Robert Trout papers
Scope and Contents
The Robert Trout papers, 1930-2003, contains six series: I. Professional career, 1931-1992; II. Memos and correspondence, 1931-1992; III. Personal and reference files, 1930-1991; IV. Oversize materials; V. Sound recordings; and VI. Photographic material. Scripts, transcripts, notes, correspondence, clippings, ephemera, photographic material, sound recordings, and artifacts document Trout's career in network broadcasting. Included are Trout's chronological files on his radio and television appearances (1931-1992), which contain scripts, correspondence, clippings, network promotional materials, and such ephemera as tickets and press passes. Also included are files documenting Trout's writing and media projects, his correspondence with colleagues and the public, reference files pertaining to his work and interests, personal and publicity photos, and Trout's collection of tape and disc recordings.
- Creation: 1930 - 2003
- Trout, Robert (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Access to some audiovisual formats requires an appointment; contact repository for more information.
A portion of this collection is stored remotely; contact repository in advance for retrieval
Conditions Governing Use
There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.
Biographical / Historical
Robert Trout's career as a radio and television broadcaster spanned almost the entire history of those media in the twentieth century. His colleagues and the public admired the intelligence, fairness, subtlety, and self-depreciating wit that informed his work. Trout, born Robert Blondheim in Washington D.C. in 1909, originally aspired to a writing career. In 1931, he was doing odd jobs and developing scenarios for plays at radio station WJSV in Alexandria, Virginia, when he filled in on the air. Soon, he was writing, editing, and broadcasting regularly. The Columbia Broadcasting Network (CBS) took WJSV as its first Washington, D.C. area affiliate in 1932, and Trout covered the election and inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the network. In 1935, CBS transferred Trout to New York City and designated him its first Special Events Reporter. The network had no news department at that time. Trout reported news events, conducted interviews, hosted entertainment programs, and became radio's first news anchor. In 1938, Trout wed Catherine
Kit Crane. She became a significant partner in his career, serving as his personal manager, providing him with research for his broadcasts, and critiquing his on-air performances.
For more than 60 years, Trout worked in American broadcasting. He could remain on the air for hours at a time, reporting calmly and accurately, which earned him the nickname,
The Iron Man of Radio. His coverage of breaking news during World War II shaped the memories of many Americans, and his reports from political conventions and presidential inaugurations became institutions. Ultimately, he covered almost all of America's major party conventions, presidential elections and inaugurations between Roosevelt's election in 1932 and the conventions of 2000. Though Trout spent most of his career at CBS, he also broadcast for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).
In 1965, the Trouts moved to Europe, residing in Paris and later Madrid. Trout wrote commentary pieces and acted as a European correspondent on radio and television for CBS and later ABC. Following Kit Trout's death and his retirement from ABC in the mid-1990s, Trout divided his time between New York and Madrid. His commentaries appeared on National Public Radio (NPR) from 1995 until two weeks before his death, at the age of 91, in November 2000.
73.8 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Scripts, transcripts, notes, correspondence, clippings, ephemera, photographic material, sound recordings, and artifacts comprise the Robert Trout papers, 1930-2003, documenting Trout's career in network broadcasting.
I. Professional career, 1931-1992
- A. Radio and television
- 1. List of files
- 2. Radio broadcasts and series
- 3. Television broadcasts and series
- 4. Political broadcasts
- 5. Transcripts and books
- B. Films and recordings
- C. Personal appearances
- D. Promotion and publicity
- E. Literary productions and other creative works
- 1. Literary productions
- 2. Proposals for media and creative works
- A. Radio and television
II. Memos and correspondence, 1931-1992
- A. Professional
- B. General
- C. Viewer and listener
III. Personal and reference files, 1930-1991
- A. Travel files
- B. Professional associations
- C. General information files
- D. Financial records
- IV. Oversize material
- V. Sound recordings
- VI. Photographic material
2000-069; 2000-254; 2001-011; 2009-300; 2014-057; 2018-056; 2019-122
Some material has been separated to the Material Culture unit.
Collection processed by Briscoe Center staff. Subsequent processing by Laurel Rozema, October 2010, and Colleen Hobbs, January 2022.
- ABC News. (Organization)
- CBS News. (Organization)
- Columbia Broadcasting System, inc. (Organization)
- NBC News. (Organization)
- United States. Office of War Information (Organization)
- WABC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.) (Organization)
- WCBS-TV (Television station : New York, N.Y.) (Organization)
- Trout, Robert (Person)
- Trout, Kit (Person)
- Church, Wells (Person)
- Mudd, Roger, 1928-2021 (Person)
- White, Paul Welrose, 1902-1955 (Person)
- Friendly, Fred W. (Person)
- Murrow, Edward R. (Person)
- Robert Trout Papers, 1930-2003
- Ready To Publish
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 12/10/2004: Edited with XMetal 2 by Evan Hocker according to instructions in <title xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:type="simple" xlink:href="">TARO 2 EAD 2002 Editing Instructions</title>
- October 2010: Added AR 2009-300 and corrected formatting of scope notes and container lists by Laurel Rozema.
- January 2022: Added AR 2018-056 and AR 2019-122 by Colleen Hobbs.
- 2023-06-07: Access note updated by Colleen Hobbs.