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W. Scott Westerman audio collection

Identifier: 018.ScW

Scope and Contents

The W. Scott Westerman Sr. audio collection consists of over 4,100 individually recorded radio broadcasts documented from 1954 until 1976. Recording from his livingroom, Westerman documented broadcasts ranging from American political events and space explorations to nature sounds and symphonies. The collection also contains an extensive listing of radio talk shows, including Bud Guest's "The Sunny Side of the Street," and, "The Bump & Duffy Show." American political events such as presidential debates, visits by foreign dignitaries, and assassinations are also represented. In an interview with a local publication, Westerman, a Methodist minister of over 40 years, stated that while he began his recording hobby for the sake of recording family events, he soon realized that recording history was important so that we might be able to hear the actual voices behind the words in order to provide historical context to events of the past.

The collection is organized into three series: Subject Index Cards, Reel/Cassette Covers, Reels and Cassettes. The Subject Index Cards series contains the individual broadcasts from each reel or cassette. There are several broadcasts on each reel or cassette, and the index card system was devised to easily parse out the contents from each reel or cassette without having to dig through the physical tapes. The index cards are catalogued by subect. Westerman's original subject headings were lost during a change of residence, and additional subject headings were added by the Eastern Michigan University archives staff in 2017.

The Reel/Cassette Covers series contains photocopies of each individual reel/casette case with Westerman's original handwritten table of contents. These photocopies are numbered with the same numbers that Westerman wrote on their corresponding reel/cassette cases. The Reels and Cassettes series contains the actual physical tape reels and cassettes. Each reel/cassette is housed in its original reel/cassette case with Westerman's handwritten table of contents on the back. Seeing the wide array of subjects included on each reel illustrates the need for the index card and photocopy system. There are occasional gaps in the reel collection, due to a number of missing reels. Likewise, there is one cassette missing from the cassette collection. The cassettes in the collection are grouped together in volumes, twelve cassettes per volume, with each cassette being numbered one through twelve. The cassette numbering system is as follows: Volume #/Cassette #/Cassette Side.


  • Creation: 1954 - 1979


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Biographical Note

Reverend W. Scott Westerman, Sr. was born on May 5, 1895 in Adrian Michigan. Westerman graduated from Adrian High School in 1913, and attended the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating in 1917 going on to complete graduate work at Columbia University before studying at the School of English Church Music outside London and completing course work in theology.

Married to Frieda Ethel Wuerfel (b. August 29, 1896, d. August 10, 1973) they had and they had three children, Jo Anne (b. 1920), Ellen (b. 1923) and Scott Jr. (b. 1926) who went on to serve as the Dean of the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University and the superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Westerman served in the ministry as both a minister of music and minister in the United Methodist Church for over 40 years, retiring in 1961. He served churches in Clayton, Ann Arbor, and Grass Lake, Michigan as well as various churches in Ohio, most notably the Grace United Methodist Church in Gallipolis for 13 years. A member of the executive committee of the Hymn Society of America for over 15 years, and educator of hymnal music, Westerman began recording radio and television broadcasts in 1954.

Westerman enjoyed musical performance, playing trombone, tympany, and flute, though he indicated in an interview that "I loved the pipe organ more than anything else." After retirement, Westerman remained active in the world of church music, teaching courses in hymnology at the Chelsea United Methodist Church. Westerman died at the age of 82 at the Chelsea United Methodist Retirement Home in 1977, survived by son W. Scott Westerman Jr., daughter Ellen (Wesley Brashares) and preceeded in death by his wife and daughter Jo Anne (d. 1967).


16.2 Linear Feet (13 record center cartons, 6 archive boxes, 1 oversize box )

Language of Materials



The W. Scott Westerman audio collection consists of over 4,100 individually recorded radio news broadcasts documented on 1/4" master tape reels and cassette tapes. Between 1954 and 1976, Rev. W. Scott Westerman Sr. recorded directly from radio programs in his livingroom. Topics included in the collection range from the American Civil Rights Movement and presidential debates, to sporting events and nature sounds. Notably, all of the Ann Arbor Board of Education meetings between March 1968 and July 1971 were recorded, coinsiding with his son Scott Westerman Jr.'s service as superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools. Given that Westerman recorded anywhere from 2-20 events on a reel, the collection includes not only the reels and cassettes but also index cards that itemize the recordings.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The Audio Cassettes and Reels require the appropriate playback equipment. Please contact the University Archives for additional information.

Custodial History

In 1973-74, W. Scott Westerman secured an agreement with Eastern Michigan University president Harold E. Sponberg (1917-1974) to house the audio collection within the library's collection to provide historical insight to future generations of students and researchers. Over 6,500 hours were devoted to recording and cataloging the collection.

W. Scott Westerman audio collection
Matt Jones
2017 February 08
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197