Edward R. Murrow Papers, 1890 -- 1992


Title: Edward R. Murrow Papers
Dates: 1890 -- 1992
Bulk Dates: 1927 -- 1965
Creator: Murrow, Edward R.
Call Number: MS025
Size: 172.65 Cubic Feet, 1 Artifact(s), 41 Audiovisual Object(s), 927 Digital Object(s)
Language(s): English  
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10427/14597
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


This collection consists of correspondence, personal materials, work files, scripts, diaries, photographs, audiovisual materials, memorabilia, awards, books, clippings, and tributes to Murrow upon his death. Audiovisual materials include phonograph records, and film and audiotape reels of various formats. The bulk of the material dates from 1927 to 1965 and primarily documents the professional life of Edward R. Murrow. Through these materials one can trace major developments in the history of US news broadcasting, and Murrow's work for the Institute of International Education, CBS Europe and CBS USA as well as the United States Information Agency.

Correspondence comprises the bulk of Murrow's papers and includes the entire period of his career from 1930 to 1965. Please note that there is little correspondence for the period when he was Director of the United States Information Agency. Correspondence relates to historical and current issues; deal with key points and broadcasts in his career; cover problems of reporting and public diplomacy, radio and television - their role, their failures, their triumphs; reveal reactions to his work from viewers, celebrities, students, and how he handled criticism of his reporting and his view of his job; general interest items, including anecdotes, humorous letters, exchanges with close friends and well-known personalities; show something about the man, his non-involvement in politics, his concern over lack of public knowledge and interest in world affairs, his despair with television for not taking a stronger lead in educating people. Included are requests for appointments and invitations to speak, requests from charities and from friends for help in finding jobs and asking for personal advice, as well as inquiries pertaining to his programs and special events over the years.

Series 2 is devoted to personal matters - biographical material, family, college, chronological correspondence, awards, publicity, and Murrow's death. Murrow's professional employment, documented in Series 3, covers periods with the Institute of International Education, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., and the United States Information Agency. Subseries of each organization contain its own correspondence, reports, and related activities. In addition, the CBS subseries covers administration, program and business operations, correspondents, nine regularly scheduled programs as well as special programs, scripts and sponsors. This series records the history of radio and television broadcasting and as such has tremendous research value.

The collection reveals not only Murrow's demanding radio and television schedule but his extensive extra-curricular involvement with foundations, organizations and clubs; his production of albums, writings for publication, speeches; engagements accepted and engagements declined; and travels.

In addition to the papers, there are approximately 1,600 books shelved in the Murrow Memorial Room at the Fletcher School, along with Murrow memorabilia, mostly in facsimile. The oak table used by the Murrows in their London apartment during World War II, and two large black leather chairs and rug from their Pawling, New York home, can be found in the Murrow Memorial Room.

Tapes, films and phonograph records are stored in the Tufts Digital Collections and Archives at Tisch Library, to be used there by permission of the Murrow Center. CBS News is the donor of "File and Reference" prints of the two McCarthy 16mm films (March 9 and April 6, 1954) and the Murrow obituary film, "An Hour with Ed Murrow," and has agreed to donate additional Murrow films.


This collection is organized into eight series. Series I consists of Correspondence, arranged by topic and then primarily chronological. Series II consists of Personal materials, including Murrow's family, his education, awards, publicity, personal correspondence, and papers related to his death. Series III consists of papers related to Murrow's professional life at the Institute of International Education, CBS, and USIA. Series IV contains Murrow's involvement in projects including his albums, publications, scripts, speeches, and in various clubs and organizations. Series V contains audio-visual materials from some of Murrow's radio broadcasts and television programs. Series VI consists of Murrow's memorabilia, including diaries, furnishings, honorary degrees and citations, and personal items. Series VII consists of the over 1,600 publications contained in Murrow's library, located in The Murrow Room. Series VIII contains audio-visual tributes to Edward R. Murrow. Series IX contains administrative files, reference requests and letters.


Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) was a prominent CBS broadcaster during the formative years of American radio and television news programs. Stationed in London for CBS Radio from 1937 to 1946, Murrow assembled a group of erudite correspondents who came to be known as the "Murrow Boys" and included one woman, Mary Marvin Breckinridge. Murrow's and their broadcasts from London, Europe, Africa, and Asia before and during World War II set the standard for US foreign news broadcasting. They also helped shape the public's view of a war that Americans were at first reluctant to be drawn into.

