Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the Clete Roberts Papers, 1938-1986
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (201.52 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Clete Roberts Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1938-1986
    Collection number: 1288
    Creator: Roberts, Clete, 1912-1984.
    Extent: 33 boxes (16.5 linear ft.) 2 oversize boxes.
    Abstract: Clete Roberts (1912-1984) was a broadcast journalist and documentary filmmaker. The collection consists of broadcast scripts, reporter's notes, research materials, contracts, correspondence, articles and publicity material, awards, printed matter and ephemera, financial and legal documents, photographs, and audio reels and cassettes.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Custodial History

    This collection was originally boxed in cartons by Mr. Roberts' daughter, Penny Roberts Macdonald. Ms. Macdonald supplied box level descriptions, summarized the collection in a four-page inventory, and included an eight-page biography of her father that she wrote in 1988. In the fall of 2005, the collection was rehoused, described at the folder level, and arranged into series by Elizabeth Sheehan.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Penny Lee Macdonald, Christopher Cletus Roberts, and Heather Marguerite Roberts-Parker, 1999.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Clete Roberts Papers (Collection 1288). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 5322295 


    Clete Roberts (1912-1984) was born Cletus Enoch Haase in Portland, Ore. He began his broadcasting career in Seattle, Wash. in 1928 delivering daily radio stock market reports for the brokerage firm for which he worked. After abandoning aspirations of becoming a professional opera singer, Roberts worked at various Seattle radio stations, including KJR, as a journalist. In 1937 was offered a position as a reporter in Los Angeles by Transradio Press. Within the next several years, Mr. Roberts worked at several Los Angeles radio stations, including KGER as a news editor, KMTR as a news commentator, and KMPC as news director. Roberts joined the Blue Network (which later became the American Broadcasting Company) in 1942. With the outbreak of World War II, he took military leave and joined the Army Air Enlisted Reserve Air Corps where he trained as a pilot. After his discharge, Roberts became a war correspondent for the Blue Network and served with the U.S. Forces in the South Pacific under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. In February 1945, Roberts was assigned by the Blue Network to the European Theater and was named Bureau Manager in Rome, Italy. It was during this tenure that Roberts covered the surrender of German forces in Italy, the death of Mussolini, and obtained exclusive interviews with Donna Rachele Mussolini and Margarita Himmler. Following his tenure as a war correspondent, Roberts settled in Los Angeles and embarked on a broadcasting career that spanned close to forty years, and included groundbreaking work in the early days of television broadcasting. Some of his more notable reporting assignments include: radio pool reporter for "Operation Crossroads", the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests in 1946, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the French and American Viet Nam wars in 1954 and 1968, the 1956 Suez Crisis, and the 1967 Six-Day War. During his broadcasting career, Roberts worked for a number of companies, including KLAC, CBS-KNXT, NBC, KTLA, KHJ, and KCET. In addition to his television journalism, Mr. Roberts produced a variety of news documentaries via his own production companies (U.S. Television Newsfilm and Clete Roberts Film Group). Mr. Roberts died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 73 in Los Angeles, Calif.

    Scope and Content

    This collection documents the activities of Clete Roberts, a broadcast journalist and documentary filmmaker, whose career spanned from 1928 to 1984. The materials primarily document his professional roles as a World War II correspondent, Los Angeles radio and television journalist, independent film producer, actor, and lecturer. The collection also contains personal items which reflect Mr. Roberts' family life and interests, including aviation and travel. The bulk of the collection consists of articles, broadcast scripts, clippings, contracts, correspondence, financial and legal material, photographs, reporter's notes, research material, miscellaneous printed matter and ephemera. There is also one series of audio reels and cassettes.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Acting, 1968-1984 (0.5 boxes).
    2. Broadcasting, 1941-1984 (12.5 boxes), subseries A-K as follows:
      1. ABC, 1945-1947.
      2. Blue Network, 1942-1945.
      3. CBS-KNXT, 1955-1974, bulk 1966-1974.
      4. International News Service, 1947.
      5. KCET, 1974-1984.
      6. KFWB, 1948-1951.
      7. KHJ, 1962-1965.
      8. KLAC, 1950-1951.
      9. KMPC, 1941-1950, bulk 1946-1950.
      10. KTLA, 1959-1962, 1972-1975.
      11. NBC, 1958.
    3. Lectures, 1967-1981 (0.5 boxes).
    4. Personal papers, 1942-1986 (3.5 boxes).
    5. Production companies, 1954-1984 (6 boxes), subseries A-B as follows:
      1. Clete Roberts Film Group, 1973-1984.
      2. USTV, 1954-1979.
    6. Photographic material, 1938-1984 (5 boxes), subseries A-C as follows:
      1. Broadcasting, 1938-1981.
      2. Miscellaneous, 1950-1984.
      3. Personal, 1938-1984.
    7. Audio material, 1948-1980 (4 boxes).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Roberts, Clete, 1912-1984--Archives.
    Radio journalists--United States--Archival resources.
    Television journalists--United States--Archival resources.
    War correspondents--United States--Archival resources.

    Related Material

    Film reels from two of Roberts's earliest broadcasting series, Street Corner USA and World Report, can be located in the UCLA Film and Television Archive.