Special Collections

Audiovisual Materials

Audiovisual Materials: 1961-1984
Linear Feet:
 57.5 (69 videocassettes, 81 audiocassettes, 280 reels 16 mm film, 50 reels videotape, 325 reels audio tape, 20 phonograph records)
Status: Open. Since many of the films and videotapes must be reformatted before use, researchers are encouraged to contact the library well in advance of any visit.

Television became an important factor in senatorial campaigns during the 1960s when metropolitan areas became prime targets for special reports, speeches and campaign advertising, and this collection reflects the growth and changes in the use of television. Although most audiovisual items were received in a single group, items found scattered through the campaign/political papers or other series have been shelved with this larger group after replacing the audiovisual item with a separation record that indicates an item’s new location.

The collection contains numerous sound recordings on both reels and cassettes of Tower’s radio reports, interviews, dinner speeches, debates and testimony before various committees as well as speeches before Republican meetings and conventions. The majority of the reels of audio tape appear to be recordings of Tower’s weekly radio comments, and long-playing albums are recordings of radio interview programs such as Capitol Cloakroom and Face the Nation. Audio recordings also include Tower’s Southwestern University commencement address, comments made at the memorial service held for astronaut Ed White, and a reading of William Barret Travis’ last letter from the Alamo. The Press Office Series contains transcripts for many of the sound recordings.

The subject of film and video materials fall into three general groups that often overlap: campaign/political, speeches/interviews, and public relations/constituent interests. Among the items is a 27-minute film, “The Defense of Western Europe,” that covers Senator Tower’s 1971 NATO tour of Western Europe. Other films and videos treat the construction of the B-1 bomber and F-111 aircraft, bilingual education, compulsory busing and national energy policy as well as appearances at community activities. Additional subjects include “Tower News” weekly TV spots, special reports, interviews (e.g., Senator Tower and Shirley Temple-Black on the subject of women’s rights), and footage of special events such as Senator Tower’s Decade of Service Dinner and the Republican National Convention. The majority of the videocassettes are three-fourths or one inch tapes, but videotapes are two inch format.

Visit the John G. Tower Digital Media Collection (A Collaboration with Southern Methodist University)