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David Sarnoff

David Sarnoff
Usage Conditions Apply
Artist
Samuel Johnson Woolf, 12 Feb 1880 - 1948
Sitter
David Sarnoff, 27 Feb 1891 - 12 Dec 1971
Date
1941
Type
Drawing
Medium
Charcoal and chalk on paper
Dimensions
Image: 39 × 24.5 cm (15 3/8 × 9 5/8")
Sheet: 55.5 × 44.5 cm (21 7/8 × 17 1/2")
Mat: 71.1 × 55.9 cm (28 × 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.80.273
Exhibition Label
Born Uzlian, Russia
As a young wireless telegraph operator in 1915, David Sarnoff submitted an idea for a "radio music box" to the Marconi Corporation that would make radio a "household utility," like a piano or phonograph. His idea was dismissed as "folly" at the time, but in 1926 Sarnoff achieved his dream by creating the National Broadcasting Company—the first network to have national broadcasts of music, news, and sports. His next giant step came at the 1939 World’s Fair, when he introduced television: "Now we add sight to sound." Television was a new art he envisioned as "a torch of hope in a troubled world." Sarnoff believed broadcasting had a "gift for democratizing" since people everywhere would have equal access to programming despite their economic status. NBC began its commercial television broadcasting in 1941 from WNBT in New York City, but the onset of World War II interrupted its development until 1945.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery