University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Dr. Tom Battin Collection, 1936-1976

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Battin, Tom C.
Title: Dr. Tom Battin Collection
Dates: 1936-1976
Abstract: Dr. Tom Battin was considered to be a pioneer in educational television. He taught at the University of Houston for 21 years and was Professor Emeritus at the UH School of Communication. This collection contains correspondence, articles, lecture notes, scrapbooks, photographs, scripts, and films dating from 1936 to 1976.
Identification: 1988-001
Quantity: 12 boxes; 6 linear feet
Repository: Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

Biographical Note

Tom C. Battin was born in Marietta, Ohio, on July 29, 1905. In 1935 he received his BS in Television from Ohio University. He earned his MA from the University of Michigan in 1940. In 1951, he became the recipient of the first PhD ever awarded in Radio/Television Communication, also from the University of Michigan.

His thesis, The Use of the Diary and Survey Method Involving the Questionnaire Interview Technique, was widely used by television networks because it provided the first audience measurement of families' viewing habits. Considered a pioneer in educational television, Dr. Battin was involved in productions at the University of Michigan, the University of Florida, and the University of Houston. He taught at UH for 21 years and was Professor Emeritus at the University of Houston School of Communication.

Dr. Battin had experience in university theater, motion picture production, and acted in character roles in several films. He served as dialogue director for Cecil B. deMille and worked with director George Schaffer.

Dr. Battin published articles on television in educational and trade journals. He contributed chapters to widely used texts for college television instruction, including "Understanding Television: an Introduction to Broadcasting." Tom Jerriel and Bill Fleming were among his students. He died September 20, 1987.

Scope and Contents

The Battin Collection contains correspondence, articles, lecture notes, scrapbooks, photographs, scripts, and films. The materials date from 1936 to 1976, and comprise eleven manuscript boxes, one newspaper box and six films, five in reel cases. Because so many articles are one paragraph or less, they were placed with others in Mylar sheet protectors for preservation.

The collection is divided into nine series based on how it was received from the donors. The series are: Correspondence, Articles, Thesis, Photographs, Action for Youth, Lecture Materials, Scripts, Miscellaneous, and Films.


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use Restrictions

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Index Terms

Terms are either Library of Congress Subject Headings or taken from local sources.


Battin, Tom C., 1908-1957

Subjects (Organizations)

University of Houston
University of Houston. School of Communication.
University of Houston. Faculty.


Video recordings

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Tom Battin Collection, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.


Donated by Tom Battin's widow, Dr. R. Ray Battin, May 1988. Additional donation made by Dr. William Hawes, April 1989.

Processed by

Barbara Nytes-Baron, April 1995


Acta Diurna. Page 4, Wednesday, June 30, 1954.

Press release. (Box 2, Folder 1)

Detailed Description

Box folder
1 1-6 Correspondence
This series contains Dr. Battin's correspondence and dates from 1936 to 1976. It has been organized into three sub-series: general correspondence, Florida correspondence, and retirement correspondence. Each of these sub-series is arranged chronologically. The general sub-series is four folders and is dated from 1936 to 1976. It includes letters and cards from friends, movie celebrities, and former students. The Florida sub-series is one folder of materials dated from 1952 to 1954. The retirement correspondence is one folder gathered for Battin's retirement ceremony. There are telegrams, photographs and letters of regret from individuals unable to attend. These are dated 1975 to 1976.
box folder
1 1 Correspondence, 1936-1967
2 Correspondence, 1968-1970
3 Correspondence, 1971-1976
4 Correspondence - Miscellaneous, undated
5 Correspondence - Florida, 1952-1954
6 Correspondence - Retirement, 1975-1976

box folder
2 1-9 Articles
The articles are divided into nine folders: articles about the Battins; a galley proof for his chapter of Television Broadcasting; one 'blue' page proof for his chapter of Television Broadcasting; two typed copies of Handbook of Television Writing; articles by Dr. Battin; articles about television, education, and miscellaneously related topics; and a scrapbook. These clippings were cut from various publications, are often undated and as many as possible were placed between one Mylar sheet. The scrapbook consists of newspaper articles having to do with the reaction of the educational system and television industry to his thesis and the survey used in it. Included in the scrapbook are letters and photographs relating to the newspaper articles. Due to the adhesive used to prepare the scrapbook, it was decided to retain the "scrapbook" format, but to remove the covers.
1 Articles about Dr. Battin, 1954-1967
2 Galleys for Television Broadcasting, 1977
3 Blues for Television Broadcasting, 1977
4 Handbook for Television Writing, undated
5 Articles by Dr. Battin, 1955-1959
6 Articles - television related, 1954-1976
7 Articles - unrelated, 1953-1984
8 Scrapbook, 1954-1971
9 Articles relating to education, 1964-1969

