TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Administrative Information

Biography of Alfred Balk

Scope and Content of the Collection

Organization

Selected Search Terms

Container List

Series 1: Correspondence, 1952-2009

Series 2: Career, 1953-2010

Subseries 1: Published and unpublished works, 1953-2008

Subseries 2: Speeches,1971-2006

Subseries 3: Chicago Period,1959-2010

Subseries 4: Books, 1967-2007

Subseries 5: Saturday Review, 1966-2008

Subseries 6: Columbia Journalism Review, 1969-2006

Subseries 7: World Press Review, 1970-2002

Subseries 8: IEEE Spectrum, 1989-1993

Series 3: Volunteer & Foundation Work, 1960-2009

Series 4: Personal, 1941-2007

Series 5: Photographs and Audiovisual, 1955-2008

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Inventory of the Alfred Balk Papers, 1941-2010, bulk 1953-1993


The Newberry Library
Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610-7324
USA
Phone: 312-255-3506
Fax: 312-255-3646
E-Mail: specialcolls@newberry.org
URL: http://www.newberry.org

Machine-readable finding aid encoded by Kelly Kress, 2011.

©2011.


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Creator Balk, Alfred, 1930-2010
Title Alfred Balk Papers
Dates 1941-2010
Dates bulk 1953-1993
Extent 12.5 linear feet (31 boxes)
Abstract Papers of Iowa-born and Northwestern-educated journalist Alfred Balk, documenting his career, first as a Chicago newswriter for WBBM, reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and freelance contributor to major national magazines, and later as an editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, World Press Review, Saturday Review, and IEEE Spectrum, and faculty member at Columbia and Syracuse. Includes correspondence, working files for his freelance articles, his books and other writings, together with files relating to his editorial positions.
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Newberry Library, Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
Collection Call Number Midwest MS Balk
Collection Stack Location 3a 23 5-6

Administrative Information

Cite As

Alfred Balk Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Provenance

Gift of Alfred Balk, 2010.

Processed by

Kelly Kress, 2011.

Access

The Alfred Balk Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Alfred Balk Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

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Biography of Alfred Balk

Iowa-born, Northwestern-educated journalist.

Alfred Balk was born July 24, 1930, in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and grew up in Muscatine and Rock Island, Iowa. He began his journalism career as a high school sports reporter for the Rock Island Argus, and continued writing while a student at Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism. He also worked as a newswriter for WBBM-TV while in college. In 1952 Alfred Balk married Phyllis Munter, whom he met in high school when they both participated in a radio broadcast program designed to connect students from rival schools. The Balks had two daughters, Laraine and Diane.

After college Alfred Balk served in the United States Army, and was stationed in Japan during 1954-1955. He began freelancing for magazines while in Japan, and also wrote for a variety of military newspapers during his service. Upon returning to Chicago, he spent a year as a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, and also worked briefly in public relations before turning to freelance work full time. During the next eight years, Balk produced articles for Reader's Digest, Harper's, the Saturday Evening Post and Saturday Review, among others. Significant articles for Harper's included reports on corruption in the Illinois legislature, co-authored with Senator Paul Simon, zoning abuses, and tax breaks enjoyed by religious institutions. Reader's Digest contributions covered nursing-home neglect, Great Lakes water issues, and threatened parkland areas. For The Saturday Evening Post, Balk collaborated with Alex Haley for an article about Black Muslims and the Nation of Islam, and also exposed the racist practice of real estate "blockbusting," which led to a landmark 1972 civil court decison protecting journalists' rights to source confidentiality. Other Post articles included the fallout shelter craze of the 1950s and a young minister's story on leaving the ministry.

In 1966, Alfred Balk took a job as Feature Editor and Editor-at-Large of Saturday Review, and the family moved to New York City. Balk spent four years with SR and then took over editorship of Columbia Journalism Review, where he converted the magazine from a quarterly to a bi-monthly publication, developed a long-range advertising business plan, and co-edited a 10th anniversary anthology. Balk worked with CJR until 1973, then moved on to World Press Review, a monthly foreign press digest which succeeded Atlas magazine. In twelve years with WPR, Balk also served as publisher, initiated the International Editor of the Year award, and guided the magazine through a number of business and editorial issues. From 1989-1991 Balk was managing editor of IEEE Spectrum, the flagship publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He left the magazine world to join the faculty of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, from which he retired in 1994. The Balks returned to the Chicago area in 1999, settling in Huntley, Illinois.

During the course of his career, Alfred Balk also published seven books: The Religion Business (1968); The Free List: Property Without Taxes (1971); Our Troubled Press: Ten Years of Columbia Journalism Review (co-authored with James Boylan, 1971); A Free and Responsive Press (1973); The Myth of American Eclipse: The New Global Age (1990); Movie Palace Masterpieces: Saving Syracuse's Lowes' State/Landmark Theatre (1998); and The Rise of Radio, from Marconi through the Golden Age (2006).

Alfred Balk dedicated much of his long career to improving the media. He served on a task force for the Twentieth Century Fund charged with establishing the National News Council, and was an Executive Committee member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and Overseas Press Club. Balk also consulted for the Ford Foundation and the John and Mary Markle Foundation on media issues, as well as providing media commentary for Nieman Reports, Editor & Publisher, CBS Morning News, and other journalism outlets.

Alfred Balk died of cancer at his home in Huntley, Illinois, on Thanksgiving Day, 2010.

