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WMAR-TV Collection

Identifier: R0130-WMAR

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.

Access Restriction

As of May 2021, the majority of the U-Matic tapes in the News Storage series (1979-1987) boxes 22-101 are out for digitization and are currently unavailable for researchers. Previously digitized tapes from this series remain onsight. As tapes are digitized content will be made available online for streaming through the Internet Archive.

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 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 red 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 was processed by UB Special Collections and Archives staff. Initial collection processing included arrangement, description, and preservation tasks managed by Thomas Hollowak in the 1980s. The finding aid was updated with a number of film shot lists between 2005-2006. Further physical arrangement was completed by Robert Schindle prior to 2006.

Between 2015 and 2016, Siobhan Hagan reprocessed the collection, including physical rehousing of materials in vented film cans, testing using vinegar strips for preservation management, and arrangement of materials by program. Siobhan Hagan also coordinated digitization of collection footage and implemented the use of the Internet Archive for online access.

Further digitization of materials such as open reel quad tapes in the collection was completed in 2017 under the coordination of Maggie Dull.

Between 2017 and 2020, Fatemeh Rezaei processed the NewsChannel2 Broadcasts series (1984-1993), the News Storage series (1979-1987), and the Newscope series (1984-1985) including inventorying the various series and providing shot lists. Between 2017 and 2020, Fatemeh Rezaei also processed the Titled Footage series, created additional series in the collection to facilitate access, and made digitized footage from the entire collection accessible through the Internet Archive. She added additional shot lists to the finding aid and included subtitles to the videos in 2021.

A number of students and interns contributed to the arrangement and description for this collection between 2014 and 2020. Sofia Rinvil (student worker, 2014-2015) and Simone Davis (student worker, 2015-2016) completed data entry and description. Angela Koukoui and Colleen Williams (student workers, circa 2016) completed processing and materials rehousing work. Rondell Johnson contributed shot lists descriptions for the collection between 2017 and 2018. Michelle Hickson, student worker, provided finding aid data entry updates between 2017 and 2020. James Idsardi, Special Collections and Archives intern, created shot lists for the collection during the Spring of 2021, under the supervision of Fatemeh Rezaei, Archivist.

In May 2021, Special Collections and Archives began digitizing U-Matic tapes from the News Storage (1979-1987) series, boxes 22-101. The previously digitized U-Matic tapes from this series remain onsight. This project is supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
WMAR-TV Collection
Initial description created by UB Special Collections & Archives staff, managed by Thomas Hollowak (circa 1980s). Further description completed by Robert Shindle (2005-2006). Finding aid revised by Aiden Faust (2011). Finding aid revised by Sioban Hagan (2014-2015). Revised by Fatemeh Rezaei and Michelle Hickson (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
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • circa 1980s: Initial collection description
  • 2005-2006: Physical arrangement and footage shot lists
  • 2011: Descriptive fields added
  • 2014-2015: Collection description revised after reprocessing
  • 2014-2016: Finding aid prepared from legacy finding aid and added to database
  • 2017-2020: Additional series, shot lists, collection materials locations, and digitized materials described in the finding aid
  • July 2020: Descriptive notes, historical note, and collection admin notes added
  • 2021: Shot lists created and added
  • May 2021: Digitization and access notes added

Repository Details

Part of the Baltimore Regional Studies Archives Repository

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