3-4 Thesis
This series is two boxes containing two incomplete copies of Dr. Battin's thesis, The Use of the Diary and Survey Method Involving the Questionnaire Interview Technique. These copies are on onionskin paper, are unbound, and are difficult to use. Special Collections does have a complete bound copy which has been cataloged [HQ 784.T4.B38 1951].
The Use of the Diary and Survey Method Involving the Questionnaire Interview Technique, 1951

box folder
5 1-3 Photographs
The photographs consist of one manuscript box of undated photographs of KUHT, KHTV, and other related photographs. There is one folder of motion picture stills from "The Tomboy and the Champ"; part of which was filmed in Houston. There are also photographs in the scrapbook, which have been left there because of the heavy adhesive used to mount them.
1 KUHT, KHTV, miscellaneous, undated
2 Stills from "The Tomboy and the Champ," 1961
3 Scrapbook, undated

box folder
6 1-13 Action for Youth Project
The "Action for Youth" Project series contains information from the inception through the production of a series of films and videos having to do with juvenile delinquency. These materials are in chronological order. The project was completed in 1963. The final folders contain announcers' notes from the AFL (American Football League) Oilers versus Dolphins Game, which was played and televised from Rice Stadium in 1966. Included are a series of cue cards used during the game.
1 Notes and Proposal, 1963
2-10 Greater Houston Action for Youth
2 Script/Film #2, 1963
3 First draft/Videotape #2, undated
4 Script/Video-tape #2, 1963
5 First draft, undated
6 VTR Program #1, 1963
7 Open Delinquency…, undated
8 Moderators script, undated
9 Classification by Crime, 1950-1960
10 Research materials, 1963
11 Theatre Related Materials, undated
12 Campus Workshop, 1972
13 American Football League/Oilers vs Dolphins, 1966

7 Lecture Materials
Dr. Battin's lecture materials include the "Television Production Handbook", his handwritten notebook and notes, articles related to television, two undated article on television directing and four templates. There is no particular order, as the material is interchangeable and overlaps among itself.
1 KUHT floor plan, undated
2 Articles pertinent to television, various dates
3 The TV Director, undated
4 Notes, undated
5 TV Directing 361, undated
6 Articles relating to television, various dates
1 Notebook, undated
2 The Art Of Television Makeup, undated
3 The Blue Book, undated
4 Templates
Television Production Handbook, 1968
"Bound" lecture notes, undated