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Scope and Content of the Collection

Materials related to Alfred Balk's journalism career including correspondence, working files for freelance articles, books, speeches, and other writings, files relating to his editorial positions, volunteer, and foundation work, also personal items and photographs.

Correspondence spans Alfred Balk's entire career and includes letters from Isaac Asimov, Jaques Barzun, Norman Cousins, Fred Friendly, Alex Haley, Paul Simon, and Alvin Toffler. Working files document Alfred Balk's freelance writing for Harper's, Reader's Digest, and The Saturday Evening Post, among other publications, and include materials related to "Confessions of a Blockbuster" and the resulting court case, as well as notes from interviews with Saul Alinsky, Richard J. Daley, and Malcolm X. Editorial files reflect his work at Saturday Review, Columbia Journalism Review, World Press Review, and IEEE Spectrum.

Personal items include biographical articles, clippings and souvenirs from Alfred Balk's US Army service in Japan, and correspondence and clippings regarding friends and contacts from his youth in Iowa. Items include diplomas from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and certificates from Sigma Delta Chi. Photographs feature Alfred Balk, his family and associates, as well as events and organizations he participated in.

Alfred Balk kept meticulous, organized files. Original order and file names were retained whenever possible, and a copy of his original typed inventory is available upon request.

Narrative descriptions of the subject matter, types of material, and arrangement of each series are available through the Organization section of the finding aid.

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Organization

Papers are organized in the following series:

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Selected Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Newberry Library's public catalog. Researchers desiring additional materials on a particular topic should search the catalog using these headings.

Names

  • Alinsky, Saul, 1909-1972
  • American Society of Magazine Editors
  • Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992
  • Balk, Alfred, 1930-2010
  • Barzun, Jacques, 1907-
  • Cousins, Norman
  • Daley, Richard J., 1902-1976
  • Haley, Alex
  • Harper's magazine
  • Johnson, John H. (John Harold), 1918-2005
  • Kupcinet, Irv
  • Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
  • National News Council (U.S.)
  • Overseas Press Club of America
  • Saturday Evening Post
  • Saturday review (New York, N.Y.: 1952)
  • Simon, Paul, 1928-2003
  • Society of Magazine Writers
  • Toffler, Alvin
  • X, Malcolm, 1925-1965

Subjects

  • Discrimination in housing -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Discrimination in housing -- Law and legislation -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Dust Bowl Era, 1931-1939
  • Fallout shelters
  • Freedom of the press -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Japan -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Journalism -- Editing
  • Journalism -- Societies, etc.
  • Journalists -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Libel and slander -- United States -- Cases
  • Manuscripts, American -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Periodical editors -- United States
  • Reporters and reporting -- Law and legislation -- United States
  • Research notes

