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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

Physical Description

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

Name of Creator(s)

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

Language

English

Repository

South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, (SBL) Room 241, Box 2115, 1300 North Campus Drive, Brookings, South Dakota 57007. Email: arcrefs@sdstate.edu Telephone: 605-688-5094

Access note

Open. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Preferred Citation

Name of item. MA 1, box #, folder 3, George C. Biggar papers, 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 imm000ediately 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.

CONTENT and ARRANGEMENT

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.

SUBJECT HEADINGS

  • 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