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Betty T. Girling papers

Identifier: ua00192


Collection contains the papers of Betty T. Girling, director of the Minnesota School of the Air (MSA) at University of Minnesota radio station KUOM.


  • 1936-1979


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law Title 17, U.S. Code. Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Note

Elizabeth (Betty) Thomas Girling (1917-1979) was born on October 20, 1917 in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. She attended St. Margaret's School in Minneapolis.

Betty entered the University of Minnesota in 1936 and obtained a B.A. (1940). She later completed a B.S. (1947) and M.A. (1948) from the College of Education. From September 1, 1940 to June 30, 1941, Girling served as an Administrative Fellow in Radio Broadcasting for the University radio station WLB. She later served as Program Director from 1941 until 1945 when she succeeded Elmer William Ziebarth as Director of The Minnesota School of the Air.

WLB Station Manager Burton Paulu and Program Director Ziebarth initiated The Minnesota School of the Air (MSA) in 1938. The "school" was a series of instructional radio programs written and produced for school-age children to listen to in the classroom, designed to supplement the curriculum of local school districts. Girling oversaw program production, wrote the scripts, and performed in multiple program series. Girling served as Director of the MSA until her death on January 10, 1979. MSA was discontinued at the conclusion of the 1978-1979 season. Many programs broadcasted under the MSA were honored and awarded by national journalism and broadcasting organizations to include Billboard magazine and the National Association of Educational Broadcasters.

Over the course of her 34-year career as director of the MSA, Girling also taught radio production and writing at institutions throughout the country, to include the University of Denver (1945-1949), University of Indiana (1951), Michigan State (1954; 1959), Seattle Public Schools (1953), St. Louis Public Schools (1954), Peabody College (1954-1956), and North Carolina State (1959). From 1965-1966 Girling served as a consultant that developed a curriculum in listening education for the Kansas State Rehabilitation Center for the Blind.

In addition to her duties at University radio station WLB/KUOM, Girling wrote scripts and produced programs for other Twin Cities radio and television stations. Girling served as an advisor for three campus student groups: The Minnesota Radio and Television Guild, Alpha Epsilon Rho, and Zeta Phi Eta. She was also a member of multiple professional organizations, to include the Association for Education by Radio and Television, the national branch of Alpha Epsilon Rho, and Theta Sigma Phi.


25.9 Cubic Feet (22 boxes)


The collection is arranged into 10 series:

  1. Courses, Conventions, and Workshops
  2. General
  3. KUOM Administrative
  4. KUOM Scripts
  5. The Minnesota School of the Air
  6. Non-KUOM Productions
  7. Organizations and Meetings
  8. Personal
  9. Scrapbooks, Diaries, and Planners
  10. Writing, Speeches, and Plays

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives in 1979, 1981 and 1983.

Related Materials in the University Archives

  • Photograph Collection: Images of Betty T. Girling
  • University of Minnesota Radio and Television Broadcasting records: This collection contains a series on the Minnesota School of the Air which includes complementary production and programmatic records. Girling's role at the University radio station is reflected throughout the administrative records. The collection also includes recordings of Minnesota School of the Air programs, many of which are digitized.

Processing Information

Collection was processed in 2016 with funding provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Betty T. Girling papers
Rebecca Toov
April 2005; 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area