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Container List

Series 1: Correspondence, 1952-2009

Primarily incoming correspondence to Alfred Balk from friends and associates. As Balk maintained working relationships and friendships with many of the same people, personal and business correspondence is often intermingled. Balk divided his letters into chronological categories based on when he met people, and most correspondents date from his professional career. Earlier contacts are designated Northwestern or U.S. Army. More specific letters pertaining to articles Balk wrote, including his correspondence with Sentor Paul Simon and Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins, are included with those projects in the Career series. Among Balk's significant, long-term correspondents are Isaac Asimov, Jaques Barzun, Fred Friendly, Alex Haley, and Alvin Toffler.
There is one folder of letters from Alfred Balk to his parents, written during his U.S. Army service in Japan, describing his life there and impressions of the Japanese press.
Arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Outgoing - to parents, 1952-1955
1 2 Abel, Elie, 1988
1 3 Ambrose, Jay, 1989
1 4 Arbatov, Georgy A., 1977
1 5 Arledge, Roone, 1981
1 6 Arthur, William, 1971
1 7-8 Asimov, Isaac & Janet, 1970-2007
1 9 Asbell, Bernard (and about), 1980s
1 10 Athan, Rich (Northwestern), 1997-2007
1 11 Axtell, Roger (U.S. Army) 1980s
1 12 Bagdikian, Ben, 1977, 1981, 1986
1 13 Barnett, Claude A., 1959
1 14 Barrett, Mary Ellen, 1995
1 15 Bartley, Robert L., 1987
1 16 Barzun, Jacques & Marguerite, 1984-2007, n.d.
1 17 Bell, Daniel, 1987, 1990
1 18 Bell, Joseph N., 1993
1 19 Benjamin, Burton, 1988
1 20 Berger, Adolph A. & Katharine, 1970s
1 21 Berkow, Ira, 1991
1 22 Berlin, Irving, 1968
1 23 Bernays, Edward L., 1969
1 24 Berns, Pam, 2004
1 25 Bingham, Barry Sr., 1971, 1973
1 26 Blair, William S., 1993
1 27 Bliven, Bruce, 1972
1 28 Boatwright, John & Jean, 1980s-1990s
1 29 Boccardi, Louis D., 1983, 1984
1 30 Bradley, Bill, 1990
1 31 Bradley, Preston, 1962
1 32 Brown, Heywood Hale, 1987
1 33 Brown, Robert U., 1992, n.d.
1 34 Brown, Tina, 1992
1 35 Bunche, Ralph J., 1962
1 36 Burger, Warren, 1970
1 37 Carter, Jimmy, 1978
1 38 Carter, John Mack, 1967, 1971, 1989
1 39 Chancellor, John, 1982-1994
1 40 Chandler, Robert W., 1986-1989
1 41 Chicago Historical Society, 1964
1 42 Ciardi, John, 1972-1986
1 43 Clarke, Arthur C., 1984
1 44 Clarke, Philip R., 1961
1 45 Clinton, Bill & Hillary, 1993
1 46 Cormier, Frank (Northwestern), 1966-1998
1 47 Corwin, Norman, 1994-1995, 2005
1 48 Costiglio, Peter, 1989
1 49 Cowan, Lou, 1971-1977
1 50 Cronkite, Walter, 1964-1965, 1979
2 51 Crosby, Bing, 1959
2 52 Crow, Elizabeth, 1988
2 53 Crystal, Lester (Northwestern), 1977
2 54 Curtis, Charlotte, 1986
2 55 Daley, Richard J., 1962
2 56 Daniel, Clifton, 1988
2 57 Dedmon, Emmett, 1970
2 58 Dempsey, Jack, 1965
2 59 Dennis, Everette E., 1989, 1993, 2006
2 60 Dirkson, Everett M., 1961-1962
2 61 Dowling, Robert J., 1991
2 62 Drucker, Peter, 1990
2 63 D'Souza, P.P., 1983
2 64 Dubrow, Rick (Northwestern), 1969
2 65 Eaton, William J. (Northwestern), 1970-2005
2 66 Edison, Charles, 1959-1960
2 67 Elliott, Osborn, 1990
2 68 Ervin, Sam J., 1971
2 69 Evans, Harold, 1971-1990
2 70 Ewing, George M., 1986
2 71 Fallows, James M., 1996
2 72 Fanning, Lawrence, 1966
2 73 Fiedler, Arthur, 1959
2 74 Fiori, Pamela, 1987
2 75 Firstenberg, Jean, 1988
2 76 Fischer, John, 1958, 1976
2 77 Fisher, Avery, 1987
2 78 Fisher, Roy M., 1966
2 79 Flanagan, Dennis, 1979, 1989
2 80 Fleming, Thomas, 1998, 2008
2 81 Fontaine, André, 1976-1990
2 82 Forman, Miloš, 1967
2 83 Frankel, Max, 1970-1995
2 84 Friedrich, Otto, n.d.
2 85 Friendly, Fred & Ruth, 1959-2009
2 86 Froels, Hartmut, 1986
2 87 Fulbright, J.W., 1970
2 88 Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1965
2 89 Gallup, George, 1968
2 90 Gart, Murray J., n.d.
2 91 Gavin, James M., 1969
2 92 Gerlach, Lloyd A. (Northwestern), 1975, 2004-2008
2 93 Geyer, Georgie Anne (Northwestern), 1976-2009
2 94 Giroud, François, n.d.
2 95 Goldstein, Tom, 1992
2 96 Goodman, Walter, n.d.
2 97 Gordey, Michel, 1977
2 98 Gordimer, Nadine, 1984
2 99 Gottleib, Robert, 1989
2 100 Graham, Katharine, 1974, 1979
2 101 Greenfield, Meg, 1987
2 102 Griffith, Thomas, n.d.
2 103 Gunn, Hartford, 1974
2 104 Hagerty, James C., 1959, 1968
2 105 Haley, Alex, 1962-1973
2 106 Haley, William, 1970
2 107 Harder, Harry, 1961
2 108 Hecht, Rose, 1967
2 109 Hemingway, Mary, 1968
2 110 Henry, David, D., 1965
2 111 Hentoff, Nat, 1970, 1985
2 112 Herbers, John & Betty, 2002
2 113 Hersh, Seymour M., 1970
2 114 Hibbs, Ben, 1961, 1969
2 115 Hoff, Syd, 1974
2 116 Hoge, James, 1984, 1993
2 117 Hohenberg, John, 1975
2 118 Hoover, Herbert (secretary), 1959, 1960
2 119 Hunter-Gault, Charlayne, 1994
2 120 Hutchens, John K., 1967
2 121 Hutchins, Robert M., 1973
2 122 Ikeda, Take & Mitsu, 1980s-1990s
2 123 Isaacs, Norman E., 1975-1998
2 124 Iselin, John Jay, 1984, n.d.
2 125 Jenner, Albert E. Jr., 1974
2 126 Johnson, Nicholas, 1970
2 127 Kaiser, Robert G., 2002
2 128 Kanin, Carson, 1989
2 129 Kaplan, Eliot, n.d.
