University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Harry Reasoner Papers, 1944-1999

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Reasoner, Harry, 1923-1991
Title: Reasoner, Harry, Papers
Dates: 1944-1999
Abstract: Correspondence, news reports, financial records, publications, transcripts, photographs, audio and videocassettes, 16 mm motion picture film, newspaper clippings, and an FBI File comprise the Harry Reasoner Papers, 1944-1999, documenting his career as an American journalist and author.
Accession No.: 98-195, 98-368; 2002-120; 2011-310; 2014-142
OCLC No.: 68903440
Extent: 43 ft. 11 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

American journalist Harry Reasoner (1923-1991) was born in Dakota City, Iowa to Harry Ray Reasoner and Eunice Nicholl. In 1939, Reasoner was left to raise himself at age sixteen after his father died from a fall and his mother’s passing just a few years prior. He studied journalism at Stanford University and the University of Minnesota. While serving in World War II, he began writing his first novel entitled Tell Me About Women, published in 1946. His other publications include: The Reasoner Report (1966), The World Today (1975), and Before the Colors Fade (1981).

In 1956, Reasoner began working for CBS News, where he would spend the majority of his career. During 1961, the station asked him to co-host the weekday news program, Calendar, with Mary Fickett until its final air in 1963. He hosted 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace in 1968, leaving in 1970 to work as an anchor for the ABC Evening News, first with Howard K. Smith and later with Barbara Walters in 1976. Reasoner, however, rejoined 60 Minutes in 1978 after returning to CBS, remaining at both until his retirement in 1991.


McKeever, Stuart A. “Going Home.”

Severo, Richard. “Harry Reasoner, 68, Newscaster Known for His Fry Wit, Is Dead.” The New York Times. August 7, 1991. Accessed November 4, 2011.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, news reports, financial records, publications, transcripts, photographs, audio and videocassettes, 16 mm motion picture film, newspaper clippings, and an FBI File comprise the Harry Reasoner Papers, 1944-1999, documenting his career as an American journalist and author.

Correspondence is composed of both professional and personal letters written during the 1960s-1990s, and include ones penned in November 1970 by Lyndon Baines Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Richard Nixon in congratulation for Reasoner’s career move from CBS to ABC. Several news reports from CBS and ABC, including Nixon’s resignation and Ford’s swearing-in. Financial records concern documents from Reasoner and Associates, Inc. (1988), as well as expense notebooks (1966-1968). Publications are comprised of works authored by Reasoner and several others, including twenty-one copies of Before the Colors Fade, in addition to edited drafts, and book reviews of the same. Transcripts are from several news broadcasts (1964-1991), including 60 minutes, the Reasoner Reports, ABC news essay, and CBS News Special Reports. Photographs (1959-1974) include photo albums and autographed images of Reasoner. Videocassettes capture a number of news broadcasts, but are primarily of 60 Minutes from the 1980s. Audiocassettes record the GOP National Convention (June 26, 1944), Charles Collingwood’s memorial service (October 9, 1985), and interviews (1985-1999) used by Douglass Daniel for writing his biography on Reasoner. Interviews include family members and several individuals in the news industry, such as Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, and Andy Rooney. 16mm motion picture film reels are of the Reasoner Reports and 60 Minutes from the 1970s, as well as Calendars from 1963. The collection also includes a Photostat of an FBI file on Reasoner.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use of audio material by appointment only; please contact sound archivist for more information.

Use of video material by appointment only; please contact repository for more information.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Reasoner, Harry, 1923-1991 -- Archives.
Subjects (Organizations)
ABC News.
CBS News.
Television broadcasting of news -- United States.
60 minutes (Television program).
CBS evening news (Television program).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Harry Reasoner Papers, 1944-1999, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Archives staff. Subsequent revisions were made by Maria Soscia November 2011 and Esther Kirchner December 2014

This collection contains unprocessed materials.

