Eugene Francis Grossman Papers, 1896-1965

Collection Overview

Title: Eugene Francis Grossman Papers, 1896-1965

Record Series: MsC-38

Record Group:


Creator: Grossman, Eugene Francis

Date: 1896-1965

Extent: 5 boxes (6.73 linear feet); 2 oversize items (3.58 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Physical Access: Box 5 is located in Manuscripts Oversized 1.

Sensitive Materials Statement: Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item] in the Eugene Francis Grossman collection, 1896-1965, Manuscript Record Series MsC-38, [folder number], University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

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Please see our full General Use and Service Policies for more information.

Historical Note

Eugene Francis Grossman was born in Delmar, Iowa, on January 18, 1896.  He was the son of William and Margaret (Eckel) Grossman. Mr. Grossman had three brothers, Francis, John, and George; and three sisters, Katherine, Elizabeth, and Lona.  Mr. Grossman's fascination with radio led him to earn a certificate in electrical training from the Coyne National Trade Schools of Chicago in 1914.  After receiving this diploma, Mr. Grossman enrolled at the Iowa State Teachers College (ISTC) in 1916.  While at the college, he broadcast from his apartment radio station with homemade equipment and also invented the "transmitter attenuator" (mixing panel).  J. Owen Perrine, a professor of physics at ISTC, heard of Grossman's work and allowed him to establish a new radio station in the Physics Building.  The first wireless message sent from ISTC was transmitted by Mr. Grossman, who sent the message from the office of President Homer H. Seerley to Raymond A. Pearson, the President of the University of Iowa.

On May 24, 1917, Mr. Grossman left ISTC to become an officer in the United States Navy.  His enlistment in the Navy, as a radio specialist, ended on September 9, 1918.  On July 25, 1922, he joined the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), where he remained until November 21, 1928.  While at NBC he was a sound engineer for events such as the first radio broadcast of the 1926 Rose Bowl and the Chicago Opera House's performance of Faust. After leaving NBC, Mr. Grossman joined the Fox Film Corporation and remained there until his retirement.  As a sound engineer, he worked on motion pictures such as "Rawhide," "The Fly," and "White Witch Doctor."  His television work included such series as "The Rifleman" and "Peyton Place."  His work in motion picture sound took him to places such as Hong Kong, Argentina, and Australia.  In 1977, he returned to his alma mater and established a $20,000 scholarship for students working toward a career in radio, television, or motion pictures. Mr. Grossman died in February, 1982, at the age of 86.

Scope and Content

This collection contains material about Eugene Francis Grossman, who attended ISTC from 1916-1917 and later went on to become a prominent figure in radio, television, and the movies. There are many photographs of him and famous stars of the early to mid-20th century, as well as scripts and contracts, correspondence, newspaper articles, newspaper articles, magazines, and memorabilia.

The collection's control file contains a biographical thesis about Grossman and other additional resources. Please ask SC&UA staff for access.


Box 1

  • Photographs 1896-1925 (45); 1925-1940 (50); 1941- (40); portraits of Grossman and his brother George; photographs of family and friends(200); informal shots to 1955 including the Hahn and McMullin farms in Delmar (35); informal shots from 1955 (35); Iowa State Teachers College (ISTC) including 20 candids, 6 baseball photographs, and one of his math teacher, Emma Lambert; ISTC correspondence and articles including information on Prof. J. Owen Perrine and President Homer H. Seerley; certificates of baptism, first communion, radio transmission (for his basement radio station at ISTC); newsclippings about Grossman family; personal and business correspondence; NBC insurance policy
  • Material relating to Grossman's naval service including: enlistment and discharge papers; United States Navy Regulations and Inspections book, 1913; notes and exams from the Naval Academy; Annapolis yearbook, The Wake, 1918; portraits and informal photographs from his naval service(63); keepsakes including USN spoon, lapel pin, dog tag, ticket for Thanksgiving dinner, and cheers for Army vs. Navy football game; miscellaneous photographs

Box 2

  • Material relating to Grossman's work in radio at New York station WEAF and NBC; schedule books from 1924; NBC telephone directories and trade magazines; newspaper articles pertaining to Grossman's career at NBC; correspondence while at NBC; organizational and frequency charts; personal photographs from NBC years including one with Babe Ruth(20); NBC photographs including the 1926 Rose bowl (50); 1937 NBC yearbook, "Thirty-five Hours a Day"; scrapbook from 1927; keepsakes from NBC; NBC notebooks; technical papers; 
  • Material relating to Grossman's work at 20th Century Fox including: photographs of Grossman and friends (50); celebrity photographs including shots with Richard Nixon and Shirley Temple (30); newspaper and trade magazine clippings; correspondence;  technical papers; trade magazines, "The Hollywood Reporter," "20th Century Fox, Action and Variety"; 1929 inventory list from the sound room and call sheets; notebook of ideas for inventions, c. 1940
  • Celebrity photos, no date; Early photos of Grossman with sound equipment, possibly pre-1928

Box 3

  • Agreements between Grossman and Fox; opening night invitations and a valentine from Shirley Temple; Grossman's wallet, ear phones, Fox studio nameplate, bank deposit book, and a key from Pat Boone; correspondence from Grossman's involvement in the mining industry
  • Movie scripts including dialogue, settings, and audio guidelines: "Thanks a Million" August, 1935; "The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend" September, 1948; "Pinky" February, 1949; "Front and Center" June, 1949; "Rawhide" January, 1950; "I'd Climb the Highest Mountain" May, 1950; "Kangaroo" June, 1950; "The Marriage Broker" May, 1951; "White Witch Doctor" October, 1952; "The Kid from Left Field" February, 1953; "The Left Hand of God" February, 1955; "The Bottom of the Bottle" September, 1955; "A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed" January, 1958; "The Fly" February, 1958; "Rope Law" April, 1958; "Rally Round the Flag, Boys" May, 1958; "Compulsion" April, 1959;

Box 4

  • Television scripts including dialogue, settings, and audio guidelines: "The Rifleman" December 1958 to May 12, 1959; "Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre" February and March 1959; "The David Niven Show" March to May 12, 1959; "Robert Taylor's Detectives" April, 1959; "Richard Diamond - Private Detective" March, April and May 1959; "Valentine's Day" January, 1965; "Peyton Place" April and May 1965; "Men Against Evil" November, 1965
  • Memorabilia including souvenir ivory chopsticks, an alpha counter, a book about radio station WEAF, and business cards from Grossman's associates

Box 5

**Please note that this box is located in the Manuscripts Oversized section of the shelf range**

  • Oversized photos of Grossman with celebrities and others


**Please note that the following items are stored in "Manuscripts Oversize":

  • Naval Honorary Discharge document
  • Holy Communion papers

Processing Information

Inventory prepared by Student Intern Jeff Harney, September 1993; edited by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson, February 1994; updated, January 30, 2015 (GP). Last updated by Library Associate Dave Hoing, October 2017. Linear feet count updated on August 9, 2017.