Joel A. Benedict Papers 1932-1999; MSS-180

Joel A. Benedict Papers 1932-1999; MSS-180

The Joel A. Benedict Papers are comprised of four series: Series I: Educational Materials, Series II: Professional, Series III: Visual Literacy Associations, and Series IV: Visual Literacy Newsletters. Materials are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Biographical Note:
Joel Avery Benedict was born to pioneer parents in 1909 in the Arizona Territory. He worked his way through Tempe Normal School (now Arizona State University) beginning as a janitor and later working as a part-time Industrial Arts teacher. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in 1930 and his Master’s Degree in 1942. In 1959, he earned his Doctorate from Stanford University with a dissertation entitled The Development of an In-Service Training Program in Audiovisual Methods through Television.

After two years as an elementary school teacher in Gilbert, Arizona, Benedict was appointed Superintendent of the Mayer School District. During World War II, Joel Benedict was commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the US Navy, where he served thirty-nine months as a flight instructor. After retiring from active duty as a Lieutenant Commander, he was appointed the first Director of Audiovisual Services and part-time faculty member at Arizona State University. In this position, he established the Central Arizona Film Cooperative to provide the schools of Arizona with educational films and established a program of graduate studies in Audiovisual Education.

In 1962, Benedict was appointed a visiting professor of education at Indiana University to establish an audiovisual program in the Eastern Region of Nigeria for the US Office of International Development. He was appointed director of Media Research and Development in 1974 retired in 1978 after 32 years of outstanding service to Arizona State University. During ASU’s Centennial year in 1985, Dr. Benedict was awarded the Medallion of Merit, which honored 100 individuals who have made significant contributions to public schooling in Arizona during the past 100 years. In addition, the College of Education designated him the first recipient of its Hall of Fame Award in 1990.

In 1988, Joel and Irene Benedict established the Visual Literacy Collection at Arizona State University in order to preserve multimedia materials for students and scholars. It was renamed the Benedict Visual Literacy Collection in 1994 in honor of the Benedicts’ contribution and commitment to the University. Throughout his prolific career as an audiovisual pioneer, Joel Benedict developed a national reputation for university film and audiovisual work. He produced and published numerous educational materials, copyrighting 93 of them in the name of the university. Many of these sound filmstrips, motion pictures, books, and devices have been distributed throughout the United States and in over 20 foreign countries.

Scope and Content Note:
The Joel A. Benedict Papers are divided into four series: Series I: Educational Materials, Series II: Professional, Series III: Visual Literacy Associations, and Series IV: Visual Literacy Newsletters. Materials are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series I: Educational Materials consists of reports, guides, and audiovisual materials discussing understanding different aspects of photography and audiovisual education. Joel Benedict produced many of these materials himself, while others were composed by his students, contemporaries, and colleagues.

Series II: Professional describes Benedict’s professional background, awards, and endeavors outside of the educational field. Information on his company, Instructional Media Associates, Inc., is included here.

Series III: Visual Literacy Associations contains conference materials, membership information, and correspondence related to Dr. Benedict’s involvement in a variety of organizations. The majority of this series documents the International Visual Literacy Association.

Series IV: Visual Literacy Newsletters contains three different publications. “Strategies” was a forum for media literacy published out of San Francisco. “Visual Literacy Newsletter” served as a monthly update for members of the International Visual Literacy Association about the organization and visual literacy news. “Visual Literacy Review” was also a monthly publication for members of the IVLA intended to keep them abreast of current news in education and visual literacy.