Columbia University Archives

Seminar: American Civilization on the American Broadcasting Network records, 1952-1953

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0192
Bib ID 9698514 View CLIO record
Creator(s) American Broadcasting Network. Public Affairs Department
Title Seminar: American Civilization on the American Broadcasting Network records, 1952-1953
Physical Description .42 linear feet (1 document box)
Language(s) Material is in English.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection is arranged in two series of scripts in order to easily distinguish between the first and second part of the semester.



Thirty-three transcripts from the network broadcast of Seminar in 1952-1953.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the American Broadcasting Company. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Seminar: American Civilization on the American Broadcasting Network records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.


No additions are expected

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Pamela Peterson. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--2011.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Susan Hamson 2012.

Finding aid written Susan Hamson 2012.

Revision Description

2012-09-26 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
American Broadcasting Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bigelow, Donald N (Donald Nevius) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

In 1952, the Communications Materials Center of Columbia University Press and the American Broadcasting Network collaborated on a public service series that was one of 300 television classes offered to the general public. Franklin Dunham, Chief of Radio of the U.S. Department of Education, spearheaded the effort which included 80 colleges and universities, and 30 public and parochial schools throughout the United State of America. Seminar was patterned on the American Civilization course which studied the factors contributing to American civilization through the reading of great books. Viewers purchased a syllabus from Columbia University's School of General Studies for twenty-five cents and, over the course of semester, followed Professor Bigelow and his students as they discussed specific topics each week. Over three hundred students wrote for the booklet for the course that ran from October 1952 through May 1953. Though no credit was given to television viewers for the course, participants did have the option of requesting an exam--which would be graded free of charge. Western Reserve College in Cleveland, Ohio estimated that television-taught students scored 20%- 25 % higher than matriculated seminar participants. There are no statistics for the Columbia course.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only Columbia affiliates may view materials on-site. After clicking 'Submit Request', affiliates will login with their UNI and password. Appointments are required and will be arranged according to each individual repository's policy.

Series I: Seminar Programs:, 1952

Box 1 Newspaper and magazine clippings, October 1952

Box 1 Civilization on Trial, Arnold J. Toynbee,, October 4, 1952

Box 1 Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederic Engels,, October 11, 1952

Box 1 Civilization and its Discontents, Sigmund Freud,, October 18, 1952

Box 1 The City of God, St. August ine and Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin,, October 25, 1952

Box 1 Treatise of Civil Government, John Locke,, November 1, 1952

Box 1 Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, November 8, 1952

Box 1 The Bloudy Tenet of Persecution, Roger Williams and The Day of Doom, Michael Wigglesworth,, November 15, 1952

Box 1 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin , November 22, 1952

Box 1 Declaration of Independence and Selections of the Letters of Thomas Jefferson,, November 29, 1952

Box 1 Letters from an American Farmer, Hector St. John de Crevecoeur,, December 6, 1952

Box 1 The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison,, December 13, 1952

Box 1 Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson, December 20, 1952

Box 1 A Disquisition of Government, John C. Calhoun,, December 27, 1952

Series II: Seminar Programs:, 1953

Box 1 Moby Dick, Herman Melville, January 3, 1953

Box 1 Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe,, January 10, 1953

Box 1 Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville,, January 17, 1953

Box 1 Review by Home Viewers, January 24, 1953

Box 1 Review of the First Semester of "American Civilization,", January 31, 1953

Box 1 Democratic Vistas, Walt Whitman, February8, 1953

Box 1 The Gospel of Wealth, Andrew Carnegie, February15, 1953

Box 1 The American, Henry James, February22, 1953

Box 1 What Social Classes Owe to Each Other, William Graham Sumner,, March1, 1953

Box 1 Progress and Poverty, Henry George, March8, 1953

Box 1 Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy, March15, 1953

Box 1 Pragmatism, William James, March22, 1953

Box 1 The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffans , March29, 1953

Box 1 The Education of Henry Adams¸ Henry Adams,, April 12, 1953

Box 1 The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot,, April 19, 1953

Box 1 Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis, April 28, 1953

Box 1 1919, John Dos Passos, May 3, 1953

Box 1 TVA: Democracy on the March, David Lilienthal,, May 10, 1953

Box 1 A Philosophy of Labor, Frank Tannenbaum, May 17, 1953

Box 1 Art and Technics, Lewis Mumford, May 24, 19853