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Joseph Riggs and Michael Osborn Research for Mr. Mac Collection

Identifier: RG-010-1-C-1-1

Scope and Contents

This collection contains audio recordings, transcripts and correspondence related to the research and publication of Riggs’ and Osborn’s book "Mr. Mac”: William P. MacCracken, Jr. on Aviation, Law, Optometry.


  • Majority of material found within 1967 - 1968
  • 1967-1970, 1990

Conditions Governing Use

The items in this collection are protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use these items in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

See In Copyright-Educational Use Permitted on for more infomation.

The Slippery Rock University Archives assumes no responsibility for copyright infringement by users. Contact the Archives at

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Joseph (Joe) Riggs, professor emeritus, Communication Department, Slippery Rock University, was born in Middlebourne, West Virginia in 1928. Riggs graduated from Alderson Broaddus College in 1952 with a BA in Speech, English and Social Studies. In 1953 he earned a master’s degree in Speech from West Virginia University and in 1962 a PhD in Speech Communication and American History from the University of Illinois. Riggs taught at Slippery Rock University from 1971 to 1989. Before coming to Slippery Rock he taught at Lehigh University, 1953-1954, Glenville State College, 1954-1955, Memphis State University, 1955-1970 and Indiana State University, Terre Haute, 1970.

Michael Osborn, a native of Dothan, Alabama, is professor emeritus at the University of Memphis, retiring in 1995 after thirty years as professor and department chair at the University. He had taught previously at American University and the University of Iowa, where he returned some years later to teach a seminar as the A. Craig Baird Distinguished Visiting Professor. He also served as visiting professor at the Universities of North Carolina, California Davis, New Mexico, and Vanderbilt. He served as president of the Southern States Communication Association and of the National Communication Association, and received the distinguished service awards from both organizations. He also served as chair of the board of Humanities Tennessee, on which he sat for many years as an appointee of the governor.

Source: "Department of Communication." University of Memphis. University of Memphis, 09 01 2013. Web. 10 Sep 2013. />.

William P. MacCracken, about whom "Mr. Mac”: William P. MacCracken, Jr. on Aviation, Law, Optometry is written, was a pioneer in aviation safety and an advocate for the profession of optometry. The book, for which the research for this collection was conducted, is based on hours of interviews by authors Riggs and Osborn with MacCracken’s friends and associates. It chronicles the development of American aviation and the “parallel rise in importance and prestige of optometry” (from the book jacket). MacCracken was a pilot during World War I; he later served as Washington Counsel for the American Optometric Association and was appointed the first Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics in 1926 by Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce. MacCracken was instrumental in the development of American aviation legislation. He served as the Secretary of the American Bar Association from 1926 to 1936. His pilot’s license was the first issued in the U.S.A.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection includes interview recordings and transcripts conducted as research for the book "Mr. Mac”: William P. MacCracken, Jr. on Aviation, Law, Optometry.


Series 1: Records and transcripts

This series consists primarily of annotated transcripts from the interview recordings in series 2. It also includes background material on the interview process and related material regarding the publication of the book. It is arranged by subject.

Series 2: Audiocassettes

This series consists of interviews on audio cassettes. The series is arranged by interview and chronologically.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Audiocassette must be digitized prior to use. Contact the Archives in advance to request the use of these items.

Custodial History

This collection was received in its entirety from Dr. Joseph Riggs.

Related Materials

"Mr. Mac”: William P. MacCracken, Jr. on Aviation, Law, Optometry, by Michael Osborn and Joseph Riggs, Southern College of Optometry, 1970.

Joe Riggs, ROCKvoices, the Oral History Project of SRU, Online Exhbit, Slippery Rock University Archives

American Optometric Association Washington Office Records, 1945-1969 (microfilm), The Archives & Museum of Optometry, American Optometric Association, St. Louis, MO

William P. MacCracken, Jr. Papers, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Sallie Lucile Lewis MacCracken Interview, Miller Center, University of Virginia, 9/1/1970,
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Slippery Rock University Archives and Special Collections Repository

315 Bailey Library
Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock PA 16057