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Edwin G. Cohen papers

 Collection 0078-MMC-NPBA

Edwin G. Cohen (1926-2014) had a distinguished career in educational and instructional television from 1955 to 1990. During those years, his positions included program associate for the Educational Television and Radio Center, director of the National Instructional Television Film Library, and founder and executive director of the Agency for Instructional Television and its successor, Agency for Instructional Technology. The collection documents Cohen's role in the growth of operation of several educational and instructional film and television agencies.


  • 1958-1990, and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1961-1975

Use and Access to Collection

The 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.


80.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Edwin G. Cohen Papers document the growth and operation of several educational and instructional film and television agencies. The collection offers insights to the conception, design, and distribution of educational programs, the implementation of audiovisual and televised instruction in schools, and the development of educational technology. More specifically, the collection contains correspondence, minutes, research reports on instructional technology, and design material for educational programming. The collection spans the years 1958 through 1990 and contains some undated material.


Born in Los Angeles, California, in December 1925, Edwin G. Cohen has had a long and distinguished career in educational television, serving as the director of several major educational and instructional televisionagencies. After graduating from Los Angeles Manual Arts High School in 1943, Cohen enlisted in the Navy and entered the reserve officers training program at Southwestern University and the University of Texas. Upon completing his training, Cohen received his commission and served in Guam, where he worked in the Educational Services Office. After three years of service, Cohen returned to the United States and completed his undergraduate education at the University of Texas, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Naval Science and a bachelor's degree in history.

Returning to Los Angeles, Cohen entered graduate school at UCLA, where he completed his master's degree in 1953. Recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict, Cohen served at the fleet training center in San Diego, California, where he worked as a training aids officer and administrator of an audiovisual program. After working with instructional technology in the military, Cohen pursued a doctoral degree in audiovisual education at the Indiana University School of Education.

In 1955, Cohen was appointed head of the National Educational Television Film Service (NET Film Service), which was located at Indiana University. Three years later, he accepted a position as program associate at Educational Television and Radio Center (ETRC), in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he served as liaison to NBC and the Metropolitan Educational Television Association (META).

When ETRC moved to New York City and became the National Educational Television and Radio Center-and later National Educational Television, or NET- Cohen assumed responsibility for children's programming, science programming, and social sciences programming. In 1962, he became director of the National Instructional Television Library (NITL), a demonstration project funded by the U.S. Office of Education and contractually supported by NET. While at NITL, Cohen was responsible for facilitating the exchange of instructional programs between American schools and universities.

In 1965, NITL relocated to Bloomington, Indiana, and became the National Center for School and College Television (NCSCT). Supported by a loan from the Indiana University Foundation, the agency remained in existence until 1968, when it became self-supporting and changed its name to the National Instructional Television Center (NIT). Cohen served as the agency's executive director, overseeing the conception and design of instructional programming for American and Canadian schools. In 1973, NIT became the Agency for Instructional Television (AIT), which in 1984 changed its name to the Agency for Instructional Technology (AIT). Cohen served as executive director for both organizations until his retirement in 1990.


Organized as six series.

Series 1
National Instructional Television Library Project (NITL)
Series 2
National Center for School and College Television (NCSCT)
Series 3
National Instructional Television Center (NIT)
Series 4
Agency for Instructional Television/Technology (AIT)
Series 5
Publications and Materials from Educational Broadcasting Organizations
Serries 6
Kinescopes - NET - A Time to Dance

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Edwin G. Cohen Papers were donated to the National Public Broadcasting Archives, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries by Edwin G. Cohen in October of 1990 and September of 1996.

Guide to the Edwin G. Cohen papers
Processed by Max Grivno
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.

Revision Statements

  • 2010-09-21: EAD revised by Karen E. King.
  • 2017-11-12: Finding aid reviewed and edited by Rebecca Thayer.
  • 2021-08-13: 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