Taking a Leading Role:
Women in Broadcasting History
The Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland hold an assortment of archival collections pertaining to women's contributions to American radio and television. This exhibit offers a sampling of items drawn from those collections and provides a glimpse into the lives and careers of sixteen American women who worked in broadcasting during its most crucial years of development and expansion, in the mid-20th century. The diversity of their collections illuminates the myriad ways that women shaped the course of broadcasting history.
Performers in the early years of broadcasting used the opportunities provided by novel genres of entertainment (such as talk programs, soap operas, comedies or drama series) to carve out their own unique niches within the new media. With the rise of radio and TV, many singers, actresses and entertainers chose to adapt their talents to suit the new formats and technologies. Some of these women went on to become producers or executives, while others remained faithful to their artistic crafts throughout their careers.