicals section.

Guide to the Norman R. Glenn papers
Processed by Linda M. Machado, February 1999
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

  • 2010-06-18: EAD revised by Karen E. King, June 2010
  • 2012-01-18: EAD markup checked and verified using Oxygen software by Jennie Levine Knies, January 2012.
  • 2018-12-18: Finding aid reviewed and minor edits made by Duncan Griffin.
  • 2021-09-10: 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