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Merlin Aylesworth

Genealogy info: Arthur (1), Chad (2), Thomas (3), Elhanan (4), Hiram (5), Ezra Morgan ( & Malinda Hall) (6), Barton Oville (7).
 

(1886 - 1952)
Merlin Hall Aylesworth was the founding President of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).   Merlin was a true pioneer, because at that time (1926), the concept of  network broadcasting was just an idea.  Merlin created a system which eventually brought into being competitors such CBS and ABC. By being the first to develop the concept, it fell upon him to establish the fundamental policies that still are the backbone of network broadcasting.

                               Biographical sketch, by Owen R. Aylesworth

T
he son of Barton Orville Aylesworth and Georgia L. Shores. Merlin was born July 19, 1886 in Cedar Rapids, IA and came west with his parents to Colorado, first settling in Denver in 1896 and then to Fort Collins in 1898. Nicknamed "Deac" after his grandfather, Merlin attended the local schools and complete his early education at Colorado Agriculture College.  He attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Colorado and graduated in 1908 from the University of Denver with a LL. B degree. Later in 1932 he received his LL. D from Columbia University 

    Upon graduation in 1908 he opened a Law Office in Fort Collins becoming the  attorney for the Commerce Bank & Trust as well as the Northern Colorado Power Co.

    Marriage was next in his life and on Oct. 20, 1909 he took for his wife Blanche Minnie Parrett, born Jul. 28, 1886, Byers, Arapahoe Co., CO, died May 1959, the daughter of Chauncey Jerome Parrett (b. Jan. 1849, d. Jun. 1910) and Maud Heath Gildersleeve (b. Apr. 19, 1866)(their marriage being Sep. 5, 1883 in Denver, CO) This marriage bringing two children: Barton Jerome and Dorothy.

     Merlin was elected Chairman of the Larimer Co. Republican Central Committee in 1910 and Appointed Attorney of Larimer Co. in 1911 at the age of 25. His career now taking off he became Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in 1914 and Vice-President  in 1918 of the Utah Power & Light Co. 1919 he was appointed Manager of the National Electric Light Association.

     At the urging in 1926 of Owen D. Young of General Electric Co., David Sarnoff, Gen. J. C. Harbord of RCA and Guy E. Tripp of Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co. he accepted the position of the first President of the new National Broadcasting Co. now known as NBC. Always looking for new fields, in 1932 (to 1938) he became President and Chairman of Radio-Keith-Orpheum Corporation now know as RKO. During this period in 1934-35 he also served as Chairman of the Board of the Radio City Music Hall and in 1937, Publisher of Scripps Howard Newspapers. On March 31, 1938 until Dec. 19, 1939 we find him  Publisher of the New York World Telegram.   

     Returning to the practice of law in 1939 he was admitted to the Bar of New York by then Supreme Court Justice Francis Martin with the aim to practice Corporate Law and specializing in litigation of labor and taxation disputes. Chosen as Executive Consultant to the Office of Inter-American Affairs in 1940 was his last task in life.

    In 1945, his first marriage having ended in divorce, he married Caroline Andrus (Andrews) McEnteer. He passed away on Sep. 30, 1952 having filled a life of 66 years. 

     The last honor bestowed on him came in 1960 when he was elected into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.

Ref: Time Magazine Jan. 6, 1936, Apr. 11, 1938, Jan. 1, 1940; History of Larimer County, CO; American Advertising Federation, Advertising Hall of Fame.

See also his Genealogical History 

A clipping from The Toronto Daily Star Sept. 30, 1952

 

 

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