8-11 Scripts
The four boxes of stage, screen and television scripts are in alphabetical order and range in date from 1956 to 1970. The scripts in the collection cannot be copied.
box folder
8 1 Adventure in Paradise: "Policeman's Holiday." Carey Wilber & Pat Falken Smith, 1961
2 The Afternoon the Changed History (Battle of San Jacinto) Houston: KPRC-TV, undated
3 Batman: "The Unkindest TUT of All." Stanley Ralph Ross, Greenway/TCF, 1967
4 A Bell for Adano, undated
5 Ben Casey: "Behold a Pale Horse." Teddi Sherman & Judith Plowden Bing Crosby Productions, 1962
6 Bewitched: "Majority of Two." Hollywood: Screen Gems, 1968
7 Bewitched: "Samantha's Secret Saucer." Jerry Meyer, Screen Gems, 1968
8 The Big Valley: "Bounty on Barkley." John O'Dea & Jerry Simms Fourstar Television, 1967
9 The Big Valley: "Your Neighbor's House." John O'Dea & Arthur Rowe, Hollywood Fourstar Television, 1957
10 Bonnie and Clyde, Original screenplay David Newman & Robert Benton Warner Bros., 1967
11 Bus-Stop: "County General." Pilot Script, David Shaw, Hollywood, TFC, 1962
12 The City on the Edge of Forever Teleplay, Harlan Ellison, Paramount, 1967
13 Cowboy in Africa: "First to Capture." Gordon T. Dawson, Ivan Tors Films, 1967
box folder
9 1 Custer: "The Raiders." Shimon Wincelberg, TFC, 1967
2 Custer: "Suspicion." John Dunkel, TFC, 1967
3 The Danny Thomas Show: "Girl Shy." Harvey Bullock & Ray Allen Saffain, 1963
4 The Dick Van Dyke Show: "Too Many Stars." Sheldon Keller & Howard Merrill, 1963
5 The FBI: "The Daughter." Paul Schneider QM/Warner Bros.-Swan Arts, 1967
6 The FBI: "The Traitors." John Bloch QM/Warner Bros., 1967
7 The Felony Squad: "The Love Victim." Robert Heverly & Anthony Lawrence, TFC, 1967
8 Flight into Danger, Adapted by Christopher Sergel. Chicago: Dramatic Publishing Co., 1956, 1959
9 The Flying Nun: "The Sister and the Old Salt." Bernard Slade, 1967
10 The Fred Waring Show, CBS, 1949
11 Garrisons Gorillas: "The Great Theft." Norman Hudis, Selmu Productions, 1967
12 Get Smart: "The Annual Picnic." Teleplay story treatment for Get Smart, Rick Harrington, undated
13 The Graduate, Screenplay by Charles Webb, Embassy Pictures/L.Turman, 1967
14 The Great Hoax, Rick Harrington, Superior Film, 1964
15 Guns of Will Sonnett: "Meeting at Devils' Fork." Clyde Wake, Thomas Spelling, 1967
16 Guns of Will Sonnett: "The Natural Way." Dick Garr, Thomas Spelling Productions, undated
box folder
10 1 Hallmark Hall of Fame: "The Fantasticks." Rehearsal Schedule, undated
2 Hallmark Hall of Fame: "The Fantasticks." Adapted by Richard Hartung NY, Compass Productions, 1964
3 Hondo: "Hondo and the Death Drive." Peter B. Germano, MGM, 1967
4 The Invaders: "Labyrinth." undated
5 Judd for the Defense: "Conspiracy." Les Leiberman, Vanadas/TFC, 1967
6 Judd for the Defense: "Square House." Vanadas Productions/TFC, 1968
7 Judge Roy Bean: "Law West of the Pecos." Rick Harrington, undated
8 The Legend of Marilyn Monroe, Teleplay by Theodore Strauss & Terry Sanders, Wolper Productions, 1964
9 Naked City: "Idylls of a Running Back." Ernest Kinoy, Shelle Productions, 1962
10 NBC Children's Theatre: "Stuart Little." Rick Harrington, NBC, 1966
11 NBC Children's Theatre, Promotional Piece, undated
12 NBC Matinee Theatre: "The Tell Tale Heart." Adapted by William Templeton, NY, NBC, undated
13 The Petrified Forest, undated
14 Pinocchio, Ernest Kinoy, undated
15 The Rat Patrol: "The Field of Death Raid." Richard K. Brodkway, MGM, 1967
16 Rawhide: "The Transfer." Bernard Girard, 1964
box folder
11 1 The Red Skelton Show: "Sing a Song of Sing Sing, ""Silent Spot, ""Pop's Butcher Shop." Van Bernard, CBS, 1964
2 Requiem for a Heavy Weight, Rod Serling, undated
3 The Russians Are Coming, The Russian Are Coming, Screenplay by William Rose, Mirisch Corp, 1965
4 The Second Hundred Years: "A Couple of Sad Dads." Lela Garrett & Bernie Kahn, Screen Gems, 1967
5 Seven Last Words of Christ A Sacred Cantata, undated
6 That Girl: "A Friend in Need." Richard Baer, Disney Productions, 1967
7 Thoroughly Modern Millie, Richard Morris, Universal Pictures/Ross Hunter, 1967
8 Thunder on Sycamore Street, Reginold Rose, Chicago: Dramatic Publishing Co., undated
9 The Untouchables: "The Pea." Harry Kronman, Desilu Productions, 1962
10 Who in the World, Ralph Edwards Production, 1962
11 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee, Screenplay by Ernest Lehman, undated
12 Rowen & Martin's Laugh In, Taping schedules, 1970
13 Rowen & Martin's Laugh In, Taping schedules, 1970

12 Miscellaneous
There is one box of miscellaneous items and ephemera. Three films and two videos complete the collection. Advance notice is required in order to view films or videos.
Eighteen miscellaneous items

Blood on the Land Produced by Dr. Battin, 1958
Kathryn Dr. Battin's Studio C Production, 1957
The Vinten Peregrine Camera Crane BBC TV Enterprise, undated
One Box Scotch Video Tape
One Box Scotch Video Tape
One roll Kodachrome Movie Film