Norman Corwin and actress Peggy Burt.The American Radio Archives (ARA) is one of the largest collections of archival material documenting the history of radio broadcasting in the United States. Its more than 50 collections include the papers of important figures in the history of radio like Norman Corwin and Rudy Vallée, as well as archives of the collections of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Collection and KNX radio with its thousands of radio scripts and transcription discs.

The ARA was formerly housed at the Thousand Oaks Public Library which was owned and administered by the Thousand Oaks Library Foundation. It was donated in its entirety to the UCSB Library in 2021. The collections that form the ARA are a significant addition to UCSB’s already extensive collections related to broadcasting, media, and the performing arts.

Most ARA collections are now onsite at UCSB and thanks to generous support of the Ahmanson Foundation, collection inventories and finding tools are being integrated into UCSB Library systems for providing researcher access, including the Special Research Collections website, the Online Archive of California, and the Special Collections Research Account. Futher information on the individual collections is here:

List of ARA Collections and Finding Guides

15 collections have been opened to researchers and are indicated in boldface on the list above. Collection inventories are systematically being added to OAC Some collections will remain inaccessible while they are processed and collections guides put online. Collections will be opened up to researchers as soon as possible when UCSB staff have physical access to the collections and there is sufficient intellectual control via our systems to facilitate researcher access. We are prioritizing high-use collections and we will begin providing services to additional collections as soon as possible.

Summer 2023 Update: A full time archivist has been hired and finding guides are now going into OAC. They are noted on the list of collections. For information on registering as a UCSB research and requesting materials, go here.

For further information on the process or the collections, contact the Curator, David Seubert.

Image Credit: Norman Corwin and actress Peggy Burt on the “Magic Key of RCA” program. Circa late 1930s. Image rights: Diane Corwin Okarski.