2 130 Kartman, Ben, 1979
3 131 Kato, Tsugio, 1986
3 132 Keillor, Garrison, n.d.
3 133 Knight, Andrew, 1981, 1982
3 134 Knopf, Alfred A., 1972
3 135 Kollek, Teddy, 1984
3 136 Kosner, Edward, 1982, 1985
3 137 Kovach, Bill, 1989, 1999, 2001
3 138 Kuh, Katharine, 1980s-1990s
3 139 Kunkel, Thomas, 200
3 140 Kuralt, Charles, 1981
3 141 Lapham, Lewis H., 1987, 2005
3 142 Laventhol, David, 1989
3 143 Lear, John & Marie, 1970-2003
3 144 Lederer, Eppie (Ann Landers), 1964, 1966
3 145 Leonard, Richard H., 1986, 1989
3 146 Levi-Strauss, Claude, 1984
3 147 Levitas, Mitchell, 2001
3 148 Lindsay, John V., 1986
3 149 Lippmann, Walter, 1969
3 150 Logan, Victor H., 1966
3 151 Lorenz, Konrad, 1984
3 152 Lower, Elmer W., 1974
3 153 MacDougall, Curtis, Priscilla (about) (Northwestern), 1985-1987
3 154 Mack, Raymond W., (Northwestern), 1984-2003
3 155 Mannes, Marya, 1969
3 156 Manning, Robert, 1971-1980
3 157 Margaret Mitchell Marsh estate, 1967
3 158 Markel, Lester, 1975
3 159 Marks, Johnny, 1963
3 160 Martin, John Bartlow, 1965
3 161 Matsuyama, Yukio, 1976
3 162 Mauldin, Bill, 1967
3 163 May, Bob, 1963
3 164 May, Edgar (U.S. Army), 1974-1992
3 165 Maynard, Robert C., 1973
3 166 McCartney, James (Northwestern), 1995-2005
3 167 McCloy, John J., 1978
3 168 McCormack, Buren, 1968
3 169 McCoy, Wilson, 1960-1961
3 170 McGannon, Donald L., 1968
3 171 McGill, Ralph, 1962
3 172 McGraw, Max, 1961-1963
3 173 McNeill, Don, 1962
3 174 McWilliams, Carey, 1970
3 175 Millington, John A., 1984
3 176 Minow, Newton M., 1971-1989
3 177 Morgan, Henry, n.d.
3 178 Morris, Willie, 1964, 1968
3 179 Moynihan, Daniel P., 1970, 1975
3 180 Murphy, Cullen, 2005
3 181 Murphy, Franklin D., 1989
3 182 Murray, Edward, 1986
3 183 Myrdal, Gunnar, 1975
3 184 National Safety Council, Chicago, 1964
3 185 Navasky, Victor, 1985
3 186 Nelson, Ron (Northwestern), 1989, n.d.
3 187 Nevins, Allan, 1967
3 188 Nichols, Wade H., 1975
3 189 Nimitz, Chester W., 1960
3 190 Nixon, Patricia, 1959
3 191 Oakes, John B., 1972, 1977
3 192 O'Neill, Michael J., n.d.
3 193 Otwell, Ralph (Northwestern), 1966-1984
3 194 Packard, Vance, 1961
3 195 Parseghian, Ara, 1959,1960
3 196 Paton, Alan, 1967
3 197 Paul, Noël, 1974-1991
3 198 Paz, Octavio, 1980
3 199 Percy, Charles H., 1965
3 200 Pfister, Walter (Northwestern), 1977
3 201 Pflaum, Irving P., 1977
3 202 Phillips, Warren, 1972
3 203 Pigeat, Henry, 1982
3 204 Pulitzer, Joseph Jr., 1968
3 205 Quaal, Ward L., 1993-1999
3 206 Radford, Arthur W., 1960
3 207 Reagan, Ronald, 1967
3 208 Reardon, T.J., 1959
3 209 Reedy, George T., 1970
3 210 Rivers, Bill, 1971
3 211 Robert, Sarah Corbin, 1956-1957
3 212 Robert, Gene, 1997
3 213 Rockefeller, Nelson A., 1968-1971
3 214 Rockwell, Norman, 1969
3 215 Rooney, Andy, 1986-1997
3 216 Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1959
3 217 Roper, Burns (Bud), 1991-2003
3 218 Rowan, Roy, 1987
3 219 Royko, Mike, 1984
3 220 Rudel, Julius, 1973
4 221 Safire, William, 1988, 1991
4 222 Sagan, Carl, 1995
4 223 Salant, Richard S., 1971, 1979
4 224 Salinger, Pierre, 1962
4 225 Salisbury, Harrison E., 1969, 1971
4 226 Saudek, Robert, 1989
4 227 Schmidt, Benno C., 1984
4 228 Schlesinger, Arthur Jr., 1986-1989
4 229 Schmidt, Helmut, 1984
4 230 Selye, Hans, 1975
4 231 Senghor, Léopold Sédar, 1984
4 232 Servan-Schreiber, Jean-Louis, n.d.
4 233 Sevareid, Eric, 1963
4 234 Shanor, Donald & Connie (Northwestern), 1978-1998
4 235 Shaplen, Robert, n.d.
4 236 Shaw, David, n.d.
4 237 Shayon, Bob, 1994-2001
4 238 Shepard, Stephen B., 2005
4 239 Sherrod, Robert, 1972-1975, 1990
4 240 Shirer, William L., 1969
4 241 Shriver, Sargent, 1974, n.d.
4 242 Silverman, Stephen, 1975-2008
4 243 Simons, Howard, 1986-1988
4 244 Slater, J.E., 1984
4 245 Small, William J., 1974-1991
4 246 Smith, Anthony, n.d.
4 247 Smith, Richard M., 1984
4 248 Sommer, Theo, 1986
4 249 Sorenson, Theodore C., 1967, 1968
4 250 Snow, Richard F., 2001
4 251 Sparks, Allister, 1981-1982
4 252 Spillane, Mickey, 1967
4 253 Stanton, Frank, 1986, 1997-1998
4 254 Sterling, Claire, 1977
4 255 Stevenson, Adlai, 1963
4 256 Stolley, Richard (Northwestern), 1958-1997
4 257 Stone, Marvin L., 1981-1993
4 258 Straus, R. Peter, 1977
4 259 Swanberg, W.A., 1968
4 260 Talese, Gay, 1971
4 261 Tatarian, Roger, 1971, 1972
4 262 Tatsumoto, Nobuhide, 1972
4 263 Thompson, James C., 1972
4 264 Tinbergen, Jan, 1984
4 265 Tobin, Richard (Dick), 1962-1998
4 266 Toffler, Alvin & Heidi, 1972-2005
4 267 Tree, Marietta, 1989
4 268 Truman, Harry S., 1959
4 269 Tunney, Gene, 1965
4 270 Turner, Ted, 1985
4 271 Valenti, Jack, 1967
4 272 Wallace, DeWitt, 1956, 1960, n.d.
4 273 Weeks, Edward, 1959, 1962
4 274 Wheaton, Anne, 1960
4 275 White, Theodore H., 1969
4 276 Whitney, Ruth, n.d.
4 277 Whitworth, William, 1982
4 278 Wilkins, Roy, 1967
4 279 Wille, Lois (Northwestern), 1992-2003
4 280 Wills, Garry, 1972
4 281 Winship, Thomas, 1971, 1985
4 282 Woestendiek, William J., 1991
4 283 Wright, Joseph H., 1961
4 284 Yagoda, Ben, 2000
4 285 Young, Whitney M. Jr., 1967
4 286 Zorpette, Glen, 2006
4 287 Zuckerman, Mort, 1984
4 288 unidentified, Bud, 1952
4 289 unidentified, Kanji & Teruko, n.d.
4 290 unidentified, Miroslav & Helen, 1980s

