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Samuel C. Brightman Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

The adult education holdings are collectively known as the
Alexander N. Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Finding aid created by: MRR
Date: 28 Jun 2006

Biographical History

Samuel C. Brightman was born in Lancaster, Missouri on June 22, 1911. He graduated from Washington University with a liberal arts degree and earned a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He worked for the St. Louis Star-Times (1933-1935), the Cincinnati Post (1935-1940), radio station KSD in St. Louis (1937), and the Louisville Courier-Journal (1940-1942) covering education and politics. In 1941 he became the Washington correspondent for the Courier-Journal and in 1942 he enlisted in the army where he served as a Public Relations Officer. He accompanied U.S. forces during the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach (his dispatches were the first ones received from the front, for which efforts he was awarded a Bronze Star) and led the press convoy into Berlin the day it fell.

After returning from Europe he worked as Special Assistant to the Housing Expediter (a federal agency established in 1946 to deal with veterans' housing and rent control), writing a number of speeches for the director. In 1947 he married Lucy Cleaver, with whom he had four children. That same year, he began a nearly twenty-year career with the Democratic National Committee, serving as associate director of publicity (1947-1952), director of publicity (1952-1957), and deputy chairman for public affairs (1957-1965). He was also managing editor and later editor of the party organ, The Democratic Digest.

In 1965 he returned to freelance PR and journalism work, covering elections and national party conventions for the three major television networks and writing for a number of publications including TV Guide, Monocle, and the New York Times.

After his retirement, Brightman became interested in adult education, particularly as it related to the political process and civic literacy. He edited a Washington, DC-based newsletter covering adult education entitled Adult and Continuing Education Today (ACET), acted as consultant to the National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSC), served on the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Adult Education Organizations (CAEO), and was an active member of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE).

Brightman's energy, curiosity, intelligence, and sense of humor infused both his personal and his professional life throughout his long career. He died in 1992, and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Samuel C. Brightman Papers reflects its creator's lifelong interest in politics, education, and civic literacy. The collections is divided into six series. Although the majority of his writings have been collected into a single series, he often discoursed on political or humorous topics with friends and family; for this reason the researcher interested in Brightman's writings will wish to review the correspondence files as well.

Biographical and family material includes biographies written for Who's Who and other publications, family correspondence, transcripts of two oral history interviews (one for the John F. Kennedy Library and the other for the Truman Library), and a considerable amount of material on World War II, both contemporary and relating to the 40th anniversary of the Normandy Beach landings in 1984. Of particular interest are Brightman's writings, including a few letters to family and friends, a history of the army public relations office and approximately 20 pages of typescript on his experiences in Europe during and after the Omaha Beach landing on D-Day. Among Brightman's World War II memorabilia is a certificate for the Ehrenkreuzes der Deutschen Mutter (Honor Cross of the German Mother), a souvenir of Brightman's entry with the press corps into Berlin and which appears to bear the signature of Adolf Hitler.

Memorabilia contains various certificates and souvenir items, such as a 1991 Gulf War protest poster and the souvenir menu from Pan Am airlines' first transatlantic jet flight.

Correspondence-subject files consist primarily of incoming correspondence though there are some carbons and photocopies of outgoing letters. This series includes fellow journalists (Art Buchwald, Marquis Childs, Ernie Deane, Russ Baker); politicians and political entities (Democratic National Committee, Adlai Stevenson); adult educators (Alexander Charters, Mary Grefe, Malcolm Knowles, Laubach Literacy); and various civic organizations (Kettering Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Committee for Public Broadcasting, National Council for Senior Citizens).

Writings (SCB) encompasses Brightman's journalistic and professional output over his career: articles, book proposals, a seven-article series for the Cincinnati Post recounting his travels through 1939 Europe just prior to the outbreak of war, columns from the Louisville Courier-Journal and other newspapers, press releases, speeches, and notes. Also included here are publications edited by Brightman: Adult and Continuing Education Today (ACET), the Democratic Digest, Dirge (college humor magazine), and more.

As fuel for his own writing and as ideas for his publications, Brightman amassed a substantial collection of writings by others on topics that interested him such as politics, adult education, civic literacy and the problems facing senior citizens. Writings (others) includes books, clippings, papers and articles.

Miscellaneous includes preview material for a series of audio-print courses offered by Annenberg and the Committee for Public Broadcasting and a film strip/speech for the Democratic National Committee, among other things.

Arrangement of the Collection

Material is arranged alphabetically by name, type, or title.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

As originally received, the Samuel C. Brightman Papers included a number of items of potential interest to a wide range of researchers (see below). To increase their visibility, these items have been removed from the collection and cataloged separately. For more information on these items, please contact the repository listed above or search the Classic Catalog.

A complete run of the Democratic Digest, edited by Brightman (copies of the first and last issue can be found in the collection under Writings (SCB): Edited by SCB: Democratic Digest).
Programs from Democratic National Conventions in the 1950s and 1960s and various other Democratic National Party publications.
Several issues of Le Tomahawk, the 19th corps newspaper, published from Normandy Beachhead and other locations in 1944. Photocopies of the back page, which material may have been written by Brightman, can be found in Biographical and family material: World War II: Writings

The library holds a considerable number of collections related to adult and continuing education. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Brightman, Samuel C. (Samuel Charles), 1911-
Baker, Russell, 1925-
Buchwald, Art.
Childs, Marquis W. (Marquis William), 1903-1990.
Deane, Ernie.
Knowles, Malcolm S. (Malcolm Shepherd), 1913-1997.
Tjerandsen, Carl.

Corporate Bodies

Coalition of Adult Education Organizations.
Democratic National Committee (U.S.)
International Council for Adult Education.
National Coalition for Public Education.
National Council of Senior Citizens.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989.

Associated Titles

Adult and Continuing Education Today.
Democratic Digest.
The Brightman Report.


Adult education.
Continuing education.
War correspondents.
World War, 1939-1945.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)


Adult educators.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Samuel C. Brightman Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Samuel C. Brightman, David Brightman (son).

Table of Contents

Biographical and family material


Correspondence-subject files

Writings by Brightman

Writings by others