Detailed Description of the Papers



4Ja15 Professional correspondence 1964-1972
ABC Evening News briefing books, 1971-1972
4Ja16 60 Minutes broadcasts on 3/4 inch videocassettes, 1980s [16 cassettes]
4Ja17 Before the Colors Fade, by Harry Reasoner, 1981 [21 copies]
4Ja18 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch videocassettes of various broadcasts [10 cassettes]
Harry Reasoner at the GOP National Convention, June 26, 1944
Hartford on Tour
Harry Reasoner at the GOP National Convention, June 26, 1944
The Gurkhas, by Byron Farwell, 1984
Biafra Journal, by Michael Mock, 1968
4Ja19 Reasoner and Associates, Inc., financial records, January-December 1988
4Ja20 60 Minutes transcripts, September 24, 1968 - June 29, 1980
4Ja21 Photographs
“Commentary” publicity material, ABC News,
4Ja22 Personal correspondence
Appointment calendars, 1963-1965, 1967, 1972
Expense notebooks, 1966-1968
Press credentials
4Ja23 Before the Colors Fade, edited drafts
Tony U: Investigator, by Stuart A. McKeever with Tony Ulasewicz 1982
4Ja24 Professional correspondence, 1972-1978
Memoranda 1969-1979
4Ja25 Reasoner Reports transcripts, April 5-June 28, 1975
ABC News essays, transcripts, 1972
Essay on bridges, February 15, 1965
Behind the Lines transcript, February 15, 1965
Credibility of President Nixon: A Survey of Public Opinion, November 1973
ABC News Election Special, transcript, November 5, 1974
“ABC News coverage of Nixon resignation and Ford’s swearing-in,” transcript, August 8-9, 1974
CBS News Special Reports transcripts, 1965-1978
“Bicentennial Show” transcript, July 4, 1976
Miscellaneous scripts
4Ja26 Newspaper clippings, 1972-1981
Before the Colors Fade, book reviews, 1981
4Ja27 Reasoner Reports, radio transcripts:
4Ja28 1968-1970
4Ja29 Reasoner Reports and 60 Minutes broadcasts on 16 mm motion picture film, 1970s
1 unidentified phonotape
4Ja30 Photographs
Personal correspondence
Press credentials
Business cards
Reasoner Reports broadcasts on 16 mm motion picture film, 1973-1975
60 Minutes broadcast on 16 mm motion picture film,
4Ja31 “CBS News Campaign ‘90 General Election” briefing book
Manila: photograph album, 1952-1954
Content Analysis of the News Commentaries of Harry Reasoner, by John R. Hicks,
Harry Reasoner, ABC News Correspondent: The Philosophy of a Network Television News Broadcaster, by Susan Colleen Engelhart, MA Thesis, University of Akron, 1977
Unidentified 2 inch videotapes [2]
Unidentified 3 inch phonotapes [2]
4Ja32 Before the Colors Fade, advance edition
Writing News for Broadcast, by Edward Bliss, Jr., and John M. Patterson, 1978
55 Years Before the Mike, by Bob DeHaven, 1985
“Commentary” publicity material, ABC News,
60 Minutes broadcasts on 3/4 inch videocassettes, 1981-1988 [12 cassettes]
First episode of 60 Minutes on VHS, 1968
4Ja33 Reasoner desk contents:
Appointment calendars, 1979, 1983-1986
Reasoner and Associates checkbook
Personal checkbook
Business cards
Personal correspondence
4Ja34 60 Minutes and Reasoner Reports broadcasts on 3/4 inch videocassettes [4 cassettes]
Unidentified 16 mm motion picture film [18 reels]
Unidentified phonotapes [25 reels]
4Ja35 Willie L. Brown, Jr.: Reflections, by Harry Reasoner
My Wide World, by Jim McKay, 1973
If No News Send Rumors, by Stephen Bates, 1989
The Boys on the Bus, by Timothy Crouse, 1972
CBS News Special Reports publicity packet, 1966-1967
16 mm motion picture film:
60 Minutes
Reasoner Reports
Calendars CBS, 1963, undated [4 reels]
4Ja36 Photographs, 1959-1974
4Ja37 Newspaper clippings, 1983-1991
“Commentary” publicity material, ABC News
ABC Evening News:
Promotional material
Market research
Statistical reports
4Ja38 Reasoner manuscripts and photographs, 1960-1965:
News stories
Personal and creative works
Christmas cards
Guest book
4Ja39 Contents of Harry Reasoner’s personal desk drawer:
Financial records, stock and insurance statements
Business cards
ABC News notebooks
4Ja40 Personal correspondence, P-Z, 1970-1981
4Ja41 60 Minutes transcripts, 1970-1981
4Ja42 Before the Colors Fade by Harry Reasoner [2 copies]
Autographed photographs of Harry Reasoner
Correspondence, 1990-1991
4Ja43 Newspaper clippings, 1965-1971
4Ja44 60 Minutes Transcripts, July 13, 1980-February 7, 1982
Transcripts, July 13, 1980 - February 7, 1982
4Ja45 Bluesheets
Biographical sketches
Personal correspondence, 1978-1990
4Ja46 Personal correspondence, A-P, 1970-1981
4Ja47 60 Minutes segments of 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch videocassettes [13 cassettes]
4Ja48 Reasoner Reports ABC News transcripts:
February 24-August 25, 1973
4Ja49 September 1, 1973 - July 6, 1974
4Ja50 60 Minutes transcripts, April 1, 1984 - June 9, 1985
Personal correspondence, 1978-1990
4Ja51 Personal correspondence, 1978-1990
Speeches, 1976-1990
Personal financial and travel records, 1963-1970
4Ja52 1979-1991
4Ja53 60 Minutes 1963-1970
February 14, 1982 - March 25, 1984
4Ja54 June 16, 1985 - October 19, 1986
4Ja55 ABC Evening News commentaries 1971-1977
4Ja56 “Reasoner Reports” transcripts, July 13, 1974 - March 29, 1975
Letters of congratulations written on the event of Harry Reasoner’s move from CBS News to ABC News:
Lyndon Baines Johnson, November 7, 1970
Hubert Humphrey, November 14, 1970
Richard M. Nixon, November 23, 1970
4Ja57 Correspondence
Manuscript, “How It All Came Apart”
Book, Before the Colors Fade
VHS videocassettes: Harry Reasoner speeches, memorial tributes
Transcripts: Harry Reasoner speeches, memorial tributes
Newspaper clippings
High school diploma, 1940
“Eisenhower Years” interview with Richard C. Butler by John Luter, August 17, 1971
Notes, reports, printed material and transcripts, 1958-1969, 1978, undated
Notes, reports, printed material and transcripts, 1958-1969, 1978, undated
60 Minutes transcripts, 1991
TV Guide transcripts, 1964
ABC Nightly News poster 1964
The Traveller's Men's Club's “Inside Politics ‘64” photographs, 1964
Photostat of FBI file on Harry Reasoner
4Zf43 150 Audiocassettes and one 16mm motion picture film of interviews used by Douglass Daniels for his biography on Reasoner, 1985-1999, undated
2.325/K72b Oversize documents
2.116/OD1177 Good bye posters with Reasoner's picture and co-workers' signatures and messages
3S241 Oversize photographs