Edythe Meserand: Radio Pioneer and First President of American Women in Radio and Television
Cox, Merrilee A.
Beasley, Maurine H.
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This historical dissertation examines the career of Edythe Meserand, a broadcast executive and the first president of American Women in Radio and Television, the oldest established professional association dedicated to advancing women in broadcasting. The research - the first in-depth account of Meserand's professional life - uses primary sources to investigate the tactics Meserand used to build a successful career in broadcasting's early decades, from the mid-1920s through the early 1950s. Her strategies reflected both her times and the conservative nature of the broadcasting industry. Much of her work took place in the gendered space that women typically occupied, but her most important work occurred during the fifteen years she spent in the male-dominated newsroom at WOR radio. This research adds to the historical record by providing a comprehensive case study of a notable woman whose career sheds light on the range of challenges and opportunities women faced. It also explores the prominent role she played in the founding and early development of AWRT where she inspired and mentored other women for more than 30 years. The author will argue that this work, and Meserand's ability to position herself as a worthy role-model for women in the broadcasting and media industry, is her most significant contribution.