Series 2: Career, 1953-2010

Balk's editorial and writing papers are left essentially as he kept them, in a chronological organization reflecting his career path. Copies of published works and speeches are first, followed by materials related to his writing and editing positions in the order they occurred. Items are filed alphabetically within subseries.
Organized in the following subseries: 1. Published and unpublished works, 1953-2008; 2. Speeches, 1971-2006; 3. Chicago Period, 1959-2010; 4. Books, 1967-2007; 5. Saturday Review, 1966-2008; 6. Columbia Journalism Review, 1969-2006; 7. World Press Review, 1970-2002; and 8. IEEE Spectrum, 1989-1993.
 

Sub-Series 1: Published and unpublished works, 1953-2008

Copies of magazine and newspaper articles Balk wrote throughout his career, as well as miscellaneous other publications and a folder of unpublished and rejected manuscripts. Balk's earliest writing dates from his college days at Northwestern, and he also wrote for a variety of Iowa newspapers, military newspapers, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Later published articles include work for Coronet, Editor & Publisher, Harper's, Kiwanis Magazine, The New York Times, The Quill, Reader's Digest, The Saturday Evening Post, Saturday Review, and Today's Health.
There is also a small amount of correspondence from readers and editors about miscellaneous articles. Correspondence pertaining to Balk's more significant pieces is filed with those materials.

Box Folder Contents
5 291 Articles, 1953-1959
5 292 Articles, 1960-1961
5 293 Articles, 1962-1963
5 294 Articles, 1964
5 295 Articles, 1965
6 296 Articles, 1966-1967
6 297 Articles, 1968-1979
6 298 Articles, 1981-1989
6 299 Articles, 1990-1998
6 300 Articles, 2001-2008
6 301 Correspondence - early milestone letters, 1954-1965
6 302 Correspondence - misc. letters & responses, 1958-1965
6 303 Erie Canal Museum, 1996
6 304 Ford Foundation: Investigative Journalism & Public Policy: An Opportunity for Foundations, ca. 1972
6 305 Ford Foundation: Ombudsmen in Broadcasting: Britain's Broadcasting Complaints Councils, 1974
7 306 Gannett Center for Media Studies, Columbia University, 1983-1990
7 307 Newspapers - Chicago Sun Times, 1955-1956
7 308 Newspapers - Miscellaneous military, 1954-1955
7 309 Newspapers - Rock Island Argus, 1948-1950, 1955
7 310 Northwestern - Low Blows column (Daily Northwestern), 1951-1952
7 311 Northwestern - Profile magazine & misc., 1950-1951
7 312 World Press Review - Editor's Corner columns, 1974-1988
7 313 Unpublished manuscripts & rejects, ca. 1960s-1990s
 

Sub-Series 2: Speeches, 1971-2006

Copies of speeches Balk wrote, primarily concerning journalism and media issues and delivered at various seminars and conferences. Also included is a draft of a speech Balk wrote for Nelson Algren and Studs Terkel in support of Joseph D. Lohman's candidacy for governor of Illinois in 1958.

Box Folder Contents
8 314 1971-1980
8 315 1982-1986
8 316 1989-1998, n.d.
8 317 Clippings, 1961-1985
8 318 Draft of Nelson Algren speech for Joe Lohman, 1958
8 319 Notes from, 1971-2006
8 320 Panel & program listings, 1968-2006
 

Sub-Series 3: Chicago Period, 1959-2010

Notes, correspondence, and research related to Balk's prolific Chicago freelance writing period spanning roughly 1958-1966. Balk wrote many significant articles during this time, including "Confessions of a Block-Buster" in 1962 for the Saturday Evening Post, which exposed racist real estate practices in Chicago and led to a landmark court case protecting a journalist's right to confidential sources.
Also for the Saturday Evening Post, Balk collaborated with Alex Haley for an article about Black Muslims and the Nation of Islam, resulting in Balk's interviews with Malcolm X and other NOI members. He also interviewed an FBI agent and other law enforcement personnel, and collected FBI and police reports while researching the piece.
Other notable work includes articles about the Dust Bowl, fallout shelters, television game show winners, and the defection of a Presbyterian minister, as well as profiles of community organizer Saul Alinsky, children's television personality Captain Kangaroo, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Ebony magazine founder John H. Johnson, Chicago newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet, and Illinois Senator Paul Simon.

