Scope and Content of Collection
The Robert L. Coe papers include biographical materials, radio licenses, correspondence, writings, teaching notes and awards. Inclusive dates are from his birth in 1902 to his death in 1975, with some material donated to the Library in 1985 by his wife.
Of special significance in this collection is the unfinished manuscript for the book Coe was writing, A Saga of American Broadcasting, based on his own experiences. However, upon Coe's death, only the first 12 of 20 chapters were completed. A collection of class teaching notes, used by Coe as a professor of Communications at the University of Ohio, follows closely the structure of the manuscript, and is useful in identifying other historical broadcasting details.
Photographs from this collection, housed in the library's photographic archives, provide an interesting glimpse into the early days of American television. A focus of the collection is the early days of WPIX, in New York City, where Coe was vice president and general manager. Included are photos of Coe with Gloria Swanson and Bing Crosby.
Audio recordings associated with Coe, housed in the library's audio holdings, include an interview highlighting his career, as well as a number of broadcasts with which he was associated.
Of related interest is the book written by his wife, Michelle Coe. Entitled How to Write for Television, a copy of this book is in the library's reference library.