Sources and references

I have considered the formal and pedagogic aspects of Sesame Street, alongside those of a range of other preschool programmes, in another essay in this series: ‘Watching with (and without) mother: education and entertainment in television for pre-school children’,

This essay draws on archival research in three locations: the Children’s Television Workshop archive at the University of Maryland (UM/CTW); the Carnegie archive at Columbia University, New York City; and the Paley Center for Media, New York City. I’d like to thank the archivists and librarians in each location, especially Michael Henry at UM, Jennifer Comins at Columbia, and Jane Klain at the Paley Center. This aspect of the work was funded by an Emeritus Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust (UK), for which I am also very grateful.

I’d particularly like to thank Sesame Street historian Helle Strandgaard Jensen for giving me some very useful feedback on the draft.


References to archival documents, press reports etc., and other background materials are included in the footnotes. Full references to books and journal articles cited are as follows:

Ball, Samuel and Bogatz, Gerry Ann (1970) The First Year of Sesame Street: An Evaluation Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service

Bereiter, Carl and Engelmann, Siegfried (1966) Teaching Disadvantaged Children in the Preschool Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall

Bronfenbrenner, Urie (1970) ‘Who lives on Sesame Street?’ Psychology Today 4.5: 14-20

Cook, Thomas D, Appleton, Hilary, Conner, Ross F., Shaffer, Ann, Tamkin, Gary and Weber, Stephen (1975) Sesame Street Revisited New York: Russell Sage Foundation 1975

Cooper, Heidi Louise (2008) ‘A usefully messy approach: racializing the Sesame Street Muppets’, Youth Theatre Journal 22(1): 33-46

Davis, Michael (2008) Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street New York: Penguin

Fisch, Shalom M. (2004) Children’s Learning from Educational Television: Sesame Street and Beyond Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum

Fisch, Shalom M. and Truglio, Rosemarie (eds.) (2001) “G” is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and Sesame Street Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum

Francke, Linda (1971) ‘The games people play on Sesame Street’, New York 4(14): 26-9

Hendershot, Heather (1998) Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation Before the V-Chip Durham, NC: Duke University Press

Hendershot, Heather (1999) ‘Sesame Street: cognition and communications imperialism’, in Marsha Kinder (ed.) Kids’ Media Culture Durham, NC: Duke University Press

Holt, John (1971) ‘Big Bird, meet Dick and Jane’, Atlantic, May. Online at

Jensen, Helle and Lustyik, Katalin (2017) ‘Negotiating “non-profit”: the survival strategies of the Sesame Workshop’, Media International Australia 163(1): 97-106

Lesser, Gerald (1974) Children and Television: Lessons from Sesame Street New York: Random House

Liebert, Robert M. (1976) ‘Evaluating the evaluators’, Journal of Communication, Spring: 165-171

Long, Loretta (1973) Sesame Street: A Space Age Approach to Education for Space Age Children, PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst:

Looker, Benjamin (2015) ‘Peaceable kingdoms: the Great Society neighborhood in stories for children’ Chapter 7 of A Nation of Neighborhoods: Imagining Cities, Communities and Democracy in Postwar America Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Mandel, Jennifer (2006) ‘The production of a beloved community: Sesame Street’s answer to America’s inequalities’, Journal of American Culture 29(1): 3-13

Morrow, Robert W. (2006) Sesame Street and the Reform of Children’s Television Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press

Polsky, Richard (1974) Getting to Sesame Street: Origins of the Children’s Television Workshop New York: Praeger

Reimer, Mavis (2013) ‘Tell me how to get to Sesame Street’, Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 5(1): 1-15

Sprigle, Herbert A. (1971) ‘Can poverty children live on Sesame Street?’ Young Children 26(4): 202-17

Sprigle, Herbert A. (1972) ‘Who wants to live on Sesame Street?’ Childhood Education 49(3): 159-165


Audio-visual sources are as follows:

Joan Ganz Cooney: interview for TV Academy, 1998:

Joan Ganz Cooney: interview with John Callaway, 1983: Paley Center archive B11803

Joan Ganz Cooney: presentation at ‘CTW: the First Quarter Century: Seminar 1’, Paley Center, New York, 1993: Paley Center archive T28077

Gerald Lesser: presentation at ‘CTW: the First Quarter Century: Seminar 2’, Paley Center, New York, 1993: Paley Center archive T28028

Lloyd Morrisett: interview for TV Academy, 2004:

The World According to Sesame Street (documentary feature, directed by Linda Costigan and Linda Goldstein-Knowlton, Participant Productions, 2006): Paley Center archive B93515

‘First kids on the block: hosts of New York children’s shows of the fifties and sixties’, recording of Museum of Television and Radio seminar, 1994; and ‘Howdy Doody’ seminar, 1987: Paley Center archive T87:0469.