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Thad Holt papers

 Collection 0031-MMC-LAB
Thad Holt's broadcasting career centered in Alabama and in the fields of educational television, cable television and satellite broadcasting. Notable achievements include starting WAPI, the first radio station in Alabama and becoming an early proponent of using satellites for transmission of educational programs. The collection documents Thad Holt's career in Alabama broadcasting from 1930 to 1980 and includes business records, business and personal correspondence, financial records and other documents.


  • 1930-1980
  • Majority of material found within 1930-1970

Use and Access to Collection

The collection is open for research use.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials page for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


10.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Thad Holt papers span from 1930 to 1980, and includes business records, business and personal correspondence, financial records and other documents relating to Mr. Holt's involvement with WAPI, WAPI-FM, the TeleVision Corporation, educational television, Alabama Educational Television, community antenna television, and materials concerning satellite and video communications that span the years from approximately 1936 to 1982.


Thad Holt spent a lifetime in the field of broadcasting. Early in his career Holt started WAPI, the first radio station in Alabama. With the advent of FM radio, he expanded his operations to include FM broadcasts -- the first in Alabama to do so. The arrival of television in the late forties led Holt to develop his broadcasting activities.

He became a leader in educational television, and later fought for the rights of cable companies to establish operations in the area. Holt quickly perceived the application of satellites for long distance communication -- non-military as well as military -- and became an early proponent of using satellites for transmission of educational programs.

Holt's lifetime accomplishments, his connections with important figures of the early 20th century--such as Harry Hopkins--and others in the field of broadcasting--particularly Edward R. Murrow--forms an important chapter in American broadcasting.


The collection is organized into four series.
  1. Series 1: WAPI Radio Materials
  2. Series 2: Radio and Television
  3. Series 3: Educational Television
  4. Series 4: Holt Biographical Material

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Samuel C.O. Holt, son of Thad Holt, donated the Thad Holt papers to the Library of American Broadcasting in April and June of 1996.

Related Material

The papers of Holt's son Samuel C. O. Holt are also located in the National Public Broadcasting Archives.

Separated Material

Books, Pamphlets, Brochures, and Reports separated from Series 4: Holt Biographical Materials
  1. Report: "An Analysis of Senator John W. Bricker's Reporter Entitled: 'The Network Monopoly'." (1956)
  2. Report: "Before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the United States Senate." (1956)
  3. Columbia Broadcasting System, eds. Crisis: A Report from the Columbia Broadcasting System, New York: Columbia Broadcasting, Inc., 1940
  4. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., eds. CBS News on D-Day, New York: Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 1945
  5. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., eds.The Sound of Your Life, New York: Columbia Broadcasting, Inc., 1950
  6. Fortune, J. Douglas,Amateur Radio: A Beginners Guide, Chicago: Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Co., 1940
  7. National Broadcasting Company, eds.The Fourth Crime, New York: National Broadcasting Company, 1944
  8. State Department of Education, eds. Handbook for Teachers, Inschool Television Course Catalog, 1975-1976, Montgomery, Alabama: Alabama State Department of Education, 1975
  9. Washington State University. The First Amendment and Broadcasting Press Freedoms and Broadcast Journalism, Washington State University: The Edward R. Murrow Symposium, 1978
  10. Winfield, Betty Houchin & Louis B. DeFleurThe Edward R. Murrow Heritage, Challenge for the Future, Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1986

Processing Information

Documents were placed in acid-free folders which were then put into acid-free boxes. Some newsclippings in bad shape were copied onto acid-free paper.
Guide to the Thad Holt papers
Processed by Jonathan Powell, October 1996.
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.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

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