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|Size||3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 400 items)|
|Abstract||Journalist and writer Sam Summerlin, native of Chapel Hill, N.C., graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, former senior staff member for the Associated Press, and president of the New York Times Syndicate Sales Corporation. Papers consist largely of drafts for articles, short stories, novels, television and movie scripts, and documentaries. Included are materials pertaining to Summerlin's book on China's rise to nuclear power, "The China Cloud" (with William L. Ryan); "1:33: In Memoriam: John F. Kennedy" (with Bruce E. Henderson); and "The Super Sleuths" (with Bruce E. Henderson).|
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A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Sam Summerlin graduated from high school in Mexico City and speaks fluent Spanish. He earned Phi Beta Kappa honors at the University of North Carolina, then joined the Associated Press. When the Korean War broke out, he became the youngest foreign correspondent in that conflict and also covered other parts of Asia before moving to Latin America, where he reported on many countries from bases in Havana and Buenos Aires. He was named AP bureau chief in New Orleans in 1963 and directed coverage of the civil rights movement for two years. In 1965, he was promoted to New York, where he served as Deputy News Editor for AP World Services. Summerlin joined the New York Times Company in 1975, and, for 12 years, served as president and chair of the Times' News Service and Syndicate.
Summerlin took early retirement from the New York Times Company to pursue an entrepreneurial role in the emerging information/communications revolution. He created two companies: Hollywood Stars, Inc., which produces video programs, and SAGA Agency, Inc., which produces celebrity still photos, interviews and related news information, including news from SAGA’s White House correspondent. SAGA also serves as literary agent for a selected group of authors. Hollywood Stars, Inc. has completed more than 800 television shows and has a library of more than 6,000 exclusive interviews with the major movie stars. Its news segments have been broadcast in the United States on Rupert Murdoch's FOX News Service and abroad to more than 80 nations through Ted Turner's TNT network to Latin America and the Caribbean, via TV1000 to Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, on the Hallmark Channel to the Far East, on FOX News in Japan, in Spain, and on the Internet through Microsoft. The company has also produced television specials about movie stars, such as Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Jamie Lee Curtis for the Biography series on the A&E Network; Century of Cinema for the Disney Channel; and Hollywood's Magic Night, an annual preview of the Oscars, broadcast nationwide on PBS and syndicated worldwide.
Summerlin is the author or co-author of four books, including The China Cloud (1968), which served as the basis for a CBS 60 Minutes network program. He has produced more than 800 television programs, ranging from entertainment to histories of the Winter and Summer Olympics and a 26-part series for the Discovery Channel on Portraits of Power, profiling how New York Times correspondents remembered such world leaders as Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, and John F. Kennedy.
Summerlin is a recipient of Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Journalism Award for outstanding coverage of Latin America and is in the University of North Carolina Journalism School’s Hall of Fame. He was the first correspondent to flash the news that the Korean War had ended, as noted in Breaking News: How the Associated Press Has Covered War, Peace, and Everything Else (2007), a book about the history of the Associated Press.
Sam Summerlin, whose wife Cynthia died in 2000, has two children, Claire Slattery of Encinitas, Calif., and Thomas A. Summerlin of Arlington, Va., and three grandchildren, Barrett, Berkley, and Thomas Andrew Kai.Back to Top
Summerlin's papers consist largely of drafts of his books, short stories, and scripts. Some related correspondence and notes are present. Also included are book, television, and movie proposals. There is minimal documentation pertaining to his career with the Associated Press and as president of the New York Times Syndicate.Back to Top
Processed by: Tim Pyatt, January 1997
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top