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Edythe Meserand papers

 Collection 0124-MMC-LAB
Edythe Meserand (1908-1997) began her broadcasting career in 1926 at NBC, but had her greatest influence at WOR where she produced the first true radio documentary and began the station's long-running Children's Christmas Fund Drive. She was a founding member of American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) and served as the organization's first president. The majority of the collection pertains to various radio and television programs she produced and to the early years of American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT).

Dates

  • 1900-2000 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1950s

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Extent

11.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

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.

Biography

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. Ms. 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). 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 would retire to her Windy Hill Farm, located west of Albany, NY. She died in 1997.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into thirteen series.
Series 1
Biographical Material
Series 2
Correspondence
Series 3
Clippings
Series 4
Magazines/Publications
Series 5
Photographs
Series 6
WOR
Series 7
Awards, Certificates and Honors
Series 8
American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT)
Series 9
Speeches
Series 10
Miscellaneous
Series 11
Media/Books
Series 12
Scrapbooks
Series 13
Artifacts

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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 Ms. Meserand's, in several installments between 1998 and 2000.
Title
Guide to the Edythe Meserand papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Cary O'Dell
Date
2005-05-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Sponsor
Funded in part by the National Endowment of the Humanities.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212