Edythe Meserand (1908-1997) was a radio news director and documentarian as well as a founding member and the first president of the professional organization American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT). She is credited with several broadcasting "firsts" while working at WOR in New York: founding the first radio newsroom, producing the first radio documentary, and organizing the station's enduring Children's Christmas Fund Drive. This collection encompasses the years 1920 to 2000, with most of the collection from the 1950s, and consists of scripts, photos, correspondence, clippings, memos, magazines, speech transcripts, notes, original stories, and media.
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11.50 Linear Feet
The Edythe Meserand Papers consist of scripts, photos, correspondence, clippings, certificates, memos, magazines, speech transcripts, notes, original stories, poems, artifacts and media. This collection encompasses the years 1920 to 2000 with the majority of the collection from the 1950s.
Edythe Meserand (1908-1997) was an American radio news director and documentarian, as well as a founding member and the first president of the professional organization American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT).
Born in 1908, Meserand began her broadcasting career in 1926 by joining up with the newly formed NBC radio network and working in their press department. There, she acted as press contact for radio editors throughout the nation.
In 1931, Meserand became the program and promotions director for the radio stations of the Hearst Organization (flagship, WGBS), headquartered in New York City. At Hearst, Meserand was featured as its first "Musical Clock Girl" and produced an array of musical, dramatic and talk programs including a daily "women's news period," a weekly program on modern American composers, and a morning talk show, Mr. And Mrs. Reader.
Meserand joined WOR-New York in 1935. WOR was the flagship station of the Mutual Broadcasting System. She worked in the station's publicity department, and later as assistant director of their News and Special Features Department. Meserand is credited with innumerable broadcasting "firsts" including: the founding of the first modern radio newsroom; the creation of the first true radio documentary; and, in 1945, initiating WOR's annual Children's Christmas Fund, a charitable initiative that continues to this day.
In 1950, Meserand served as chair of the committee which created the organization American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT). She served as the organization's first national president from 1951 to 1952. Leaving WOR in 1956, Meserand started her own advertising agency and remained active in American Women in Radio and Television. AWRT would ultimately name its most prestigious award after her; the Edythe J. Meserand Distinguished Broadcaster Award was designated in 1987 and is given out yearly by the organization.
Over the course of her career, Meserand received a wide spectrum of honors including a medal from the Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia in 1943 for her work at the UNNRRA Conference; a commendation in 1950 from Pope Pius XXII for a documentary on the holy year; a McCall's Golden Mike Award for outstanding programming for children; and a Science Award from the New Jersey Teachers Science Association for her program Wildlife, Unlimited.
Later in life Edythe Meserand retired to her Windy Hill Farm, located west of Albany, NY. She died in 1997.
The collection is divided into thirteen series.
The Edythe Meserand Papers was donated to the Library of American Broadcasting, University of Maryland Libraries, by Jane Barton, of AWRT and a longtime friend of Meserand's, in several installments between 1998 and 2000.