Les Midgley papers
Scope and Contents
The Les Midgley Papers, 1936-2002, contain correspondence, memoranda, articles, scripts, drafts, financial and legal documents, and research files, which illuminate the newspaper and television news career of Les Midgley. Primarily concerning Midgley’s tenure as executive producer at CBS News, the collection includes memoranda from Frank Stanton, Richard Salant, Gordon Manning, and others about special projects, programming, and Nielsen ratings as well as from NBC about his transition from CBS. Articles, correspondence, news story drafts and scripts, and research materials document his numerous television shows and news reports about the Vietnam War, the banking industry, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the Warren Report, and his years with The Evening News with Walter Cronkite. The collection also contains early correspondence, articles, and drafts from Midgley’s newspaper career with the Deseret News, the New York Herald-Tribune, Collier’s Weekly, and Look magazine as well as editorials for newspapers, magazines, and journals after he started work in TV news. Correspondence, reviews, royalty statements, drafts, and financial records relate to the publication of his autobiography, How Many Words Do You Want? Furthermore, correspondence, drafts, and publications document his family history and his grandfather Heber J. Grant.
- Creation: 1936 - 2002
- Midgley, Leslie (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Leslie
Les Midgley (1915-2002) was the son of J. George Midgley (1887-1979) and grandson of the seventh Mormon Church president Heber J. Grant. He began his journalism career in 1935, working as a police reporter for the Deseret News. In 1940, Midgley settled in New York City as a reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune, leaving in 1950. Following several years as an editor for Look magazine and Collier’s Weekly, he shifted into television as a producer for CBS News. In 1954, Midgley wrote a morning program, entitled F.Y.I., with Andy Rooney and then produced a half-hour news show with Eric Sevareid.
Next, Midgley produced specials on international events, before becoming executive producer of CBS’s Eyewitness to History in 1959. The show was cancelled four years later, and he became produced for The Evening News with Walter Cronkite. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Midgley controlled the continuous on-air reportage following the assassination through Kennedy’s burial. In 1972, Midgley left The Evening News to work on documentary specials and became head of CBS’s Special Reports Unit. After his retirement from CBS in 1980, Midgley joined NBS News as vice president for special programs, leaving a few years later in order to teach.
During his years in the television news industry, Midgley continued to write editorials and research articles for newspapers, magazines, and journals. In 1989, he published an autobiography, How Many Words Do You Want?: An Insider’s Story of Print and Television Journalism. Midgley married Jean Burke (d. 1965), with whom he had three children: Leslie Midgley, Jr., Andrea Connors, and Peter Midgley. In 1967, he married actress and consumer advocate Betty Furness (1916-1994).
Leslie Midgley, 87; Developed TV Specials on Breaking News.
Los Angeles Times,http://articles.latimes.com/2002/jun/29/local/me-midgley29 (accessed September 13, 2010).
4 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The Les Midgley Papers, 1936-2002, contain correspondence, memoranda, articles, scripts, drafts, financial and legal documents, and research files, which illuminate the newspaper and television news career of Les Midgley.
Organization and Arrangement
The collection is divided into four series:
- I. CBS News
- II. NBC News
- III. Other work
- IV. Personal
This collection was processed by Jocelyn Petyak, December, 2010.
- Les Midgley Papers, 1936-2002
- Ready To Publish
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