The Gertrude Entenmann papers documents Entenmann's career in Washington, DC television and advertising. It spans the years 1954 to 1980 with the bulk of the material from the 1950s and 1960s. This collection includes promotional materials, papers, photographs, business materials artifacts, and books.
This collection is open for research use.
Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials page for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.
2.50 Linear Feet
Gertrude Entenmann (1908-1998) was an American copy writer, advertising executive, and television producer. She was born Gertrude Maggioncalda in Vineland, NJ in 1908, the only child of first-generation Italian immigrants. She graduated from Vineland High School in 1925 and was her school's valedictorian.
After graduation, Gertrude attended Camden Business School and would later work for four years as a legal secretary. In 1931, she married Louis Rogers and moved with him to Alexandria Bay, NY. In Alexandria, the family ran a small grocery store and Gertrude continued her education via correspondence courses. She gave birth to her only child, a son, Lee Rogers, during her time in Alexandria.
In 1943, after the end of her marriage, Gertrude and her son moved to Buffalo. After positions with a museum in Buffalo, NY and with the Great Books organization, in late 1945 she was hired as a copywriter by Bolman & Block Advertising Agency, where she proceeded to write ad copy for various businesses in the Buffalo area.
At that time, advertising agencies and their clients were often closely affiliated with area broadcasters and B&B was no different. Around 1947, Gertrude, as part of the servicing of her advertising clients, soon found herself to be a de facto TV producer putting together dozens of live programs for TV station WBEN.
From 1947 to 1953, Gertrude produced various programs for WBEN including: a daily afternoon show hosted by Johnny Colbert, a cooking program, and two amateur talent shows, one for children and one for adults. Entenmann also oversaw the production of various commercials for the station, including spots for Kobacker, Queen-O Soft Drinks, and Rich's Ice Cream.
Legally divorced from her first husband in 1952, Gertrude remarried (becoming Gertrude Entenmann) the following year. That same year, the family relocated to Washington, DC.
It was at this time that Entenmann reentered the advertising industry by joining the Kaufman agency. Later, in 1957, she moved to the William Murdock & Associates ad firm, where she wrote copy and oversaw ad campaigns for Peoples Drug Stores, Crusty Pies, Olney Inn, First Federal Savings and Loan, and Coca-Cola, among other companies.
While with Murdock, Entenmann did work for all four DC-area stations and over the years would work with such on-air talent as the "Joy Boys," Inga Rundvold, Louie Allen, Jules Huber, and Mack McGarry.
Entenmann was also active in the organization American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT), for a time serving as chair of the Mid-Eastern division.
A member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church, later in life, Entenmann would produce a weekly program which WRC-TV aired from 1962 to 1972. Titled "Search," the program was originally 15 minutes in length. During the last six years of its production, it would run for 30 minutes. In 1997, Gertrude Entenmann received the Unitarian-Universalist Church's highest award, the Arno Winward Award, for her "exemplary life of service" to the church.
Entenmann lost her husband in 1967. She died in 1998. She is survived by her son, Lee Rogers.
Organized as seven series:
The Gertrude Entenmann Papers was donated to the Library of American Broadcasting by Lee H. Rogers, Entenmann's son, in August of 1999.