Erlandson Collection of American School of the Air Papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US TxSaT SC.017

Level of description



Erlandson Collection of American School of the Air Papers


  • 1920-1967 (bulk 1929-1930) (Creation)


4 boxes (2 linear feet)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Raymond Sanford Erlandson was born in 1893. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1918 and a master's degree in education from George Washington University in 1922. During World War I he served as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery. After the war, he served as business manager of the National Education Association, director of broadcasting for Majestic Radio, sales manager at the Zenith Radio Corporation, and vice president of the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company. Erlandson was the founder of the American School of the Air at CBS and was President of the American Music War Council during World War II. He moved to San Antonio in 1945 and became co-owner of the San Antonio Music Company and Bledsoe Furniture Company. From 1953 through 1964 Erlandson was Chairman of the Department of Business at Trinity University. Upon his retirement, he became President and CEO of the Children's Fund, which later became the American Institute for Character Education. Erlandson was very involved in his community, particularly through Rotary International, the American Red Cross, the University Presbyterian Church, Fiesta Association, and the Alamo Presbytery Committee. He was married to Margery Ann McKillop Erlandson (1894-1981) and had three sons, Ray Erlandson Jr., William Erlandson, and Dr. Paul Erlandson.

Name of creator

Administrative history

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection consists of materials from the creation of the American School of the Air radio program. Series 1 contains correspondence regarding the creation of the program; noteworthy correspondents include CBS president William S. Paley and NBC president Merlin Aylesworth. Series 2 contains teachers manuals for various seasons of the broadcast. Series 3 contains promotional materials, and Series 4 contains other planning documents. Series 5 contains letters from listeners and educators interested in the program; notable correspondents include Strom Thurmond, a school superintendent at that time. Series 6 contains pamphlets that were inspiration for future programming. Series 7 contains scripts for episodes of American School of the Air that were broadcast in 1930. Authors of these episodes include Thornton Burgess, Howard Hanson, Henry Turner Bailey, David Ross, Julius Klein, William John Cooper, William Ford Manley, and Henry Fisk Carlton. Many scripts contain producer notes from Erlandon. Series 8 contains publications from Freedom's Code, a civics education program advanced by Erlandson in the 1960s, and Series 9 contains biographical information and correspondence concerning the collection.

System of arrangement

For the most part, this collection maintains the organizational structure described by Erlandson in his December 12, 1967 letter to Trinity University library director Robert Houze.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the Special Collections & Archives reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

    Language and script notes

    Finding aids

    Acquisition and appraisal elements

    Custodial history

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Given to Trinity University by Ray Erlandson, December 1967.

    Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


    Related materials elements

    Existence and location of originals

    Existence and location of copies

    Related archival materials

    The J. David Goldin Collection at the Marr Sound Archives, University of Missouri Kansas City, contains audio recordings of many American School of the Air broadcasts.

    Related descriptions

    Notes element

    Specialized notes

    • Citation: Erlandson Collection of American School of the Air Papers. Coates Library Special Collections & Archives, Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).

    Alternative identifier(s)

    Description control element

    Rules or conventions


    Sources used

    Archivist's note

    Finding aid created by Colleen Hoelscher, August 14, 2019.

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    Accession area