Paley, William S. (William Samuel), 1901-1990

Alternative names
Birth 1901-09-28
Death 1990-10-26

Biographical notes:

William S. Paley was President of CBS.

From the guide to the William S. Paley Letters, 1936, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

William S. Paley was born on September 28, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania in 1922. He worked for his father in the family cigar-making business, Congress Cigar Company, 1922 to 1928. He was a founder of United Independent Broadcasters (later Columbia Broadcasting System or CBS), and served as president from 1928 to 1946, and chief executive officer from 1928 to 1977. He also served as chairman of the board of directors, 1946 to 1983; and executive committee chairman, 1983 to 1990. During World War II, Paley took a leave of absence from CBS to work for the U.S. Forces in Europe. From 1943 to 1944 he was a supervisor at the Office of War Information. From 1944 to 1945, he was the chief of radio operations for the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF, Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters in England. At the time of the Normandy Invasion in June 1944, Paley arranged for a special radio broadcast by Allied leaders to the people of occupied Europe. In 1945, he served as deputy chief of Information Control, division of USGCC, and deputy chief of Psychological Warfare Division. In addition to serving on numerous boards and committees, he served as Chairman of the President's Materials Policy Commission from 1951 to 1952; and from 1954 to 1956 he was a member of the committee for the White House Conference on Education. He died in New York City on October 26, 1990.

From the description of Paley, William S. (William Samuel), 1901-1990 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10582083


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  • Radio--United States
  • World War, 1939-1945--Journalists
  • World War, 1939-1945--Propaganda
  • Communist Party of America
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns
  • Radio, television, film
  • Broadcasting policy


  • Broadcasters


  • France--Normandy (as recorded)