Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Gordon Greb Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Related Materials
  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Removed Books
  • Processing Information

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Gordon Greb Papers
    creator: Greb, Gordon B.
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS-2014-09-27
    Physical Description: 11 boxes (12.2 linear feet)
    Date (inclusive): 1959-2010
    Physical Description: Good
    Abstract: The Gordon Greb papers contain documentation related to the world’s first radio broadcasting station, the 1969 strike by faculty at San Jose State College, and the creation of San Jose State's Mass Communications program.

    Scope and Contents

    The Gordon Greb Papers contain records related to three central activities in Greb’s professional life: the identification, documentation and establishment of the world’s first radio broadcasting station in San Jose, California in 1909; the documentation of the 1969 strike by faculty at San Jose State College; and the creation of San Jose State's Mass Communications program. The collection is divided into four series: Series I. 1969 American Federation of Teachers Strike at San Jose State College; Series II. First Radio Broadcasting Station Claim; Series III. Publications authored by Greb; and Series IV. Broadcast Journalism at San Jose State.
    The first series contains documents issued by both the AFT and SJSC related to the faculty strike that took place in early 1969 on the campuses of San Francisco and San Jose State Colleges. Official statements, minutes from meetings, newsletters and other types of documentation authored by AFT and circulated among its members are included in this series. Documents from SJSC include letters from the then-President of SJSC, members of the public, and members of the Board of Trustees; and papers and newsletters issued by student organizations. Also included in this series are news recordings of the strikes, some of which were recorded by the Journalism department on the SJSC campus.
    Materials related to Greb’s claim that Charles Herrold established the world’s first radio broadcasting station in San Jose, California in 1909 consist primarily of the recordings of interviews with individuals who worked at the station, including Herrold's wife Sybil True and Herrold’s student assistant, Ray Newby. Herrold’s station began regularly broadcasting content such as music and news reports to San Jose residents in 1909 and continued through 1934. New owners moved the station to San Francisco that year, where it eventually received new call letters in 1949, and is still on the air today as San Francisco’s KCBS. Greb presented his claim in 1959 when he published the Golden anniversary of broadcasting in the winter 1959 edition of the Journal of Broadcasting. A week-long celebration of that anniversary took place in April 1959 in San Jose, primarily at San Jose State College, much of which is documented in this collection. Other materials related to Greb’s research and defense of his claim include newspaper clippings, journal articles, and talks presented by Greb.
    The third series consists of copies of Greb’s publications: the book that resulted from his research into the first radio broadcasting station, Charles Herrold, Inventor of Radio Broadcasting; and his memoir, entitled Google Brain: Making your memoir a "time machine" on the Internet. The fourth series consists of materials related to the creation and implementation of San Jose State's graduate program in Mass Communications, including photos and audio recordings.


    The Gordon Greb Papers is arranged in four series: Series I: 1969 American Federation of Teachers Strike at San Jose State College; Series II: First Radio Broadcasting Station Claim; Series III: Publications Authored by Greb; and Series IV. Broadcast Journalism at San Jose State.
    Series I is organized by the type of document or material represented in the collection: papers issued by the parties involved in the strike, newspaper clippings and recordings. Series II is also organized by type of material or document represented in the collection: oral histories and interviews, the 50th anniversary celebration of radio broadcasting, media coverage and talks, and awards and recognitions conveyed on Greb by various organizations. Series III is arranged chronologically by date of publication. Series IV is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

    Biographical / Historical

    Gordon B. Greb was born August 7, 1921 a fourth generation Californian from Irvington (Alameda County) California, and grew up in Oakland and San Leandro. Upon completing a BA at University California at Berkeley in the spring of 1939, Greb attained a Masters from University of Minnesota and then conducted graduate work at Stanford University. Gordon Greb began his tenure at San Jose State University in 1956 in the Journalism Department, and helped to create the first Broadcasting major on the West Coast.
    On February 15, 1959, Greb published an article in the Journal of Broadcasting, Winter Issue of 1959, arguing that San Jose, California was the birthplace of radio broadcasting. Providing documentation and first-hand interviews, Greb helped to prove that the first broadcaster was a Stanford University drop out named Charles David "Doc" Herrold. Beginning in 1909, Herrold transmitted regularly scheduled programs from his school of College of Engineering and Wireless Technology in the Garden City Bank building located in downtown San Jose. This experimentation predated the previous historical claim that radio broadcasting began in New York City in 1922 by thirteen years. Soon after the article's publication, Greb coordinated a celebratory event with local Sigma Delta Chi Broadcasting Society in San Jose from March 28 to April 3, 1959 to commemorate the golden anniversary of radio broadcasting.
    Between 1968 and 1970, Gordon Greb participated in a teacher’s strike at San Jose State. He handled press relations for local union teacher leader Al Rutherford, and state leader John Sterling of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT local 1362) during a 37 day strike lasting between 1968 and 1969 at San Jose State College. The strike was initially opposed by Governor Ronald Reagan, but ultimately led to legislation that granted collective bargaining rights to teachers.
    Greb was a professor of Journalism from 1956 to 1991, in all media platforms, and established broadcast journalism as a new program at SJSU in 1957, which became California’s first BA offered in that discipline. Among the books he has authored are Charles Herrold, Inventor of Radio Broadcasting with Mike Adams, 2003, and Google Brain: Making Your Memoir a “Time Machine” on the Internet, 2009.

    Related Materials

    Dwight Bentel Papers, MSS 2004-04-02 San José State University ITV Studio Records, MSS-2018-06-29

    Preferred Citation

    Gordon Greb Papers, MSS-2014-09-27, San Jose State University Library, Special Collections & Archives.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright has been assigned to the San Jose State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jose State University Library Special Collections and Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research with the exception of recorded interviews in Series II.

    Removed Books

    Included in the collection were a number of books, which were separated from the papers, cataloged, and added to the King Library's Special Collections book collection.
    Lescarboura, Austin C. Radio for Everybody. New York: Scientific American Publishing Company, 1922.
    Shurick, E.P.J. The First Quarter Century of American Broadcasting. Kansas City: Midland Publishing Company, 1946.
    Barnouw, Erik. A Tower in Babel: A History of Broadcasting in the United States Volume I - to 1933. New York: Oxford University Press, 1966.
    Greb, Gordon. Google Brain: Making Your Memoir a Time Machine on the Internet. New York: iUniverse, Inc., 2009.
    Greb, Gordon, and Mike Adams. Charles Herrold, Inventor of Radio Braodcasting. Jefferson, North Caroline: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2003.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Victor Rodriguez II, December 2015. Accruals processed by Kate Steffens in December 2018. Accruals processed by Fiona DuBrock in June 2019.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    San José State University -- Journalism Department -- History
    Herrold, Charles
    Radio broadcasting
    American Federation of Teachers
    Strikes and lockouts -- Universities and colleges -- San Jose (Calif.)
    Newby, Ray
    Greb, Gordon B.