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Margaret Chisholm Papers

 Collection 0145-MMC-NPBA

Margaret E. Chisholm (1921-1999) was a librarian and educator who became involved in educational television with a televised course she taught on children's literature at the University of Oregon. In 1967, she accepted an offer to direct the media program of the Seattle school system and the area libraries. This job put her on the executive board of public television station KCTS.

Later, while serving on the Public Broadcasting Service's Board of Directors, Chisholm participated in creating a new organization to represent public television station managers' interests and deal with lobbying and planning efforts of public television while PBS concentrated on programming. Chisholm served several terms on the board of the new entity, the Association for Public Broadcasting (APB), later renamed Association of America's Public Television Stations (APTS).

The collection documents Chisholm's involvement with PBS and APTS.


  • 1979 - 1991
  • Majority of material found within 1987-1989

Use and Access to Collection

This 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.


3.00 Linear Feet


Margaret Chisholm grew up in a small town in Minnesota. She attended St. Cloud State College because of her interest in teaching and the fact that at St. Cloud she could receive a teacher's certificate in only two years. After teaching school for several years, her husband's job transfer took her to Everett, Washington. She continued to teach there and work toward her bachelors degree in education, which she received in 1957.

The next year she was awarded her Masters degree in library science from the University of Washington. She then began working toward a Ph.D. in administration of higher education. Her first library job was as supervisor of elementary school libraries in the Everett community. That job eventually led her to a position as librarian at the Everett Community College.

The University of Oregon heard of her work and hired her to teach summer school courses. Eventually she was offered and accepted a full time faculty position there. Her first involvement with educational broadcasting was when she was asked to teach a televised course in children's literature. The positive reviews her course received made Dr. Chisholm aware of the power and utility of public educational broadcasting. It was also during this time that she completed her dissertation and earned her Ph.D.

In 1967, she accepted an offer to head up the media program of the Seattle school system as well as the area libraries. During this time she came into contact with the Washington University television station KCTS as her job put her on KCTS' executive board representing the Seattle school system. As of 1990, Chisholm was still a member of the KCTS/Channel 9 Board.

For a time, Dr. Chisholm was dean of the College of Library and Information Services at the University of Maryland. She then moved back to Washington State and became Vice President of University Relations at the University of Washington. As it happened, KCTS's license was owned by the University and Dr. Chisholm's position as Vice President also made her the chairman of the station. During Dr. Chisholm's tenure KCTS expanded from a primarily university station to a community/public broadcasting station.

During this time, Dr. Chisholm became active in public broadcasting efforts nationally. Through contact with Ralph Rogers she was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Public Broadcasting Service. While serving on the PBS Board, Dr. Chisholm was involved in PBS's decision to create a new organization to represent public television station managers' interests and to deal with lobbying and planning efforts of public TV while PBS concentrated on programming. Dr. Chisholm was a member of several organizing committees that led to the creation of the new entity, the Association for Public Broadcasting. She served on its interim board of trustees and participated in the search for its first chief executive. From 1979 to 1983, she served as the vice president of the National Association of Public Television Stations (NAPTS) executive committee. Dr. Chisholm served several terms on the APB Board and today remains a trustee at large with the organization renamed Association of America's Public Television Stations (APTS) (see below).

Dr. Chisholm later left the job of Vice President of University Relations at the University of Washington to become the dean of its graduate school of library science. She retired in 1992.

Dr. Chisholm's other public involvements include serving on the Seattle/King County Convention and Visitor's Bureau Board from 1975 to 1981, the board of directors of the United Way of King County from 1976 to 1980, the commissioner of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education from 1981 to 1985, and on the national White House Conference on Library and Information Services Committee to plan the Conference in 1989. Dr. Chisholm has also published on issues in media management.

Dr. Margaret Chisholm died in 1999.


The Association for Public Broadcasting (APB) was created by public television station managers in 1979 to better represent their interests in Washington before Congress, the FCC, and other federal agencies. Congress also wanted a separate organization to deal with funding and lobbying apart from PBS, which handled programming. The offices opened in January 1980, and in May 1980, adopted the trade name National Association of Public Television Stations (NAPTS) to emphasize the relationship with the stations.

The APB was a 501©(3) corporation which meant for tax purposes that it had limited lobbying ability without jeopardizing its tax exempt status. In May 1980 with a need to increase lobbying, a new corporate entity was created that would be a 501©(4) corporation which allowed greater lobbying efforts. Since "APB" was already taken, the corporation used the trade name "NAPTS."

The NAPTS was perceived within the organization as merely a lobbying arm of the APB and hence not in need of public awareness. All employees were considered employees of the APB and all operations and contracts were undertaken by the APB. Despite this, "APB" and "NAPTS" were used interchangeably, which resulted in much confusion and inaccuracy and drew attention away from the purpose of the organization in the first place.

Eventually in 1991, the APB and NAPTS formally changed their identity. The APB became the Association of America's Public Television Stations (APTS), and the NAPTS became America's Association of Public Television, Inc. (APTV). It is the former acronym that is encouraged today. The name change also was a better representation of the company's interests--America's public television stations, as opposed to a "national" organization.


The collection consists of four series.

  1. Series 1: Public Broadcasting Service and Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  2. Series 2: Association for Public Broadcasting
  3. Series 3: National Association of Public Television Stations and APTS
  4. Series 4: Chronological Files

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Margaret Chisholm papers were donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, University of Maryland Libraries by Margaret Chisholm in September of 1994.

Guide to the Margaret Chisholm papers
Processed by Greg Pike, April 1996
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2007-04-15: EAD markup checked and verified using JEdit software by Karen E. King, April 2007.
  • 2007-06-26: EAD revised by Karen E. King, June 2007
  • 2018-12-17: Finding aid reviewed and minor edits made by Duncan Griffin.
  • 2021-08-20: Jim Baxter re-wrote the collection abstract.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

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