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Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Ben Grauer papers, 1915-1977 

Grauer, Ben,
Phys. Desc: 
80 linear feet (80 linear feet 171 boxes 1 audio tape)
Call Number: 
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Biographical Note

Radio and television announcer, reporter, commentator, and host. Grauer, born Benjamin Franklin Grauer, began his show business career in 1915 as a child actor on the Broadway stage and in silent movies. After graduating from the City College of New York in 1930, he was hired by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and became one of its most famous "voices.".

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, manuscripts, diaries, radio, television, and film scripts, notes, subject files, documents, financial records, photographs, memorabilia, clippings, and printed materials. Grauer's voluminous professional, personal, and family correspondence reflect his many and varied interests in radio, television, motion pictures, sound recordings, journalism, book collecting, printing, the graphic arts, and travel. Among the significant correspondents there are 43 letters from Henry Miller, 26 letters from Eric Partridge, and ten letters from Bruce Rogers. There are numerous single letters from public figures and celebrities, many written to the author, Quentin Reynolds, who organized Grauer's 25th Anniversary in Broadcasting in 1950. Among these are George Abbott, Agnes de Mille, Samuel Goldwyn, John Hersey, Bob Hope, Lauritz Melchior, Edward R. Murrow, Anaïs Nin, David Sarnoff, and Thornton Wilder. There are thousands of letters from fans, friends, and family, including Grauer's wife Melanie Kahane, the interior decorator. b The manuscripts consist of early writings; radio, television, film, and sound recording scripts with related notes and correspondence; speeches; periodical articles; and several book manuscripts. The majority of the Scripts File are for NBC productions, but also included are scripts for the Voice of America, commercials, films, and records. Among Grauer's many "firsts" in broadcasting are the first live report of Count Folke Bernadotte's assasination, the first radio show to present cash prizes ("Pot 'o Gold"), and NBC television's first live news event, the opening of the 1939 New York World's Fair. The Activities File documents Grauer's presence in broadcasting, book collecting, printing and the graphic arts, travel, including the promotion of the Pan American Highway, and his membership in countless organizations. There are more than 3,000 photographs documenting his career from his years as a child actor through the more than 40 years he was associated with NBC. He was photographed with the famous men and women of his generation whose activities he covered on the air. The Publicity File contains newspaper and periodical clippings on his career. Also included is one audio tape recording of "Salute to Ben Grauer" Nov. 15, 1950, an off the air recording