Returning to the US in 1946, Murrow became one of the most renowned radio and television news broadcasters of his time. Particularly famous were his programs Hear It Now, This I Believe, Person to Person, See It Now, and Years of Crisis. Of particular note are his 1954 broadcast about Senator Joseph McCarthy's persecution of presumed Communists and his 1960 Harvest of Shame documentary depicting the plight of migrant farm workers in the US. From 1961 to January 1964 he served as the Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA). Murrow died of cancer on April 27, 1965.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list. This collection may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Quotations and permission to publish requests must be approved by the Murrow estate.

Collection History

Processing Notes

The collection was originally processed by Anne Sperber and Ginn Library staff at Fletcher in the 1970s. No processing documentation has survived.

Five 7" audio reels donated by Casey Murrow in 2011 (accession 2011.090) in containers labeled "Small World Severide," were found to be blank during digitization by George Blood, L.P. DCA staff double-checked the reels and confirmed that they were blank. The reels were confidentially destroyed.

On January 4, 2016 MS025. Scripts was found to be not in the box by Rose Oliveira. Previous and subsequent boxes (Box 105 and 107) were checked but the folder was not found. Additional notes in collection documentation folder.

As part of a survey review in 2016, four boxes (MS025-003-MS025-006) of empty audio reel boxes for "This I Believe" were found in the green barcodes. This note was found in CIDER: "This item was found uncatalogued in the stacks. Tape boxes are kept as they have symbols we currently cannot identify, fall 2009." The tape boxes include the following numbers written on the exterior of the boxes: XTV16106, XTV16109-12, XTV16114-19, XTV16155, XTV161159, XTV17168-70, XTV17176, XTV18158, XTV18160, XTV18165, XTV18167, XTV18282, XTV18549, XTV1116097 XTV18560, XT18564, XTV19560, XTV19563-66, XTV19570, XTV19571, XTV20071- XTV20073, XTV20083, XTV20460, XTV20462, XTV20761- XTV20762, XTV20765, XTV21312-13, XTV21522, XTV21525, XTV21529. No associated audio reels were found and none appear to be in the collection. These empty boxes were removed from the collection and permanently destroyed. Rose Oliveira, March 28, 2016.

This collection is partially processed.

Custodial History

On December 24, 1969, Mrs. Janet H. B. Murrow, widow of Edward R. Murrow, by grant of gift, transferred title to the books, papers, scripts, tapes, films, and memorabilia deposited with the Murrow Center, to The Edward R. Murrow Center of Public Diplomacy of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. These materials were Mr. Murrow's library and the file records of his professional career with some personal materials included.

This gift was accepted by the Murrow Center, subject to the following conditions: "It is my understanding that the Murrow Center will keep the aforementioned materials in the Murrow Center Library, will catalog them in the manner which will make them of maximum benefit in achieving the Center's objectives and will make them available - under appropriate regulations and in the Center's premises or library - to interested students. My son, Charles C. Murrow, and I wish to make sure that quotations and other uses of such materials in published works will reflect properly upon Mr. Murrow's memory and conform to the spirit in which this gift is being made. Therefore, during my life and during the life of my son, you shall not grant any publication rights in any of such materials (other than the right to quote short excerpts therefrom in scholarly works), unless such grant is approved by me, or if I am not living, by my son.

This gift is made subject to all rights, including common law and statutory copyright, which others may have in any of the aforementioned materials. It is also made subject to a certain agreement made as of March 16, 1966, between CBS News, a division of Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., and the Estate of Edward R. Murrow whereby CBS News retained exclusive broadcasting rights in certain of the aforementioned materials."

December 24, 1969 (Signed) Janet H. B. Murrow December 31, 1969 (Agreed to) Tufts University, C. Russell de Burlo, Jr.

Other donations were integrated into the collection while the materials were still at the Fletcher School; some donors are unknown. Known donors include Mary Marvin Breckinridge, Joseph E. Persico, and Edward Bliss.

This collection is open, but the Murrow estate, CBS, and other entities hold the copyright. For permissions, please contact the copyright holder.

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • Edward R. Murrow
  • Radio journalists -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Television journalists -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Media and broadcast history

Series Description

  1. Correspondence, 1930 -- 1965

    This series is divided into seven parts.

    001: General The general correspondence includes correspondence with admirers, personal friends, business associates, and prominent individuals such as Eleanor Roosevelt.

    002: Applicants Correspondence with applicants include papers from individuals applying for employment with Murrow at CBS.

    003: Books Correspondence relating to books contains files about books sent by publishers and authors to Murrow.

    004: Engagements Accepted Correspondence regarding engagements accepted relates to speeches given by Murrow.