Box Folder Contents
9 321 Alinsky, Saul - correspondence & notes, 1962-1966
9 322 Alinsky, Saul - Industrial Areas Foundation, notes, 1963
9 323 Alinsky, Saul - Industrial Areas Foundation, staff, notes, 1963
9 324 Alinsky, Saul - research, 1960s
9 325 Black Muslims - clippings & correspondence, 1962-1964
9 326 Black Muslims - notes & research, 1962
10 327 Captain Kangaroo - correspondence & notes, 1959-1960
10 328 Civil War Centennial - correspondence, notes, research, 1960
10 329 Coleman, John - Zoning - correspondence, notes, research, 1966
10 330 Confessions of a Block-Buster - article impact, 1962-1972
10 331 Confessions of a Block-Buster - article impact, 1962-1963, 2001, 2010
10 332 Confessions of a Block-Buster - court filings & decisions, 1971-1972
10 333 Confessions of a Block-Buster - court filings & decisions, 1971-1972
10 334 Confessions of a Block-Buster - legal correspondence, 1970-1975, 2007
11 335 Mayor Richard J. Daley - clippings & correspondence, 1959-1963
11 336 Mayor Richard J. Daley - notes & research, 1959-1963
11 337 Dust bowl - correspondence, notes, research, 1963-1965
11 338 Edison, Thomas (Charles Edison) - correspondence & notes, 1959-1960
11 339 Edison, Thomas - research, 1959-1960
11 340 Fallout shelters - notes & research, 1964-1965
12 341 Goodbye to Parks - correspondence, 1960-1964
12 342 Great Lakes water problems - correspondence, 1965
12 343 Haley, Alex - death & auction, 1992-1993
12 344 Insull, Samuel Jr. - correspondence, notes, research, 1959-1962
12 345 A Jackpot Almost Ruined Their Lives - correspondence, 1961
12 346-347 A Jackpot Almost Ruined Their Lives - notes, research, 1961
12 348 Johnson, John H. - Ebony Magazine - correspondence, notes, research, 1959-1960, 2005
13 349 Kupcinet, Irv - book transcripts of tapes, 1060s
13 350 Kupcinet, Irv - correspondence (incl. Max Siegel & William Targ), 1961-1963
13 351 Kupcinet, Irv - miscellaneous & clippings, 1950s-2000s
13 352 May, Robert - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - correspondence & notes, 1962-1965
13 353 Milgrim, Morris - integrated housing - correspondence, notes, research, 1960-1964, 1997
13 354 Nursing homes - correspondence, 1964-1965
13 355 Parseghian, Ara - football upsets - correspondence & notes, 1959-1962
13 356 Sauers, Charles (Cap) - Forest Preserve of Cook County - correspondence & notes, 1959-1969
14 357 Simon, Paul - article impact, 1964-1965
14 358 Simon, Paul - correspondence, 1963-2004
14 359 Simon, Paul - notes & research, 1963
14 360 Simon, Paul - miscellaneous & clippings, 1980s-2000s
14 361 Simon, Paul - notes & research, 1963
14 362 Stone, Clement & Napoleon Hill - correspondence & notes, 1961-1962
14 363 Why I Quit the Ministry - clippings & correspondence, 1963
14 364 Why I Quit the Ministry - notes & research, 1962
 

Sub-Series 4: Books, 1967-2007

Notes, correspondence and publicity related to Alfred Balk's published books. Balk began writing and editing books after his freelance period in Chicago; his first book, The Religion Business (1968), grew from an article he wrote for Harper's detailing the tax exemptions enjoyed by religious organizations. He published another six books intermittently over the next forty years, covering issues in journalism and American economics, as well as a general history of radio and efforts to save a historic movie theater in Syracuse, NY.

Box Folder Contents
15 365 The Free List: Property Without Taxes - correspondence, 1971-1973
15 366 The Free List - Property Without Taxes - publicity, 1971
15 367 Magazine Editing Handbook - proposal, 1992
15 368 Movie Palace Masterpieces - correspondence & publicity, 1998, 2003
15 369 The Myth of American Eclipse: The New Global Age - correspondence & publicity, 1987-1992
15 370 Our Troubled Press - publicity, 1971
15 371 The Religion Business - correspondence, notes, publicity, 1967-1969
15 372 The Rise of Radio - correspondence & publicity, 2005-2007
 

Sub-Series 5: Saturday Review, 1966-2008

Materials related to Balk's tenure as Feature Editor and Editor-at-Large at Saturday Review from 1966–1970, reflecting a period of career growth as well as his influence on the magazine. Includes memos, correspondence with editor Norman Cousins, manuscripts, and other internal communication.

Box Folder Contents
16 373-374 Article highlights during tenure, 1966-1968
16 375 Breadloaf conference, 1971-1975
16 376 Clippings & letters to the editor, 1966-1968
16 377 Corrected proofs, 1966-1968
16 378 Cousins, Norman - correspondence & clippings, 1965-1972, 1990
16 378 Manuscripts, 1966-1968
17 379 Memos, 1966-1968
17 380 McCall's corporate luncheons, 1967
17 381 Post Balk, 1968-1987
17 382 Staff obituaries, 1968-2008
17 383 Welcome & send off, 1966, 1968
 

Sub-Series 6: Columbia Journalism Review, 1969-2006

Correspondence, manuscripts, and other materials related to Columbia Journalism Review, which Alfred Balk edited from 1969-1973. Also included are documents related to a libel suit against Balk and CJR, concerning an article that appeared in the magazine during his tenure.

