IOWA CITY, Iowa >> Longtime NBC journalist Tom Brokaw has given the University of Iowa thousands of documents spanning his career, and they’re now available to the public.
The collection includes a notebook with interview questions for Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev and press badges from Saudi Arabia and the 1992 Republican National Convention. A daily planner holds handwritten notes such as “call Bill Gates.”
Some of the donated photos show Brokaw standing in front of plumes of smoke in New York on Sept. 11. A baby-blue book has a copy of transcripts from President Richard Nixon’s famous White House Tapes. Brokaw said it’s stained from reading transcripts while eating fried chicken made by his longtime wife.
“This (collection) really does represent his career, his life and personal life as a whole,” said Greg Prickman, head of special collections at the university’s Main Library.
The former “NBC Nightly News” anchor donated the items to the school in 2016 and it’s been organized and archived by special collections over the past year. The collection was made available to the public on Thursday.
Brokaw spent his freshman year at the University of Iowa, which gave him an honorary doctorate in 2010.
“One of the wonderful things about Tom Brokaw is his ability to tell other people’s stories and also his ability to tell his own story through his writing and his memoirs,” said Prickman. “Now, with his collection, he’s allowing other people to start coming in and tell stories using the materials he’s collected throughout his career.”
Graduate Assistant Elizabeth Riordan said the collection shows 50 years of the biggest global news stories as seen through the eyes of one reporter.
“We’re very fortunate with this collection because Brokaw is still so active, has a great memory and is willing to tell us these stories,” Riordan said.