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Eugene Francis Grossman Papers

Identifier: MsC-38

Scope and Contents

The Eugene F. Grossman papers consist of materials related to Grossman’s personal and professional life and date from 1896 to 2007. The collection is arranged into seven series.

Series 1 contains personal and biographical materials, including photographs from Grossman’s youth, family and friends, and his time as a student at the Iowa State Teachers College. It also consists of correspondence, clippings, and more. The second series focuses on Grossman’s United States Navy career. Materials represented include enlistment, movement, and discharge papers; yearbooks; general U.S. Navy materials and information; and photographs.

The following three series focus on Grossman’s career in radio, television, and film. Series 3 is comprised of materials from his time working in radio at NBC and New York station WEAF. Examples are NBC records; photographs from a variety of events and with celebrities (such as the Coolidge presidential inauguration, 1926 Rose Bowl, and a photograph with Babe Ruth); and scrapbooks and technical papers.

Series 4 consists of files from Grossman’s 20th Century Fox career, including photographs of friends, celebrities (such as Richard Nixon and Shirley Temple); correspondence; technical papers; notebooks; opening night invitations; and a valentine from Shirley Temple. Some of the photographs are signed.

Series 5 and 6 contain movie and television scripts, respectively, and represent Grossman’s work in those areas’ sound departments. The collection inventory goes into greater detail.

The final series consists of objects / memorabilia that belonged to Grossman. There are a mix of professional and personal items. Please see the collection inventory for a complete list.

There are also some materials that are not explicitly related to any of the series groupings. They include additional celebrity photographs; general photographs; and correspondence.

Please note that oversize materials are stored separately from the main collection. The collection's control file contains a biographical thesis about Grossman and other additional resources. Please ask SC&UA staff for access.


  • 1896-1979; 2007


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

General Use, Reproduction, and Copyright Policies

Many items housed in the Rod Library Special Collections & University Archives, including unpublished images and manuscripts, may be protected by copyright, publication rights, trademarks, or model release rights which the library does not own and for which the library cannot grant permission or licensing. Materials currently under copyright are usually still available for research and limited reproduction under Fair Use laws. However, it is the sole responsibility of the patron to determine whether or not their use of a given material falls within Fair Use guidelines and to obtain permission for said use from the rightful copyright owner. If you are unsure where to begin, please consult the Copyright LibGuide. Please note that it is not the library's responsibility to locate or contact copyright holders for a patron, and neither the library nor library employees are responsible for copyright violations of the materials to which they facilitate research access.

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

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.

Biographical / Historical

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 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, 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, 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.


6.52 Linear Feet (13 boxes)

3.58 Linear Feet (oversize folder)


  • Series 1: Personal / Biographical materials
  • Series 2: Naval service
  • Series 3: NBC
  • Series 4: 20th Century Fox
  • Series 5: Movie Scripts
  • Series 6: Television Scripts
  • Series 7: Objects

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). Updated by Library Associate Dave Hoing, October 2017 and Archival Processor Tessa Wakefield, October 2022. Linear feet count updated on August 9, 2017 and October 2022.

Eugene Francis Grossman Papers
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collection Repository