David R. Mackey papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk P1988.16

Level of description



David R. Mackey papers


  • 1947-1970 (Creation)


0.75 Linear Feet, 2.00 Boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

Dr. David Ray Mackey was a prominent educator and radio broadcaster.  He was born in Pensacola, Florida, on December 16, 1917, the son of Henry Jerome and Alta Theodora (Haynes) Mackey.  He did some undergraduate coursework and worked in broadcasting from 1935 to 1941, starting in Hutchinson, Kansas. While waiting to enter the U.S. Navy Air Corps during the Second World War, he met Eleanor Ely, the daughter of Mahlon Long Ely and Mary Wilson (Wolcott) Ely at a USO dance in Hutchinson.  Eleanor was a graduate of the College of William and Mary, soon to begin work for the War Department Signal Corps office in Washington, D.C.  They dated seriously and after she started working in D.C., he found work at a radio station in New Bern, North Carolina and regularly visited her in D.C.  They were married on July 3, 1943, and had four children together: Douglas Alan, Marilyn, Martha, & Robert Jerome.
After the war, he resumed his education at Northwestern University under the Montgomery G.I. Bill, receiving a Bachelor of Science with distinction in Speech in 1946, and a Master of Arts in Speech in 1947.  His degrees in speech were pursued with an emphasis on broadcasting and drama.  He then taught as an Instructor of Drama for the University of Texas from 1947-1949, where he was also production manager of their Radio House.  He returned to Northwestern University for doctoral work in speech and broadcasting in 1949, and taught in the School of Speech as a graduate assistant until completing his coursework.  His acclaimed book, <emph render='italic'>Drama on the Air</emph>, a professional text on radio dramatizations, was published in 1951.  He taught as an Assistant Professor of Speech at Pennsylvania State University from 1951 to 1956 while completing his dissertation, an extensive two-volume history of National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters.  While at Pennsylvania State, he served as faculty adviser for WDFM 91.1, the college radio station, and was elected Burgess (Mayor) of the borough of State College, Pennsylvania, a position he held for three years.  He received his Ph.D. in Speech from Northwestern in 1956.  Subsequently, Dr. Mackey assumed the Chairmanship of the Division of Communication Arts at Boston University in 1957, where he taught as Professor of Communications until 1961 and inaugurated their doctoral program in communication arts.  During this time, he also served as an editor for the Journal of Broadcasting from 1956-1958.
In 1961, he left the faculty of Boston University and moved to Hutchinson, Kansas, where he bought a partnership in KWHK Broadcasting Company, Inc., and served as president of the company and general manager of the radio station.  In time, he purchased two other radio stations, KTRC in Sante Fe, New Mexico and KBHS in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  He also worked with KHCC, a local NPR station sponsored by Hutchinson Community College.  He served a term as Mayor of Hutchinson from 1971-1972, and also served on the City Commission.  He was a prominent member of the community, and founded the Hutchinson Theatre Guild and Hutchinson Symphony.  He was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer, and died on September 26th, 1975 at the age of 60.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection includes papers, publications, editorials and news clippings from Dr. David Ray Mackey's distinguished career in collegiate education (speech, communications, and broadcasting) and commercial radio broadcasting.  Papers include syllabi, academic papers, transcripts, press releases, and correspondence from his time at Northwestern University, the University of Texas, Pennsylvania State University, and Boston University.  Publications include his 1956 doctoral dissertation, his 1951 book, Drama on the Air, a professional text on radio dramatizations, two issues of Today's Speech (1957), and assorted articles.  Editorials include a sample of opinion pieces aired on KWHK (Hutchinson, Kansas) from 1962-1970.  News clippings range from 1954 to 1972 and primarily relate to his career in politics in State College, Pennsylvania, and Hutchinson, Kansas.

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged in one series contained two boxes.  Box one consists of foloders of assorted papers.  Box two contains Dr. Mackey's 1956 doctoral dissertation and 1951 book on radio dramatization.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No Access restrictions: All materials are open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

It received accession number P1988.16.  Materials were received on September 15, 1977 from Dr. Mackey's widow, Eleanor, by archivist Evan C. Williams, who wrote to Dr. Mackey in March of 1974, before his death, requesting his papers for Special Collections.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: Eleanor Mackey Ferguson
Acqusition Method: Donation.
Acqusition Date: 19770915

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Acquired due to Dr. Mackey's prominence in broadcasting and the Hutchinson, Kansas, community.


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related Materials: Mackey, Ryan David.  Beyond "Pushing Play": The Implications of Technology on Music Composition and Performance.  M.M. Thesis.  Wichita State University, 2015.  Web.  26 July 2017.
Wichita State University master's thesis by David R. Mackey's grandson, Ryan David Mackey, mentions his grandfather's career in the introduction on the first numbered page.
Related Materials URL: http://soar.wichita.edu/bitstream/handle/10057/11637/t15019_Mackey.pdf?sequence=1
Related Publications: Christine Ayoub.  Memories of the Quaker past: stories of thirty-seven senior Quakers.  State College, PA: Xlibris Corporation, 2014.
Includes an oral history interview transcription (pgs. 303-309) from Eleanor Mackey Ferguson, David R. Mackey's wife, who survived him and remarried.

Related descriptions

General note

The accession record for this collection indicated 3 boxes of unprocessed materials.  Only two boxes could be located, and no inventory or deed of gift exists in the donor file with which to compare the collection contents.  It is possible the materials were re-boxed without updating the accession record.

Specialized notes

  • Citation: [Item title], [item date], David R. Mackey papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid Author: Patrick C. Dittamo
Processing Info: Patrick C. Dittamo, a graduate student at Kansas State University, processed the collection, and curator David Allen reviewed it, in July 2017.
Publication Date: 2017-07-31

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Physical storage

  • 2.5" Flip Top, Letter: Box 1, A83412042797
  • 5" Flip Top, Letter: Box 2, A83412042959