Alfred Balk Papers

Institution: Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312-255-3506
Date: 1940-1993
Extent: 12.5 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
Iowa-born, Northwestern-educated journalist Alfred Balk produced articles on a variety of subjects, including a report on corruption in the Illinois legislature co-authored with Senator Paul Simon; zoning abuses; tax breaks enjoyed by religious institutions; nursing-home neglect; Great Lakes water issues; and threatened parkland areas. For The Saturday Evening Post, Balk collaborated with Alex Haley for an article about Black Muslims and the Nation of Islam, and also exposed the racist practice of real estate "blockbusting," which led to a landmark 1972 civil court decision protecting journalists’ rights to source confidentiality. He was an editor of Saturday Review, Columbia Journalism Review, and World Press Review, a month foreign press digest. He taught at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, from which he retired in 1994. He dedicated much of his long career to improving the media.

Scope and Content Note:
Materials related to Alfred Balk’s journalism career including correspondence, working files for freelance articles, books, speeches, and other writings, files relating to his editorial positions, volunteer, and foundation work, also personal items and photographs.

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