    005: Engagements Declined There are also files relating to engagements declined by Murrow.

    006: Special Events Some correspondence relates to special events and is arranged chronologically.

    007: Special People Some correspondence relates to special people and is arranged alphabetically.

    1. 1.1. General correspondence, 1945 -- 1965

      The general correspondence includes correspondence with admirers, personal friends, business associates, and prominent individuals such as Eleanor Roosevelt. __The general correspondence files, 1945-1965, are arranged chronologically by year(s) groupings and then alphabetically by last or corporate name within each grouping. The incoming letters and outgoing replies for any particular individual or corporate name are arranged in reverse chronological order, with the most recent item appearing first.

      The general correspondence includes both important and unimportant correspondence with admirers, personal friends, business associates, and individuals of recognized importance such as Eleanor Roosevelt and U. Nu. There is correspondence asking Murrow to endorse various products. He likewise received many invitations to speak, sign petitions, attend meetings, and join organizations or boards. Murrrow received many program suggestions, many of which are accompanied by supporting documentation.

      Murrow's correspondence, 1961-63, as director of the United States Information Agency is maintained by the National Archives in Record Group 306. Some personal correspondence for this period is filed in Series 003.003.

      There is little correspondence for 1964-65, when Murrow was ill. Those letters that were answered were handled by Mrs. Murrow.

    2. 1.2. Applicants, 1947 -- 1960

      These five folders contain correspondence and related papers from individuals applying for employment with Murrow, while he was employed at CBS. The files are arranged chronologically by year(s) groupings and then alphabetically by last or corporate name within each grouping.

    3. 1.3. Books, 1948 -- 1960

      These three folders contain correspondence relating to books which were sent to Murrow by various publishers and authors. The files are arranged chronologically by year(s) groupings then alphabetically by last or corporate name within each grouping. There is no book correspondence for 1954 and 1955.

    4. 1.4. Engagements accepted, 1941 -- 1963

      These ten folders of correspondence and scripts relate to speeches given by Murrow, occasions when he was an honored guest, and recorded spot announcements. The correspondence and scripts are arranged in chronological order by date of delivery. At the beginning of each folder (frame number) there is a list of the contents of the folder which indicates which speeches have scripts. There are no files for 1942-45, or 1961.

    5. 1.5. Engagements declined, 1951 -- 1961

      These nine folders of correspondence relating to the declined invitations to speak or lecture are arranged chronologically by year(s) groupings and then alphabetically by last or corporate name within each grouping. There is no correspondence for 1956-1958. The bulk of the correspondence is for 1960.

    6. 1.6. Special events, 1947 -- 1960

      These four subject folders contain chronologically-arranged correspondence and printed matter. Number 159, "Presidential Convention Coverage, 1960," contains fan mail; some if it critical of Murrow's coverage of the convention.

    7. 1.7. Special people, 1930 -- 1965

      This correspondence of 52 important individuals was probably taken from general correspondence (001.001) and grouped here alphabetically by last name, with correspondence, clipping, scripts and printed matter for each individual arranged in reverse chronological order. Included is correspondence from presidents, scientists, authors and others of importance with whom Murrow corresponded. Number 213 contains Xerox copies of important autograph letters which were taken from the collection and placed in the Edwin Ginn Library vault. A Xerox copy of each letter was also placed in its original file. Number 214 contains a small grouping of sensitive correspondence Murrow had with such personages as Theodore H. White, Louis Nizer, Vincent Sheean, J.G. Gude, Chet Huntley, and others.

  2. Personal, 1930 -- 1968

    This series contains personal files on Murrow's biography and family life, personal correspondence from friends, professional associates, and fans, and personal publicity files with clippings and photographs of Murrow. Condolences and tributes received by Mrs. Murrow after Murrow's death are also included. Edward R. Murrow's personal files include a small amount of biographical data (215), data on members of the Murrow family (216-222), and information on Murrow's association with Washington State College, 1927-65 (223).

    Of significance in this series is Murrow's personal correspondence, 1940-68, which is arranged in reverse chronological order. The correspondence concerns acknowledgements for gifts, letters from friends and professional associates, bills and receipts, fan mail from important people, correspondence regarding lawsuits, and correspondence regarding CBS. There is also correspondence, 1947-68, regarding awards and honors received by Murrow.

    This series contains Murrow's personal publicity files, 1947-61, which include CBS press information, clippings about Murrow, and numerous photographs of Murrow.

    Added to this series are the numerous tributes and condolences received by Mrs. Murrow in 1965.