Box Folder Contents
17 384 Campus turmoil, 1970
17 385 Fund raising/Markle grant, 1971-1974
17 386 Letters of note, 1969-1974
17 387 Manuscripts, 1970
17 388 "Our Troubled Press" - contract & publicity, 1970-1971
18 389 Overview - misc. clippings & publicity, 1969-1972
18 390 Phaseout, 1973
18 391 Post Balk, 1974-2006
18 392 Press, 1970-1972
18 393 Scudder libel lawsuit - correspondence & clippings, 1974-1977
18 394 Scudder libel lawsuit - court documents, 1974-1975
 

Sub-Series 7: World Press Review, 1970-2002

As editor of World Press Review, a monthly foreign press digest, from 1973-1986, Alfred Balk shepherded the magazine through a name change and sale, mail fraud crisis, and criticism of the magazine's Israel/Palestine coverage. He also established the International Editor of the Year award, which helped illuminate critical journalism issues in other countries. There are items related to these issues as well as correspondence, internal communication, and publicity and advertising materials.

Box Folder Contents
19 395 Advertising - direct mail, 1970s-1980s
19 396 Advertising - leadership network partnership, 1975-1979
19 397 Advertising - merchandising materials, 1980s
19 398 Advertising - miscellaneous, 1970s-1980s
19 399 Advertising - radio, 1975
19 400 Atlas - 1st year, 1973-1974
20 401 Atlas - pre publication, 1973-1974
20 402 Atlas - purchase attempt, 1972-1973
20 403 Atlas - sale to C.M. Stanley, 1974-1979
20 404 Balk conference participation, 1976-1994
20 405 Balk misc. correspondence, 1981-1986
20 406 Balk misc. travel, 1974-1986
20 407 Balk phaseout, 1986
20 408 Balk profiles & publicity, 1974-1984
20 409 Circulation - mailing services fraud, 1976-1978
21 410 Dialogues - lists & drafts, 1980s-1990s
21 411 Exploring sale, 1984-1986
21 412 Foreign journalism programs - overseas press clubs, 1975-1976
21 413 "Foreign Editors Say" columns, 1975-1976
21 414 "Global Issues" - original articles, 1983-1985
21 415 History, 1979-1983
21 416 International Editor of the Year, 1975-1979
21 417 International Editor of the Year, 1980
21 418 International Editor of the Year, 1981-1983
21 419 International Editor of the Year, 1984-1986
21 420 Israel coverage issues, 1982-1985
22 421 Magazine phaseout, 2003-2004
22 422 Media mentions, 1970-1986
22 423 Memos, budgets, reports, 1976-1987
22 424 Project ideas, 1974-1985
22 425 Publicity and promotional materials, 1969-1984
22 426 Post Balk, 1987-2002
23 427 Scoops, 1979-1982
23 428 Soviet copyright correspondence, 1974-1976, 1984
23 429 Staff & contributors, 1970s-1980s
23 430 Stanley, C.M. & Elizabeth/Stanley Foundation, 1980-1990
23 431 Testimonials, 1974-1985
23 432 University of Michigan TV show, 1977-1978
23 433 WNYC series "World in Review," 1978
23 434 Staff (non-editorial), 1970s-1980s
23 435 Style guide, written by Alfred Balk, 1970s-1980s
 

Sub-Series 8: IEEE Spectrum, 1989-1993

Balk was managing editor at IEEE Spectrum, a technology trade publication, for about a year and a half. He helped streamline procedures and establish policy guidelines which improved the magazine's overall content and work atmosphere, and also contributed some writing.

Box Folder Contents
24 436 Asia trip and international contact list, 1990
24 437 Contents pages & miscellaneous, 1990-1993
24 438 Memos, editorial, 1989-1991
24 439 Memos - from Alfred Balk, 1989-1990
24 440 Memos - meetings and policy guidelines, 1990s
24 441 Personnel & team relations, 1989-1990

