Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

Alfred N. Goldsmith papers

 Collection 0025-MMC-LAB

Dr. Alfred N. Goldsmith (1888-1974) was a world-renowned electronics scientist, engineer and inventor, whose career spanned from the early days of radio to the later years of color television and satellite communication. The collection includes scientific papers, articles, a scrapbook and audio materials. Audio recordings include the first transatlantic radio broadcast.


  • 1921-1964
  • Majority of material found within 1925-1933

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 special collections reading room staff.


3.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

Dr. Goldsmith donated materials to the Broadcast Pioneers History Project, a precursor to the Library of American Broadcasting. Dr. Goldsmith's donation includes scientific papers, articles, audio recordings, an oral history and a scrapbook. The collection spans the years from 1921 to 1964 with the bulk of the material dating from 1925 to 1933. Dr. Goldsmith's sound recordings include audio tapes of the first transatlantic radio rebroadcast by WJZ from London in 1925, musical selections broadcast from 2LO in London and rebroadcast over WJZ in 1925, and a recording of "International Radio Broadcast Firsts" from 1926. The collection also includes an oral history of Dr. Goldsmith by William Hedges from July 1964. Dr. Goldsmith's scrapbook has been microfilmed and is available to researchers.


Dr. Alfred N. Goldsmith (1888-1974) was an electronics scientist, engineer and inventor, whose career spanned from the early days of radio to the later years of color television and satellite communication.

Dr. Goldsmith was born in New York on September 15, 1888. He attended the College of the City of New York CCNY) where he obtained his bachelor's degree in 1907 and also became an instructor, establishing a course in radio engineering. He remained at CCNY until 1919. Dr. Goldsmith obtained his doctor's degree from Columbia University in 1911. He was given a lifetime appointment at CCNY as associate professor of electrical engineering.

In 1917 Dr. Goldsmith was director of research for the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company and joined RCA in 1919 when it acquired Marconi. At RCA, he became director of research, chief broadcasting engineer, and vice president from 1919 to 1933. He resigned from RCA to become an independent consultant.

Goldsmith acquired over one hundred patents in the field of electronics, including one in 1941 for a "flickerless" system of television broadcasting that provided an image on the receiver free from movement. His research in 1920 made possible the first commercial radio with only two control knobs and a built-in speaker. He was also credited with making significant contributions to the development of the first color-television tube.

Dr. Goldsmith was a co-founder and life member of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), and was its president in 1928. He was also a fellow of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). In 1963, the IRE and AIEE were merged to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and Dr. Goldsmith became a fellow, director and editor emeritus of the organization.

He wrote several books and many papers, and has been honored by a long list of organizations. He was the recipient of the Institute of Radio Engineers' Medal of Honor in 1941, and received the Progress Medal Award of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in 1932 and in 1940, the Modern Pioneer Award, among others.

Goldsmith married Maud Johnstone in 1930 and had no children. Dr. Goldsmith died July 2, 1974.


The collection is organized as three series:

Series 1
Series 2
Series 3

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.

Custodial History

The Alfred N. Goldsmith papers were donated to the Library of American Broadcasting by Dr. Alfred N. Goldsmith in 1971. It was transferred to the University of Maryland Libraries as part of the Library of American Broadcastiong in September 1994.

Guide to the Alfred N. Goldsmith papers
Karen Fishman and Joanne Archer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021-09-16: Finding aid reviewed and minor updates made by Joanne Archer. Audio material added to collection

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

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