I spent the greatest afternoon at the University of Maryland’s Radio Broadcast Archives today! Michael Henry, Research Specialist in the Mass Media and Culture Collection gave us a tour of the broadcast library and special collections, and provided an incredible amount of information on the history, formats, and stars of old time radio. Above are a few photos I snapped during the tour - and Mr. Henry was so kind to pull out some Jack Benny outtake stills of a photo shoot from Radio Times. I’ve worked with digitizing video/audio collections in the past, but had never seen anything as extensive as UMD’s holdings: they had thousands of photographs, books, radio scripts, and audio recordings in every media imaginable (and some even unimaginable- wire recordings, for example). In addition to radio, their collection contains such a huge wealth of material on television, the history of humor, magazine serials, memorabilia, biographies, etc. etc. Their catalogue is available to view online, and if anyone interested in broadcast history is near the Maryland/DC area — I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation to visit these archives. A big thank you again to UMD, if you’re not already following them on Tumblr, make sure to do so!
(Also: If you’re wondering about the Mae West photo and her ban from the radio waves… see the next post!)