Series 3: Volunteer & Foundation Work, 1960-2009

Balk was involved administratively in a variety of journalism organizations, including the American Society of Magazine Editors, Overseas Press Club, and Society of Magazine Writers. He also participated in the formation of the National News Council, a non-profit media organization developed to handle journalistic complaints. In addition, he provided editorial assistance to Harper's during a tumultuous period, and also worked on a number of investigative projects for the Ford Foundation.
Arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder Contents
25 442 American Journal of Nursing board, 1990-1993
25 443 American Society of Magazine Editors - correspondence, 1978-1995
25 444 American Socieity of Magazine Editors - executive committee minutes, 1979-1983
25 445 American Socieity of Magazine Editors - White House visits, 1960-1985
25 446 Ford Foundation - "51st State" critique, 1972
25 447 Ford Foundation - BBC Broadcasting Council project, 1973-1974
25 448 Ford Foundation - International Broadcast Institute consultants program, 1973
25 449 Ford Foundation - investigative reporting project - clippings & correspondence, 1970-1972
25 450 Ford Foundation - investigative reporting project - research notes, 1972
26 451 Ford Foundation - public television material, 1971-1975
26 452 Ford Foundation/CJR - Sunday Times & thalidomide project, 1984-1975
26 453 Gannett Center - mid-career fellowship guide - correspondence & interview notes, 1988-1989
26 454 Harper's Magazine - 1980 "closing" & involvement, 1980-1984
26 455 Harper's Magazine - emergency & rescue - correspondence & clippings, 1971-1993
26 456 Harper's Magazine - Gordon Lish lawsuit, 1991-1993
26 457 Headline Club/Sigma Delta Chi - correspondence & clippings, 1961-1985
26 458 Markle Foundation/Channels Magazine - correspondence & clippings, 1979-1990
27 459 Markle Foundation/Channels Magazine - reports & meeting minutes, 1978-1981
27 460 National News Council - announcement publicity, 1972
27 461 National News Council - reaction & clippings, 1973
27 462 National News Council - last phases, 1977-2006
27 463 New York Committee on Minorities and Urban Coalition, 1967-1974
27 464 Nieman Reports - proposals, 1989-1994
27 465 Overseas Press Club - foundation and miscellaneous, 1976-1982
27 466 Overseas Press Club - programming, 1978, 1983
27 467 Overseas Press Club - "rescue," 1978-2009
27 468 Press councils (National News Council) - interviews, 1971
28 469 Press councils (National News Council) - interviews, 1971
28 470 Press councils (National News Council) - research - state, regional, local councils, 1971-1973
28 471 Press councils (National News Council) - task force, 1971
28 472 Press councils (National News Council) - task force, 1972-1975
28 473 Twentieth Century Fund - book proposal, 1973
28 474 Russell Sage Foundation - memos, 1968-1969
28 475 Society of Magazine Writers - newsletters during presidency, 1969
28 476 Society of Magazine Writers - committee files, 1968-1973

Series 4: Personal, 1941-2007

Items related to Alfred Balk's personal life, including his youth in Iowa, college years at Northwestern University in Chicago, and military service. Included are clippings and correspondence with and about people from his youth, biographical articles and profiles, and souvenirs and notes related to his time in Japan with the U.S.Army.
Arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder Contents
29 477 Army service - notes, clippings, miscellaneous, 1952-1965
29 478 Biographical - family history research paper & clippings, 1961-1995
29 479 Biographical - profiles, 1974-2006
29 480 Biographical - quotes & media mentions, 1967-2004
29 480a Certificates and Diplomas - Northwestern University and Sigma Delta Chi, 1952-1984
29 481 Chicago/Evanston - Beacon Neighborhood House, 1964
29 482 Chicago/Evanston - Chicago Sun Times - newsletters & miscellaneous, 1956
29 483 Chicago/Evanston - clippings & miscellaneous, 1948-2003
29 484 Collected obituaries, 1984-2006
29 485 Democratic National Convention - press passes, 1968
29 486 Japan - clippings, 1953-1964
29 487 Japan - notes & miscellaneous, 1955-1956
29 488 Northwestern/Medill - Alumni activites - correspondence & clippings, 1983-2007
30 489 Souvenirs & ticket stubs, 1960s-2000s
30 490 Youth - autograph book, 1941
30 491 Youth - Kinney, Bill (Argus sports editor) - correspondence & clippings, 1984-1997
30 492 Youth - Muscatine, Iowa - miscellaneous clippings, 1975-2008
30 493 Youth - Oskaloosa, Iowa - clippings, n.d.
30 494 Youth - Rock Island, Iowa - correspondence, clippings, miscellaneous, 1947-1993
30 495 Youth - Stanley Family - correspondence & clippings, 1970s-1990s

Series 5: Photographs and Audiovisual, 1955-2008

Photographs of Alfred Balk, including his family, associates, and friends. There are also photographs from events and organizations, as well as a few photos from his time in Japan in 1954-55. The series also includes one open reel tape related to Balk's Clement Stone article, and a videotape of Senator Paul Simon's 2003 funeral.
Arranged by item, with photographs first.

Box Folder Contents
31 496 Balk, Alfred - Japan, 1955
31 497 Balk, Alfred, 1960s
31 498 Balk, Alfred, 1970s-1980s
31 499 Balk, Alfred - Headline Club dinner (incl. negatives), 1963
31 500 Balk, Alfred - Columbia Journalism Review, 1970-1971
31 501 Balk, Alfred - National Press Club, Washington, DC, 1971
31 502 Balk, Alfred - World Press Review publicity, ca. 1977
31 503 Balk, Alfred - World Press Review, 1980s
31 504 Balk, Alfred - Syracuse University, 1990s
31 505 Balk, Alfred - retirement, ca. 2008
31 506 Balk, Alfred, with Phyllis Balk, 1987
31 507 Balk, Alfred, with family, 1970
31 508 Balk, Alfred, with Isaac Asimov, ca. 1980s
31 509 Balk, Alfred, with Jimmy Carter (American Society of Magazine Editors), 1978, 1980
31 510 Balk, Alfred, with Norman Corwin, ca. 1980s
31 511 Balk, Alfred, with Carl T. Rowan & Russell Hurst, Headline Club (incl. negatives), 1963
31 512 Day, Raymond, and Beacon Neighborhood House, 1964
31 513 Haley, Alex, 1972
31 514 Japan - Camp Kokura, ca. 1955
31 515 Japan - NHK Radio/JOB-K TV, Osaka, ca. 1955
31 516 Roper, Bud & Helen, ca. 1990s
31 517 Simon, Paul (autographed to Alfred Balk), 1969
31 518 Toffler, Karen, ca. 1980s
31 519 Audiotape -open reel - Stone, Clement, ca. 1962
31 520 Videocassette - Simon, Paul - funeral, 2003