Julian Goodman Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.0880

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of the personal and corporate papers including photographs, audio visual material, and memorabilia of Julian Goodman who was both President and Chairman of the Board of NBC (the National Broadcasting Company) from 1966 until his retirement in May of 1979. The dates of these papers range from 1941 - 1996, with the majority of the material in the 34 year period that Goodman worked for NBC ( 1945 - 1979).

The collection is comprised of approximately 65 linear feet of material and is arranged in the following series:
  1. Personal and Biographical
  2. Articles/Congressional Testimony/Speeches by Julian Goodman
  3. NBC Corporate Affiliates
  4. NBC Corporate People
  5. NBC Corporate Personal
  6. NBC Corporate Programming
  7. NBC Corporate RCA
  8. NBC Corporate Reports
  9. NBC Corporate Subject Files
  10. NBC Corporate U.S. Government
  11. Gannett Corporation Board
  12. Photographs
  13. Audio Visual Materials
  14. Memorabilia
  15. Oversize
Although there is not a Correspondence Series per se, the bulk of the material in one way or another is heavily weighted with Goodman’s letters, memos, and written comments and notes and with incoming memos, letters, reports, and notes from his colleagues and other associates with whom he conducted the business of this major U.S. broadcasting corporation on a daily basis. Prominent among the correspondents are David Brinkley, Robert Kintner, David Adams, Reuven Frank, Walter D. Scott, and William McAndrews.

Dates

  • 1941 - 1996

Biographical Note:

Personal Life

Julian Goodman was born on May 1st, 1922 in Glasgow, Kentucky to parents Clara Franklin and Charles Austin Goodman, Sr. He was the youngest of three sons. From 1939-1942 Goodman attended Western Kentucky University (then Western State College). His time there was interrupted by a brief career in the army from 1942-1943. Upon return, Goodman began working a government research job in Washington, DC and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics at George Washington University in 1948. Goodman married Betty Davis, also a Kentucky native, in 1946. The couple had four children: Julie, John, Jeffrey, and Greg.

Career

Goodman’s successful journalism career famously began on a three dollar per week salary at The Glasgow Daily Times. Later, Goodman took a government research job for the Combined Production and Resources Board in Washington, DC. While there, Goodman met William McAndrew, the head of NBC News. McAndrew hired Goodman as a news writer for WRC, NBC’s Washington news outlet in 1945. Over the next twenty years Goodman became a key player for NBC, quickly moving up the ranks. In 1956 he hired Chet Huntley and David Brinkley to head the reports for that year’s political conventions. Huntley and Brinkley’s reporting was very successful, and Goodman gave them an evening news program: the Huntley – Brinkley Report. The program became NBC’s flagship evening news program, running from 1956-1970. Goodman considered pairing the two reporters one of the best moments in his career. In 1959, Goodman was named Director of NBC News and Public Affairs. In this position, he produced the “Great Debates” between future Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Goodman then became Vice President of NBC News in 1961 and Senior Executive Vice President of Operations, Executive Vice President, and Senior Vice president all in 1965. In 1966 Goodman was elected President and Chief Administrative Officer of NBC. At age 44, he was NBC’s youngest president and one of the first to come through broadcasting rather than sales, which marked a change in the way the broadcasting world did business. He served as President of NBC from March 1966 – April 1974.

During his tenure as President, Goodman negotiated a million dollar deal to keep Johnny Carson as host of “The Tonight Show.” He was also at the forefront during the famous debacle now known as the “Heidi Bowl” in which East Coast viewers missed an exciting last minute comeback in a rivalry football game when NBC began showing the movie Heidi at its scheduled time. Goodman is also known for his strong support of First Amendment rights. His outspokenness on the issue landed him on President Nixon’s “opponents list” which was published in newspapers in 1973. Goodman is also famously known for never seeking a raise throughout his career and did not describe himself as an ambitious man. In the years of Goodman’s presidency NBC received over 800 broadcasting awards.

From April 1974 – May 1979 Goodman was Chairman of NBC. At the time of his retirement, he was Chairman of NBC’s Executive Committee.

Goodman was the recipient of numerous broadcasting awards. Among these are the “George Foster Peabody award” for outstanding work in the area of First Amendment Rights and privileges for broadcasting (1974), and, perhaps the most prestigious award in broadcasting, the National Association of Broadcaster’s Distinguished Service Award (1976).

Retirement

On May 31st, 1979 Goodman took an early retirement from NBC, but continued to serve the Board of Directors. In the years after his retirement Goodman joined the Board of Directors for Gannett Inc., a media and marketing solutions company; Gulf Oil Corporation; McDonnell Douglas Corporation, and the Larchmont New York Federal Savings and Loan Association, and was active in other civic, business, and journalistic endeavors. He continued his advocacy for First Amendment rights and in 1987 made a statement before the House Committee against the Fairness Doctrine, legislation which he felt would restrict that right. In 1988 Julian and his wife Betty moved from New York to Florida, where they lived together until his death from kidney failure in July, 2012. During a 1998 interview with the Archive of American Television, Goodman was asked how he would like to be remembered. He answered, “As everybody would like to be remembered. Well and favorably. He did a good job. He did the best he could.”

