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BEN BEZOFF PAPERS

 Collection
Identifier: WH36

Scope and Contents

The collection primarily documents Ben Bezoff's career as a political figure and radio personality through his correspondence and memorabilia, with Bezoff's correspondence comprising the bulk of the collection. Also included are award certificates, newspaper clippings and photographs. The contents of four scrapbooks are preserved on microfilm. The scrapbooks include newspaper clippings, correspondence and memorabilia from Bezoff's early career as an actor and in radio broadcasting. One radio broadcast, in which Bezoff discusses tax policy, is preserved on reel-to-reel tape.

SERIES 1 RADIO PERSONALITY 1938-1966 BOX 1

Ben Bezoff's correspondence comprises the bulk of the series. Letters document radio station operations, news sources, speaking engagements and listener comments regarding Bezoff's programming. Radio scripts written by Bezoff, publicity notes, newspaper clippings and memorabilia also form part of the series, which is arranged chronologically.

SERIES 2 WORLD WAR II SERVICE 1942-1945 BOX 1

Radio broadcast scripts document Bezoff's tenure as a war correspondent in Europe. The series also includes personnel records, newspaper clippings and a distinguished service award from the Treasury Department, which relate to Bezoff's service as a Regional Director of the Office of War Information. Letters of recommendation, written for Bezoff when he sought to obtain a military commission, also form part of the series.

SERIES 3 POLITICAL FIGURE 1945-1979 BOX 1

The series contains Bezoff's political correspondence. Speech texts and articles written by Bezoff, newspaper clippings, award certificates and memorabilia are also included. The series is arranged chronologically.

SERIES 4 OTHER OCCUPATIONS 1956-1967 BOX 1

Limited correspondence, a business card, announcements, flyers and newspaper clippings comprise the series, which is arranged chronologically by position held.

SERIES 5 PERSONAL 1929-1975 BOX 1

The series contains student records, correspondence and yearbooks relating to Bezoff's high school and college experiences. Also included is a playbill from his time as an actor.

SERIES 6 PHOTOGRAPHS 1939-1976 BOX 1

The series includes color and black and white photographic prints as well as color slides. Numerous photographs are not dated or identified.

SERIES 7 OVERSIZE 1947-1976 OVBOX 1

Award certificates, an award plaque and Colorado State Assembly portrait posters comprise the series.

SERIES 8 AUDIO-VISUAL 1954 BOX 1

One audio-taped radio program, dealing with the gross ton mile tax for trucks, comprises the series. The tape is a reel-to-reel audio tape recorded at 7.5 inches per second, which runs 12 minutes, 16 seconds.

SERIES 9 MICROFILM 1932-1953 MFLM157

Four scrapbooks, microfilmed on December 4, 1980 and returned to the Bezoff family, comprise the series. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs and memorabilia. Volume 1 highlights Bezoff's dramatic career and includes numerous playbills and programs. Volume 2 documents Bezoff's early radio career. Volume 3 focuses on Bezoff's overseas service during World War II and volume 4 deals with Bezoff's 1952 gubernatorial campaign. An identifying header frame precedes each volume, and pages in each scrapbook are sequentially numbered.

Dates

  • 1929-1979

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Copyright

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Biographical / Historical

Ben Bezoff (1914-1979) was born in Denver, Colorado on April 18, 1914 to Russian immigrants Max and Mary Bezoff. He attended Denver's Cole Junior High School and graduated from North High School at age 16. Following graduation, Bezoff entered the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he became interested in the theater. Beginning in 1932, Bezoff studied drama at the University of Wisconsin, at Madison. He returned to Denver in 1934 and performed with Walter Huston in the Central City Opera's production of Othello. Huston encouraged Bezoff to move to New York to try to perform on Broadway.

Bezoff returned to Denver in 1935 and starred in local radio soap opera productions for radio stations KLZ and KOA. By late 1935, he had become an announcer for Denver radio station KLZ. From 1936 to 1941, Bezoff worked as news and special events director for radio station WKY in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where Walter Cronkite worked as one of his newsmen. In 1941, following a brief engagement with radio station WHLD in Niagara Falls, New York, Bezoff again returned to Denver, Colorado where he became the head of the news department and principal announcer for radio station KMYR.

During World War II, Bezoff served as a regional director in the Office of War Information. He also served briefly as a war correspondent in France and Belgium. In 1944, the British government asked Bezoff to present a Christmas broadcast, which in previous years had been presented by Edward R. Murrow.

After the war, Bezoff returned to radio station KMYR in Denver, Colorado, where the quality of his political commentary resulted in calls for him to run for public office. Bezoff's political experience had begun many years earlier when, at age 14, he passed out leaflets for presidential candidate Al Smith. At age 18, Bezoff worked for the election of Colorado Senator Edward P. Costigan.

Following a successful campaign for Colorado State Representative in 1946, Bezoff resigned from KMYR to avoid any conflict of interest. He was re-elected in 1948 and served both as majority floor leader and Speaker of the Colorado State House of Representatives. In 1950, he was elected to the Colorado State Senate. In 1952, Bezoff was urged to run for Colorado Governor, but was defeated in the State's primary election. He declined to seek reelection to the State Senate in 1954.

In 1947, Bezoff opened Ben Bezoff and Company, an advertising and public relations agency, which he operated successfully for nineteen years. He also returned to radio to host the popular program Concert on radio station KDEN during the 1950s and 1960s.

Bezoff began to work for the City and County of Denver in 1966. He served as a top advisor in the administrations of Denver Mayors Tom Currigan and William McNichols. He was also named director of information for Denver's Stapleton International Airport. Citing health concerns, Bezoff resigned in 1976 and died in 1979 from pancreatic cancer.

Bezoff and his wife, Sherie, had two daughters.

Extent

1 box (1 linear foot)

1 oversize box

1 envelope

1 microfilm reel (Mflm157)

Language of Materials

English

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Sherie Bezoff (Mrs. Ben Bezoff), 1980.

Related Materials

Ben Bezoff Oral History, November 22, 1978 -- C MSS OH43

Ben Bezoff Oral History, February 8, 1979 -- C MSS OH44

PROCESSED BY:

Dennis Hagen

February 2008

PROJECT MANAGER:

Ellen Zazzarino

Title
BEN BEZOFF PAPERS
Date
MAY 2008
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

Contact:
10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States