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Barton L. Griffith papers

 Collection 0130-MMC-NPBA
Barton L. Griffith began his broadcasting career working for stations WIBW, KTOP, and WREN at Topeka, Kansas as an announcer, sales representative and promotion director from 1947 to 1950. Five years later, he joined National Educational Television as the Director of Distribution and Station Relations. His professional career also included consulting work with various organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Finally, Griffith actively participated on many educational councils and organizations. Particularly, he chaired the Speech Association of America's Radio-TV-Film Interest Group, belonged to the National Association of Educational Broadcaster's Board of Directors (1962-1966) and to the International Television Association's Executive Council (1982-1990) His main interests throughout his career have been involvement in innovative higher education programs utilizing telecommunications and the improvement of teaching and learning through radio, film and instructional television. The collection contains monographs and correspondence regarding instructional television and educational television technologies.


  • 1954-1988 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1961-1988

Use and Access to Collection

This 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.


2.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Barton L. Griffith papers document the development of telecommunication systems for educational purposes and educational television isntruction. The papers cover the years 1954 to 1988 and include correspondence, monographs, reports and presentations.


Barton L. Griffith was born May 8, 1926 in Topeka Kansas. During and after World War II (1944-1947) he served in the U.S. Army as a Special Investigator of the Counter-Intelligence Corps. From 1947 to 1950 he worked at three Topeka radio stations: WIBW, KTOP and WREN as announcer, sales representative and promotion director respectively. In 1950 he completed the work for his BA in political science at Washburn University in Topeka; the following year he earned his MA in speech/radio-TV-film at the University of Iowa.

In 1951 Griffith was recalled by the U.S. Army and served for two years during the Korean War, this time as Psychological Warfare Officer. In this capacity he helped reestablish the Army PsyWar School in Fort Bragg NC, and spent some time on detached duty at the Office of the Chief, Pentagon. Upon his return to civilian life in 1953 he began studying for his Ph.D in speech/radio-TV-film at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While there he joined the Educational Television and Radio Center as their first full-time Director of Distribution and Station Relations. In 1957, Griffith left Ann Arbor to join the faculty of the University of Missouri at Columbia as Professor of Communication, a post he held until 1991 when he was named Professor Emeritus. He was granted his Ph.D from the University of Michigan in 1959.

At the University of Missouri-Columbia Dr. Griffith was Head of the Speech/Radio-TV-Film Area and taught most of the courses in that curriculum. In 1958 he launched the Office of Instructional Television and under his directorship it grew into an operation serving over 150 courses in 31 departments throughout the Columbia campus. In 1969 Dr. Griffith became a Coordinator in the Office of Instructional Design. This office had been established for the purpose of assisting faculty in the development of systematic learning packages for students, including the implementation of telecommunications projects.

Throughout his career in broadcasting, Dr. Griffith's stated objectives have been 1) involvement in innovative higher education programs utilizing telecommunications and 2) improvement of teaching and learning through radio, film and instructional television. His professional activities and commitments have reflected these goals. Among numerous other involvements, he was on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) from 1962 to 1966; a member of the FCC executive committee on Instructional Television Fixed Service (2500 mhz); and on the Board of Trustees of the International Television Association Educational Research Foundation, 1982-1990. He served as a consultant to many public institutions throughout the world, especially at colleges and universities, where he helped establish educational television workshops. For the NAEB he chaired at the National Instructional Broadcasting Conferences in 1963, 1965 and 1967. For the Corporation for Public Broadcasting he was facilitator for Public Broadcasting and Education, a 1974 study the Corporation conducted to determine its future role in media applications for education.

Dr. Griffith authored more than 40 published articles for professional journals and wrote several monographs. He co-edited the book Improvement of Teaching by Television (1964) and was co-contributor of the chapter "The Social Importance of Television and Radio" for the anthology Academic Areas of Speech (1967).

Dr. Barton L. Griffith died in 1996.


In keeping with Dr. Griffith's stated objectives, the Barton L. Griffith Papers has been divided into two series.
Series 1
Educational Television Technologies
Series 2
Educational Television Instruction

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Barton L. Griffith papers were donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by Barton L. Griffith in July of 1991.
Guide to the Barton L. Griffith papers
Processed by Michael J. Lewis
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