The C-SPAN Records collection documents C-SPAN from its beginnings in the late 1970's.   It also illustrates C-SPAN's engagement in the politics and governance of the United States, showing why its founding represents a turning point in U.S. political history. From this material, you can also get a sense of how U.S. residents reacted to the issues of their day, and see where patterns emerge. Ultimately, the C-SPAN Records collection captures the mission of the C-SPAN Corporation to connect its audience to the workings of government and provide balanced information to anyone and everyone who turns on the channel.

Where did the collection come from?

The C-SPAN Corporation donated 170 boxes of material to the Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University in 2011. The collection consists of materials created and collected by the C-SPAN Corporation and its founder, Brian Lamb, from the years 1978-2012.

What is the C-SPAN Project?

The C-SPAN Project is an endeavor begun in 2017 to process the records of the C-SPAN organization, held by George Mason University.  The first phase of the project consisted of processing the roughly 400 boxes of material donated by the organization.  This processing consisted of evaluating the contents, creating an organizational structure, rehousing materials in archival storage containers, and generating a finding aid. (For more detail about processing, click here.)  The second phase of the project consisted of digitizing a portion of the collection, based upon evaluation of its research value and staff capacity for a period of about two years.  This work consisted of surveying the collection, gathering data, digital imaging, and collection of all digital files generated.  (For more detail about digitizing, click here.) 

What's on this site?

This site only represents a portion of the material contained in the C-SPAN Records collection.  The material here covers the time frame from 1982 to the year 2008. (For information on C-SPAN since 2008, please visit C-SPAN.org.)  Three series are presented here: Photographs, Press Releases, and Viewer Mail.  These series were selectively digitized based upon their research value and public interest.  These series comprise approximately one-quarter of the entire collection.   

What's in the rest of the collection?

As you can see in this site, about one quarter of the collection is viewer mail, photographs, and press releases.  In addition, there also include executive records, internal correspondence, slides, newspapers, audiovisual materials, memorabilia, and more.   For ease of research, the collection as a whole was processed into twelve series: Press Clippings, Routers, C-SPAN Bus Clippings, Press Releases, Green Room Faxes, Viewer Mail, Education and Marketing, Executive Files and Correspondence, Photographs, Audiovisual, Memorabilia, and Miscellaneous. These divisions make it much easier to find things in the 470 boxes that comprise the C-SPAN Records collection!  For more information, see the collection's Finding Aid