Chronology/Timeline:

  • May 1, 1922 Born in Glasgow, Kentucky
  • 1936-1939 Attends and graduates from Glasgow High School in Glasgow, KY
  • 1939- 1942 Begins an A.B. program at Western State College (now Western Kentucky University)
  • 1942 – 1943 Military service
  • 1943 – 1945 Works for the Combined Production and Resources Board in Washington
  • 1945 -1948 Attends and graduates from George Washington University night school with an A.B. in Economics
  • 1945 – 1948 Begins career at NBC as a news writer for station WRC in Washington
  • 1948 – 1950 Washington editor of NBC’s News of the World
  • 1950 – 1959 Manager of News and Special Events for NBC Radio Network and NBC Washington
  • 1956 Supervises NBC’s central news desk at the year’s political conventions; assigns Chet Huntley and David Brinkley to head the reports
  • 1956 – 1970 the Huntley – Brinkley Report begins and airs
  • 1959 – 1961 Director for NBC News and Public Affairs
  • 1960 Produces the “Great Debates” between John. F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon
  • 1961 – 1965 Vice President of NBC News
  • 1965 – 1966 Senior Executive Vice President of Operations of NBC
  • April 1966 – 1974 President and Chief Administrative Officer of NBC
  • January 1966 Receives a spot with the Board of Directors of NBC
  • March 1968 Calls for freedom from legislation and government regulation that tends to “suppress the progressive forces of broadcasting and limit what it can do for the public.”
  • 1970 Named “Kentuckian of the Year”
  • 1971 Becomes one of the names listed in Nixon’s Enemies List
  • 1972 Elected to the Board of Directors of RCA Corporation on January 1, 1972
  • April 1974 Becomes Chairman of the Board of NBC
  • October 8, 1978 Becomes Chairman of the NBC Executive Committee
  • May 31, 1979 Takes an early retirement from NBC
  • 1980 Joins the Board of Directors of Gannett Inc.
  • July 1981 Gulf Oil Corporation elects Goodman to its Board of Directors
  • 1987 Makes a statement before the House Committee, stating strong disapproval of the Fairness Doctrine.
  • July 2012 Death of Julian Goodman in Florida.
<emph render="bold">May 1, 1922</emph>
Born in Glasgow, Kentucky
<emph render="bold">1936-1939</emph>
Attends and graduates from Glasgow High School in Glasgow, KY
<emph render="bold">1939- 1942</emph>
Begins an A.B. program at Western State College (now Western Kentucky University)
<emph render="bold">1942 – 1943</emph>
Military service
<emph render="bold">1943 – 1945</emph>
Works for the Combined Production and Resources Board in Washington
<emph render="bold">1945 -1948</emph>
Attends and graduates from George Washington University night school with an A.B. in Economics
<emph render="bold">1945 – 1948</emph>
Begins career at NBC as a news writer for station WRC in Washington
<emph render="bold">1948 – 1950</emph>
Washington editor of NBC’s News of the World
<emph render="bold">1950 – 1959</emph>
Manager of News and Special Events for NBC Radio Network and NBC Washington
<emph render="bold">1956</emph>
Supervises NBC’s central news desk at the year’s political conventions; assigns Chet Huntley and David Brinkley to head the reports
<emph render="bold">1956 – 1970</emph>
the Huntley – Brinkley Report begins and airs
<emph render="bold">1959 – 1961</emph>
Director for NBC News and Public Affairs
<emph render="bold">1960</emph>
Produces the “Great Debates” between John. F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon
<emph render="bold">1961 – 1965</emph>
Vice President of NBC News
<emph render="bold">1965 – 1966</emph>
Senior Executive Vice President of Operations of NBC
<emph render="bold">April 1966 – 1974</emph>
President and Chief Administrative Officer of NBC
<emph render="bold">January 1966</emph>
Receives a spot with the Board of Directors of NBC
<emph render="bold">March 1968</emph>
Calls for freedom from legislation and government regulation that tends to “suppress the progressive forces of broadcasting and limit what it can do for the public.”
<emph render="bold">1970</emph>
Named “Kentuckian of the Year”
<emph render="bold">1971</emph>
Becomes one of the names listed in Nixon’s Enemies List
<emph render="bold">1972</emph>
Elected to the Board of Directors of RCA Corporation on January 1, 1972
<emph render="bold">April 1974</emph>
Becomes Chairman of the Board of NBC
<emph render="bold">October 8, 1978</emph>
Becomes Chairman of the NBC Executive Committee
<emph render="bold">May 31, 1979</emph>
Takes an early retirement from NBC
<emph render="bold">1980</emph>
Joins the Board of Directors of Gannett Inc.
<emph render="bold">July 1981</emph>
Gulf Oil Corporation elects Goodman to its Board of Directors
<emph render="bold">1987</emph>
Makes a statement before the House Committee, stating strong disapproval of the Fairness Doctrine.
<emph render="bold">July 2012</emph>
Death of Julian Goodman in Florida.

Extent

65 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Overview

This collection is comprised of the personal and corporate papers including photographs, audio visual material, and memorabilia of Julian Goodman who was both President and Chairman of the Board of NBC (the National Broadcasting Company) from 1966 until his retirement in May of 1979. The dates of these papers range from 1941-1996, with the majority of the material in the 34 year period that Goodman worked for NBC (1945-1979).

Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives
Title
Finding Aid for the Julian Goodman Papers
Status
Completed
Date
2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


 

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