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John M. Kittross Papers

Identifier: MSS 038

Scope and Contents

The John M. Kittross papers contain materials that revolve around Kittross's career and relationship with Emerson College, Emerson College Faculty, and Emerson College students. Kittross held a number of roles throughout his professional relationship with Emerson College. Correspondence is the bulk of the materials in Kittross's collection, as his roles as academic dean and provost required frequent communication with department and college leaders. Supplementing correspondence, the second most populous materials are Kittross's comments and edits on reaccreditation materials, department proposals, and degree proposals. Kittross was active outside of strictly academic considerations, and received facilities plans for the college campuses and financial plans and budgets.


  • 1976-1997


Language of Materials

Records in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers. No materials may be checked out of the Emerson College Archives & Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials may be subject to copyright. No part of the materials protected by copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the copyright holder. Researchers are required to seek permission from the copyright holder to reproduce and/or publish materials under copyright.

Biographical / Historical

John Michael Kittross, born in 1929, has served many roles in the field of communications. Kittross's career includes titles such as professor, editor, dean, and writer. Kittross is also a notable and active member of the Broadcast Education Association. Kittross received a Bachelor of Arts in creative arts-drama at Antioch College and subsequently attended Boston University of a masters in communication arts, and later earned his Ph.D. at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1959. Kittross joined Emerson College officially in 1984 after being a consultant for Emerson in earlier years. His first official role was Academic Dean, and later became Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. In 1987 Kittross elected to serve as professor in the communications department instead of administrate, and did so for six years. Underlying his tenure at Emerson, Kittross contributed to a number of notable works in the communications fields, notable titles including: Administration of American Telecommunications Policy (1980) and Stay Tuned: A Concise History of American Broadcasting (now in its third edition, 2002). After his time at Emerson, Kittross coauthored another book entitled Controversies in Media Ethics (1999). This preoccupation with ethics in media blossomed into Kittross assuming the role of editor at Media Ethics magazine, where he is still serving as editor.


6.25 linear feet


This collection is arranged into five series. Series 1, Academic, is the largest of the collection, and is divided into four subseries: miscellaneous, university reaccreditation, legal, and academic master plans. The second series, Presidential Search, and is comprised solely of materials revolving around efforts to secure a president for Emerson College in 1993. The third series, Facilities, includes correspondence and plans regarding changes or improvements to Emerson's campuses. The fourth series, Faculty/Staff, including correspondence and professional organization materials. The fifth and final series, Financial, includes an array of budgets and financial plans for Emerson College. Most materials are arranged by year within their series and subseries, exceptions only being in the case of undated materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated by John M. Kittross to Emerson College several years after his retirement from Emerson College.


No additional materials are expected.


Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [Container number], [Folder Title], John M. Kittross Papers, Emerson College Archives & Special Collections, Emerson College, Boston, MA.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Molly Brown, 19 April 2016.

John M. Kittross Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Emerson College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Walker Building, Room 223
120 Boylston Street
Boston Massachusetts 02116 United States
(617) 824-8301