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WMAR-TV Collection

Identifier: R0130-WMAR

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains local television news footage and special programs from the WMAR-TV station in Baltimore, Maryland which were created and aired between 1948 and 1993. The collection includes approximately 4,000 reels of 16mm film, 300 reels of 1- and 2-inch videotape, 139 linear feet of 2,185 videocassettes (including VHS, U-matic, U-matic S, VHS, and Betacam SP), and 101 DVDs. The content of this collection includes news and television programs that illustrate the social, cultural, political, and economic trends of everyday life and events around Baltimore city and the state of Maryland during the mid to late 20th century. Some significant topics represented by the television news, programs, and documentary style stories in this collection include local events, arts and culture, local and national politics and policies, the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1968 riots in Baltimore, the Civil Rights Movement, African American history, and local community stories.

Within the collection, the raw WMAR news footage is housed in the Chronological News Footage series (1948-1981), the NewsChannel2 Broadcasts series (1984-1993), and the News Storage series (1979-1987). The remaining series in the collection describe the various television programs from WMAR over the years. Several television programs of note in the collection include the "Sun's Orbit" from the Baltimore Sun's foreign correspondents and "The Port that Built a City" hosted by Helen Delich Bentley, among others.


  • 1948-1993


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Material from the collection may be viewed in the Special Collections Research Room. Some items may have access limitations due to physical format. Some footage from the the collection has been digitized and made available online for streaming through the Internet Archive and is available through this finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Material from the collection is available for onsite use in the Special Collections Research Room by appointment only. All requests for digitization and duplication services require written permission from WMAR-TV in advance. WMAR must handle liscensing and rights. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Historical Note

WMAR-TV News in Baltimore, Maryland was the first television station in Baltimore and the eleventh in the United States. Its first broadcast aired on October 30, 1947. The station was initially owned by the A. S. Abell Company, which also owned the Baltimore Sun newspapers. WMAR was the first television station in Baltimore and the second in the United States to join the CBS network. In 1981, the station’s affiliation changed and it joined the NBC network. In 1986, the A. S. Abell Company was purchased by the Times Mirror Company, who kept the Baltimore Sun newspapers but sold WMAR-TV to Gillet Communications. The E. W. Scripps Company purchased WMAR-TV in 1990. WMAR-TV (channel 2) has been an ABC-affiliated television station owned by the E.W. Scripps Company in Baltimore, Maryland since 1995.

Throughout its history, WMAR-TV news and television programs covered the Baltimore region news in addition to providing local and syndicated television programs and documentary style stories.

[Information for this historical note was gathered from previous collection description, Baltimore Sun articles and from Wikipedia].


Approximately 4,000 Reels (Film: 16mm)

139 Linear Feet (2,185 Videocassettes in 139 boxes) : VHS, U-matic, U-matic S, VHS, Betacam SP

Approximately 300 Reels (videotape) ; 1 and 2 inch

101 Disc (2 Box) : DVD


This collection is arranged by WMAR television program in 30 series. Each of the series is named according to the program name. The series include:

  • Chronological News Footage, 1948-1981
  • The Port that Built a City
  • Newscope, 1984-1985
  • Vagabonds
  • The Bozo Show, 1966
  • Faith to Faith, 1965 January 8
  • Mr. Morning, 1966
  • Legacy of Violence, 1967
  • Early Riser, 1983
  • Documentary Specials
  • Bars to Progress, 1971 November-December
  • NewsChannel2 Broadcasts, 1984-1993
  • News Storage, 1979-1987
  • Jack Anderson Confidential, 1982
  • Say Baltimore, 1982-1983
  • Rap Up, 1975
  • Medicine, 1965
  • Our Place in History, 1974-1976
  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind, 1974 June 10
  • Among the Present, 1975 June 12
  • Post Scripts to History, 1967 June 16
  • Sun's Orbit, 1963-1969
  • Speak Freely, 1964 July-1965 June
  • Town Meeting, 1975-1976
  • Editorial, 1963-1966
  • Teletest, 1982-1983
  • President Eisenhower Funeral - CBS News, 1969
  • Titled Footage
  • Greater Balt to Open
  • CBS News

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the University of Baltimore Foundation by Abell Communications, Inc. in 1984.

Accessing Digital Copies

Digitized footage in this collection is available online through the Internet Archive for streaming access and can be found through this finding aid. Locate records by using the "Print" button above, or browse records in “Collection Organization." Records with associated digital objects are identified with a Digital Object icon.

Related Materials

Related archival collections include:

  • Helen Delich Bentley Papers (R0051-HDB). University of Baltimore Special Collections and Archives.
  • Jack Anderson papers (MS2001). Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Thomas Hollowak and Robert Shindle prior to 2013. Collection partially reprocessed by Siobhan Hagan in 2015. Digitization of open reel quad tapes was completed by Maggie Dull and Fatemeh Rezaei in 2017. Rezaei reprocessed the collection in 2017-2020 and made digitized footage accessible through the Internet Archive. With James Idsardi, shot lists and subtitles were added in 2021. Fatemeh Rezaei completed the digitization of 965 U-Matic tapes from the News Storage (1979-1987) with a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Finding aid for the WMAR-TV Collection
Initial description created by Thomas Hollowak (circa 1990s). Further description completed by Robert Shindle (2005-2006). Finding aid revised by Aiden Faust (2011). Revised by Sioban Hagan (2014-2015). Revised by Fatemeh Rezaei (2017-2020). Revised by Laura Bell (July 2020). Revised by Fatemeh Rezaei and Laura Bell (2021).
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Baltimore Studies Archives Repository

H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, Room 104
1415 Maryland Avenue
Baltimore Maryland 21201 USA