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George C. Biggar Papers

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Collection Summary

Identifier

MA 1

Title

George C. Biggar papers

Dates

1916-1988

Extent

0.84 linear feet (2 document cases) audio cassettes, photographs

Creator

George C. Biggar, 1899-1989

Language

English

Repository

South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Access note

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Preferred Citation

Name of item. George C. Biggar papers. MA1. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Abstract

George C. Biggar, a South Dakota State University alumni (1921-22), was a program director and created programs for radio stations in Chicago, IL (WLS) and Cincinnati, OH (WLW). He helped to plan the Barn Dance and the Dinnerbell Program. This is a collection of papers relates to Biggar's career in radio. Included are radio scripts, interviews, photographs and other material collected throughout his career. Material from a trip to Great Britain in 1943-1944 makes up a large portion of the collection and includes material related to agriculture during wartime.

Biographical Note

George Biggar, son of James Harvey and Caroline Goodfellow Bigger was born on a farm near Aurora, South Dakota on January 11, 1899. He attended South Dakota State University (then South Dakota Agricultural College), where he received a BS in agriculture in 1921 and a MS in Dairy Husbandry in 1922. While at South Dakota State University, he was editor of the Industrial Collegian newspaper and worked on the Jackrabbit yearbook. After graduating, he immediately pursued a career in journalism, working as a reporter for the Moline (Illinois) Dispatch and later the Illinois State Farm Bureau.

In 1924, he began his radio career at station WLS in Chicago, just 3 weeks after Sears-Roebuck started broadcasting. He worked at many radio stations around the country while he was employed by Sears-Roebuck, working mainly with agricultural and farm programs. In 1929, after Sears stopped its broadcasting activities, Biggar returned to WLS. He continued to work on farm, homemaker and entertainer programs, included the National Barn Dance, a show where many country and old performers got their start. During this time, he was also responsible for sending Herb Morrison to cover the Hindenburg landing, where he was the only reporter to witness the tragedy.

In 1938, Biggar moved to WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was in charge of rural programs, as well as some entertainment programs. At WLW, Biggar was invited to go to Great Britain as a guest of the British Information Service. While there, Biggar observed agricultural practices and noted their changes during the war years. This trip is reflected in many of his papers.

Biggar's career in radio continued until his retirement in 1964. Following his departure from WLW, he continued to move around the Midwest working in radio. He eventually bought station WLBK in DeKalb, Illinois, which is where he finished out his career. Following his retirement, he moved to Laguna Beach, California, and then onto Fargo, North Dakota. He passed away March 19, 1989.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into two series:

Series 1. General material

Series 2. World War II. Trip

Folders are arranged alphabetically within each series.

Contents Note

Related to Biggar's career in radio. The bulk of the material is composed of radio scripts, interviews, photographs and other material collected throughout his career. Material from a trip to Great Britain in 1943-1944 makes up a large portion of the collection and includes material related to agriculture during wartime.

Key Words

Agriculture--Great Britain

Biggar, Genevieve, 1898-1983

Biggar, George C. (George Cecil), 1899-1989 – Archives

Morrison, Herb

National Barn Dance (Radio program)

Radio broadcasting – History

Radio in agriculture

WLS (Radio station : Chicago, Ill)

WLW (Radio station : Cincinnati, Ohio)

World War, 1939-1945 -- Great Britain

Container List

View container list on Open Prairie

George C. Biggar Papers Container List. MA 1

SeriesBoxFolderDescriptionDate(s)
1. General11Audio cassettes1988; undated
1. General12Biographical sketches1916; 1943; 1979; undated
1. General13Clippings1938-1991; undated
1. General14Collected scripts1927-1929
1. General15M.S. Thesis1922
1. General17Photographs1942-1943
1. General18Prairie Farmer1949
1. General19Tours1955; 1958
1. General110Tributes1965; 1988
1. General111Writings1920-1929
1. General112Writings1930-1939
1. General113Writings1940-1949
1. General114Writings1950-1959
1. General115Writings1960-1969
1. General116Writings1970-1987
2. World War II Trip21Collected materials1940-1957 undated
2. World War II Trip22Correspondence1943-1944
2. World War II Trip23Diary1943-1944
2. World War II Trip24Interviews1943-1944; undated
2. World War II Trip25Mapsundated
2. World War II Trip26Miscellaneous1940-1947; undated
2. World War II Trip27Newspaper clippings/excerpts1943-1944; undated
2. World War II Trip28Published articlesundated
2. World War II Trip29Research notes1939-1943; undated
2. World War II Trip210Speeches1943-1944
2. World War II Trip211Statistics1943
2. World War II Trip212William T. Price materialsundated
2. World War II Trip213Writings1943-1944; undated
2. World War II Trip214Collected Material "Agriculture in the British Economy" - Proceedings of conference1957

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Copyright note

Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.

Arranged and Described by

Elizabeth B. Scott, University Archivist, April 7, 1998.