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Recorded Sound Section--Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division



Women on the Radio
Beyond the Microphone
Daytime Programming
World War II
NBC Radio Collection
arrow graphicPrograms for and by Women
Meet the Press Collection
NPR Collection
WOR Collection
Pacifica Radio Archive
CBS Collection
AFRTS Collection
Women on AFRS
OWI Collection
VOA Collection
BBC Sound Archive Collection
Music Recordings
Drama and Literature Recordings
The Spoken Word




Programs for and by Women

NBC broadcasts offer listeners examples of America's golden age of radio broadcasting on nearly a daily basis. They present a gold mine of material waiting to be tapped by researchers in their quest for information on American women's history and culture. Not only did NBC programs feature many of the major women comedians, actors, and performers of the day, they also featured programs about women, their history, and the issues that concerned them. Practically all the major women newsmakers of the day were featured on the radio. Women worked behind the scenes at NBC as writers, producers, directors, musicians, and newscasters. Programs and advertisements that were expressly created for the female audience offer insight into women's lives and perceptions of them.

Women Writers

In addition to the daytime programming that was so important to women listeners, the NBC Collection contains pertinent evening and special programs created or written by women, such as the light dramas Grand Central Station (1940-42), by Mary Brinker Post (b. 1906), Dena Reed (1903-1986), and others; and Grand Marquee (1946-47), by Virginia Safford Lynne. Gertrude Berg (1899-1966) was another such author, whose semiautobiographical House of Glass (1935) told the story of the Glass family, who ran a small hotel in the Catskills.

Women Journalists
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Frederic March and Hazel Scott (at the piano) on the National Urban League's Salute to Freedom. NBC Radio. March 18, 1944. National Urban League, Vocational Opportunity Campaign scrapbook (part 1, series 7), Manuscript Division. LC-MS-40774-2.

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Respected women journalists and reporters such as Dorothy Thompson (1893-1961), Helen Hiett (1913-1961), and Pauline Frederick (1908-1990) worked on several NBC news and special broadcasts. Hiett was one of the first female foreign correspondents for NBC. A 1930s series called Women in the News (1937-39) featured noteworthy women of the day. Dozens of programs sponsored by various Democratic and Republican party organizations dealt with women's issues and also featured prominent women. In 1940, Rose Kennedy (1890-1995) spoke on President Franklin D. Roosevelt's “road to peace” before the Democratic National Conference Women's Division (RWB 5424 A2). The Women's National Republican Club offered a 1948 program (RWB 8844 B2) with Alma Kitchell, Irene Dunne (1904-1990), and Edith Willkie (1890?-1978), wife of Wendell Willkie.

Women Comedians

NBC employed many women comedians who were popular during radio's golden age, including Jane Ace (1905-1974), Fanny Brice (1891-1951) [picture], Lucille Ball (1911-1989), Penny Singleton (1908-1952), and Billie Burke (1885-1970).

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