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American Association of University Women, Metropolitan Area Mass Media Committee records

 Collection 0298-MDHC

The Metropolitan Area Mass Media Committee (MAMM), which was composed of representatives from each of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) branches in the Washington metro area, presented annual awards to local television and radio programs meriting recognition. Included in this collection are materials documenting the activities of the committee and past award winners.


  • 1959-2004
  • Majority of material found within 1970-2000

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


1.75 Linear Feet

190 Photographs

3 Items (audio-visual)

Scope and Content of Collection

The American Association of University Women, Metropolitan Area Mass Media Committee archives cover the period 1959 to 2004. The bulk of the material dates from 1970 to 2000. The collection includes correspondence, financial records, newsletters, agendas, minutes, clippings, memoranda, press releases, survey forms, campaign handouts, forms, campaign proposals, membership lists, award materials, photographs, and audio-visual materials.

Among the award materials are programs for award ceremonies; letters of notification; lists of award recipients; and biographies and descriptions of award recipients.

Administrative History

The twentieth century revolution in media and communications triggered growing concern and curiosity among a number of organized citizen groups. The American Association of University Women (AAUW), which first recognized the potential impact of radio on education and culture in 1933, was among the early organizers and participants to weigh in on the role of television in American life, ultimately forming the Metropolitan Area Mass Media Committee (MAMM) in 1963. Technology, the invention of television in particular, offered new opportunities for education and culture; yet many citizens, including AAUW members, were concerned about the growing influence of television on the population of America. The women of the American Association of University Women, Bethesda-Chevy Chase branch, were quick to act and become a recognizable voice in the promotion of quality television.

Initially motivated by concern for children, the branch focused on reinforcing the need for quality children's programming, publicly commending programs and personalities focused on children and education. Concurrently, the Alexandria, Virginia branch formed an Educational Television study group. The two branches acknowledged their similarities and, in 1956, joined together to form a metropolitan area mass media committee.

By 1958, the committee expanded to include at least eight area branches representing Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. These branches each conducted autonomous study groups on mass media and jointly participated in presenting awards to locally produced television programming. Additionally, the Greater Washington Educational Television Association (GWETA) invited members of AAUW branches to participate on its Advisory Council, and AAUW members actively supported GWETA through fund drives, conferences, and production assistance with early programming on commercial stations. Local AAUW branches were instrumental in assisting Elizabeth Campbell's efforts to secure Channel 26, WETA, a public television station, for the Washington metropolitan area in 1961.

In 1963, the committee adopted a formal name: Metropolitan Area Mass Media Committee (MAMM). MAMM was organized as a collaborative effort in which each branch sent representatives to serve on the permanent committee. It actively influenced local mass media by conducting surveys; distributing survey results; researching and writing reports; serving as production assistants; hosting and attending conferences; and assisting public programming to secure funds and air space. The MAMM committee was most notable for the presentation of annual awards to recognize the efforts of local television programming. MAMM broadened its focus in 1966 when Jean White of the Washington Post received an award for her newspaper series "Our Crowded Earth." The Washington Post publicized the awards with a full page announcement, complete with MAMM caricatures, thus establishing early use of the acronym. In 1968, Harden and Weaver of WMAL received the first radio award, and WAMU received the first radio letter of recognition for contributions to community affairs.

By 1968, MAMM officially extended the award program to include local radio broadcasts and print media. Granting awards to local media allowed the AAUW to register publicly its opinion of local media outlets, thereby indirectly influencing the quality of print and programs. Awards were presented annually in May at a ceremony held at AAUW headquarters in Washington, D.C.

MAMM celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2004. By this time, outlets for communication had increased exponentially. The committee attempted to include new media in the awards program, adding cable and satellite channels and internet sites. However, a paragraph penned at the time of the fiftieth anniversary summarized the challenges faced by MAMM in the twenty-first century:

The media environment has changed dramatically since the early 1950s. Accessible media outlets have exploded. Local children's programming has disappeared. The media environment now includes DVDs, video games, cable and satellite television, and the internet. Our media neighborhood or what we used to call local needs to be rethought.

The committee members assessed MAMM's purpose and situation but were unable to propose a solution to accommodate the new media environment. MAMM disbanded in 2005 after fifty-one years of service to the Washington, DC metropolitan area.


The collection is divided into three series:

Series 1
Subject Files
Series 2
Series 3
Audiovisual Materials

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains audiovisual materials. Items that cannot be used in the Special Collections reading room or are too fragile for researchers require that a digital copy be made prior to use. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Patty Jantho, a member of MAMM, donated the Metropolitan Area Mass Communication Committee records to the University of Maryland Libraries in June 2004.

Related Material

The University of Maryland Libraries also contains the Maryland Division of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) archives. The National Public Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland Libraries contains numerous materials on Washington, DC area communications, as well as an oral history with Elizabeth Campbell.

Processing Information

Staples and paper clips were removed, and all materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes. Duplicate materials were identified and removed from the collection. All duplicates were discarded and all photographs and audio-visual materials were transferred to their appropriate holding areas within the Archives and Manuscripts Department. Photographs were sleeved and placed in photograph binders.

Guide to the American Association of University Women, Metropolitan Area Mass Media Committee records
Processed by Charlotte Ferguson, Jennie A. Levine, and Janna Robinson.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742