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Lloyd Thaxton Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 31/6/123
The Lloyd Thaxton Papers fill 39 boxes and span the years 1862-2008.  Included are biographical materials, correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, professional projects files, publicity and promotional materials, photographs, and artifacts.

The biographical materials section is arranged chronologically and contains various documents from the period 1862-1997, reflective of the life of Lloyd Thaxton and of previous generations of the Thaxton family as well.  This portion of the collection also includes a scrapbook relating to Lloyd’s childhood as well as his passport, school report cards from his kindergarten and Northwestern University years, a high school yearbook, financial records, and family baptismal records.

Additionally, this section contains records of awards received by Thaxton, including Emmy nomination certificates from Fight Back! With David Horowitz and the 1983 Gold Award presented by the International Film & TV Festival of New York.

Correspondence is arranged in a rough chronological flow and thereafter ordered according to name of correspondent or by topical heading.  The correspondence spans the period from Thaxton’s 1945 service in the United States Navy to condolence letters written to his wife, Barbara, after his death in 2008.  This series includes personal and professional correspondence, including letters written by Jerry Lewis, Bing Crosby, along with a note from George W. Bush.

Among the correspondence is a series of over forty letters written from Thaxton’s friend, Jane Harr, during the summer between their junior and senior years at Northwestern, as well as during the subsequent winter break.  There is one envelope dated June of 1950, the month of their graduation, but the letter was not present in this collection leaving no explanation of the relationship’s end.

In 1975, Thaxton’s three-minute radio serial Mansion of Mystery prompted letters from fans regarding the program’s fictional crimes and clues. Included in this section is one such letter addressed to the one of the show’s characters, Inspector Thomlason, as well as its response.

Newspaper and magazine clippings are arranged chronologically, with undated clippings at the end of the section.  These articles span the period from Thaxton’s teenage years through 2005, when he was researching DVD sales and looking at the possibility of a Lloyd Thaxton Show DVD release.  Also included are clippings from Thaxton’s time at Northwestern University, referring to his participation in the annual Waa-Mu Show as well as to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Additionally, a number of reviews from The Lloyd Thaxton Show, Mansion of Mystery, Fight Back! With David Horowitz, and Stuff Happens (And Then You Fix It!) are contained here.

The professional projects portion of the collection includes files regarding many of Thaxton’s career undertakings including The Lloyd Thaxton Show, as well as everything he produced afterwards.  This includes papers varying from television to radio to motion picture treatments and print media, some of which were never produced.  A number of these files were organized by Thaxton himself, and this original order has been retained wherever possible.

Also found in this section are papers relating to Thaxton and John Alston’s 2003 self-help book, Stuff Happens (And Then You Fix It!), as well as plans for a second book, a memoir entitled So What? Although never published, excerpts from this were later used in Thaxton’s blog, which he updated frequently until his death until 2008.

Publicity and promotional materials from Lloyd Thaxton’s professional career are included and arranged chronologically, spanning from 1948 to 2003.  This section includes programs from performances at Northwestern University and WSPD-TV in Toledo, as well as a number of advertisements for The Lloyd Thaxton Show specifically encouraging local networks to pick up the show.

Photographs in this collection are arranged chronologically with undated or unidentified photos appearing at the end.  The bulk of this section includes photographs from The Lloyd Thaxton Show, including appearances with the show’s musical guests such as Peter, Paul, and Mary, Dave Brubeck, The Supremes, and James Brown.  There are also a number of photographs pertaining to Thaxton’s family and personal life. Boxes 23 and 24 contain legal-sized photographs, and so are out of the larger chronological order.

Legal and oversized items, audio records, and artifacts are contained in non-standard sized boxes and contain a variety of formats and items. Included are photographs, records, posters, a scrapbook, three large musical instruments (a saxophone, a trombone, and an electric guitar) and other props used on The Lloyd Thaxton Show, Thaxton’s pipe, a number of large plaques including one with Thaxton’s Northwestern University diploma, Thaxton’s jacket from the Director’s Guild of America, a large American flag presented to Mrs. Thaxton, and Thaxton’s military-issued grave marker which reads, “Husband and Father Beloved by Millions.” This series is arranged by size and type of material, and chronologically within each box.

Audiovisual materials are held in boxes 35-39, and include videotapes (VHS), audiotapes, audiocassettes and  compact discs ranging in date from 1975-2008.

Dates

  • 1862-2008
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1922-2008
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/08/2012

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Financial records in box 34 are restricted until 2035.

Extent

39.00 Boxes

Abstract

Lloyd Eugene Thaxton (1927-2008) was a popular television host and producer with a career spanning nearly fifty years.  His musical variety show, titled The Lloyd Thaxton Show, ran from 1961-1968, and featured many popular musical acts of the era.  Thaxton was also executive producer of Fight Back! With David Horowitz, a consumer advocacy show that ran 1976-1992.  The collection includes biographical materials, photographs, papers related to his numerous professional projects, promotional materials and newspaper clippings, as well as a variety of oversized artifacts, including show props and musical instruments.

Source of Acquisition

Gift.
Method of Acquisition Acquired from Barbara Thaxton, August 2012 (Accession #12-182), April 2013 (Accession #13-76), and June 2013 (Accession #13-144).

Separated Materials

Thaxton’s high school diploma (1945) has been separated to Northwestern University Archives’ collection of diplomas and oversized certificates. Artifacts separated from the collection include a doll, musical instruments, and a grave marker, numbered as follows: 1: “Dawk” doll from The Lloyd Thaxton Show, 1960s. 2: Electric guitar from The Lloyd Thaxton Show, 1960s. 3: Saxophone from The Lloyd Thaxton Show, 1960s. 4: Trombone from The Lloyd Thaxton Show, 1960s. 5: Lloyd Thaxton military-issued grave marker, 2008.
Title
Guide to the Lloyd Thaxton Papers
Author
Frannie Trempe; Jason Nargis; Benn Joseph, 2012-2013.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Contact:
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US
847-491-3635