  3. Professional employment, 1934 -- 1973

    This series contains Edward R. Murrow's professional files from the institutions at which he was employed between 1934 and 65. The series is divided into three subseries:

    001: Institute for International Education 002: Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 003: United States Information Agency

    1. 3.1. Institute of International Education, 1946 -- 1964

      Murrow served the Institute in a number of capacities, but most notably as a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees. This section includes his correspondence, filed in reverse chronological order, with the Institute staff members.

    2. 3.2. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 1934 -- 1973

      This subseries consists of Murrow's professional life at CBS. The subseries is further segmented into 23 sections and consists of correspondence with CBS colleagues, CBS administrative memos and reports, fan mail, program scripts, background research, and publicity. Of particular interest in this series are the McCarthy files accumulated by CBS around the time of Murrow's "See It Now" episode on McCarthy (March 9, 1954).

    3. 3.3. United States Information Agency, 1953 -- 1968

      Murrow's files as director of the United States Information Agency are housed in the National Archives, Washington, D.C. The small amount of material contained here represents copies of Murrow's statement before the Senate confirmation hearing, copies of his reports and speeches, and his personal correspondence as director.

  4. Activities, 1941 -- 1969

    This series contains files related to Murrow's professional activities. The series is further subdivided into the following subseries: albums, organizations, publications, scripts and speeches.

    1. 4.1. Albums, 1948 -- 1959

      Incomplete files for five of Murrow's Albums constitute this part. Those files for "I Can Hear It Now" and "Sir Winston Churchill" are the most complete and contain correspondence, memoranda, financial records, newsclippings and promotional material.

    2. 4.2. Organizations, 1941 -- 1967

      This part contains the files for 35 organizations with which Murrow was associated, either as a participant, member, or as an officer or member of the board of directors. The organizations are arranged in alphabetical order by title, with material in each file arranged in reverse chronological order. The types and quantity of material for each organization varies, but usually correspondence, memoranda, newsclippings, press releases, minutes, speeches, and printed matter are available. A listing of the organizations, with inclusive dates of the correspondence for each, is provided.

    3. 4.3. Publications, 1941 -- 1969

      These seven files relate to books, articles, and a foreword written by Edward R. Murrow, and include correspondence, newsclippings, book review clippings, promotional material and photographs, and in some cases the typescript of the articles and foreword. Number 556 contains a number of articles written by Murrow, 1948-1959.

    4. 4.4. Scripts, 1947 -- 1960

      These three small files contain scripts sent to Murrow and some miscellaneous scripts by Murrow and other newscasters. There is also a pilot for a Murrow television show.

    5. 4.5. Speeches, 1941 -- 1963

      The speech files usually contain one or more drafts of a speech, the finished speech, and correspondence and clippings relating to the speech. Of particular note are Murrow's 1959 Granada Lecture, his speeches for the United States Information Agency, and a compilation (number 566) of his noteworthy speeches, 1941-61.

  5. Audiotapes and other media, 1939 -- 1974

    This series consists of Murrow's audio-visual records. The series is arranged by topic/media type into 13 subseries. The bulk of this material consists of audiotape reels (10" and 7" reels), with some film reels, video, and phonograph records.

    1. 5.1. Phonograph Records, 1939 -- 1961

      This section contains 26 phonograph records, the majority of which Murrow was involved in. Highlights of this series include Murrow's "I Can Hear It Now," "Edward R. Murrow, A Reporter Remembers," and a 1949 Murrow audition.

    2. 5.2. An Hour with Ed Murrow, 20 Years of Broadcast Journalism (Film), 1953 -- 1974

      Televised 4/30/1965 on CBS as a tribute to Murrow after his death, this hour long program "An Hour with Ed Murrow," which included some of ERM's most memorable broadcasts.

    3. 5.3. Film Reels

      This subseries consists of 3 16mm films, two of which are unidentified.

    4. 5.4. This I Believe (10" Audiotape Reels), 1951 -- 1954

      This subseries consists of 127 10" audiotape reels of the program "This I Believe," organized chronologically by the original identification number (XTV).

    5. 5.5. 10" Audiotape Reels, 1939 -- 1961

      This subseries consists of 14 10" audiotape reels of Murrow's reports during his CBS years.

    6. 5.6. 5" Audiotape Reels

      This small subseries consists of 2 5" audiotape reels of Murrow's broadcasts.

    7. 5.7. 7" Audiotape Reels, 1948 -- 1960

      This subseries consists of 34 7" audiotape reels of Murrow's broadcasts. Some overlap exists between this subseries and the 10" audiotape reel subseries 005.

    8. 5.8. An Hour with Ed Murrow, Twenty Years of Broadcast Journalism - CBS Reports (7" Audiotape Reels), 1965

      This subseries consists of a selection of the audio clips for the tribute film "An Hour with Ed Murrow, Twenty Years of Broadcast Journalism."

    9. 5.9. Voice of America (7" Audiotape Reels), 1961 -- 1963

      This subseries consists of 9 7" audiotape reels of Murrow's speeches during his time at the United States Information Agency.

    10. 5.10. I Can Hear It Now (7" Audiotape Reels), 1952 -- 1956

      This small subseries consists of 2 7" audiotape reels for Murrow's record "I Can Hear It Now." The phonograph records are located in the first subseries MS025/005.001.

    11. 5.11. News Reports, World War II (7" Audiotape Reels), 1939 -- 1961

      This subseries consists of 18 (7") audiotape reels of Murrow's war reports during World War II, from 1939-45.

    12. 5.12. See It Now (Umatic Video Tape), 1954

      This subseries consists of one umatic video tape of the March and April 1954 Murrow-McCarthy "See It Now" episodes.

    13. 5.13. Audio Visual Papers, 1939 -- 1965

      This subseries consists of 3 papers related to the audio visual materials in the Edward R. Murrow Collection.

  6. Memorabilia, 1906 -- 1967

    This series contain the awards, certificates, diplomas, gifts, academic hoods, and honorary degrees given to Edward R. Murrow during his career in journalism and broadcasting.

    1. 6.1. Memorabilia (Murrow Room), 1942 -- 1967

      This subseries consists of the memorabilia displayed in the Murrow Room at Fletcher. Memorabilia held there includes awards, certificates, diplomas, gifts, academic hoods, and honorary degrees given to Edward R. Murrow during his career in journalism and broadcasting.

      The academic hoods, item numbers 00108-00120, were removed from this series in February 2008 and moved to subseries MS025/006.003 (Awards - Honorary Degrees and Honorary Titles).

    2. 6.2. Albums, 1941 -- 1950

      This subseries consists of scrapbooks (primarily composed of news clippings) related to Murrow's professional career.

    3. 6.3. Awards - Honorary Degrees and Honorary Titles, 1930 -- 1967

      This subseries consists of awards, certificates, diplomas, gifts, academic hoods, and honorary degrees given to Edward R. Murrow during his career in journalism and broadcasting.

    4. 6.4. Personal Items, 1906 -- 1965

      This subseries consists of address books, passports, registration certificates and permits, notebooks, pictures, photographs and other personal items owned by Edward R. Murrow.

    5. 6.5. Diaries, 1949 -- 1959

      This subseries consists of professional diaries from Murrow's years at CBS.

    6. 6.6. Scripts, 1938 -- 1961

      This subseries consists of selected, bound scripts from Edward R. Murrow's programs. See note on 'Selected Scripts.'

    7. 6.7. McCarthy Files, 1934 -- 1962

      This subseries consists of correspondence and publications related to Murrow's "See It Now" episodes on Senator Joseph McCarthy

    8. 6.8. Publications, 1935 -- 1964

      This subseries consists of those publications owned by Edward R. Murrow, but not included in the Murrow Library series (MS025/007).

    9. 6.9. Photostats, 1953 -- 1954

      This subseries consists of photostats primarily for "See It Now" episodes airing between December 1953 and March 1954.

  7. Books, 1890 -- 1974

    This series consists of the 1,687 monographs held in bookcases in the Murrow Room at Fletcher.

  8. About Edward R. Murrow, 1965 -- 1992

    This series consists of audio-visual materials about Edward R. Murrow. These materials are a supplement to the main collection.

    1. 8.1. Tribute Tapes (7" Audio Reels), 1965 -- 1970

      This subseries consists 14 7" audiotape reels that contain tributes to Edward R. Murrow.

    2. 8.2. Films, 1975

      This subseries consists of 4 films, 2 from CBS and 2 from the BBC, which pay tribute to Edward R. Murrow.

    3. 8.3. Audiocassette, 1965 -- 1992

      This subseries consists of one audiocassette featuring selections of Edward R. Murrow's broadcasts.

    4. 8.4. Umatic Video Tapes and Movie Poster

      This subseries consists of 2 umatic video tapes of the HBO biographical film "Murrow" as well as one movie poster.

  9. Administrative files. Edward R. Murrow Collection

    This series is unprocessed and may be deaccessioned

  10. Awards, 1938 -- 1972
  11. Unprocessed accessions

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