LISA SERGIO: HOW MUSSOLINI'S "GOLDEN VOICE" OF PROPAGANDA CREATED AN AMERICAN MASS COMMUNICATION CAREER
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In 1937 Lisa Sergio, "The Golden Voice" of fascist broadcasting from Rome, fled Italy for the United States. Though her mother was American, Sergio was classified as an enemy alien once the United States entered World War II. Yet Sergio became a U.S. citizen in 1944 and built a successful career in radio, working first at NBC and then WQXR in New York City in the days when women's voices were not thought to be appropriate for news or "serious" programming. When she was blacklisted as a communist in the early 1950s, Sergio compensated for the loss of radio employment by becoming principally an author and lecturer in Washington, D.C., until her death in 1989. This dissertation, based on her personal papers, is the first study of Sergio's American mass communication career. It points out the personal, political and social obstacles she faced as a woman in her 52-year career as a commentator on varied aspects of world affairs, religion and feminism. This study includes an examination of the FBI investigations of Sergio and the anti-communist campaigns conducted against her. It concludes that Sergio's success as a public communicator was predicated on both her unusual talents and her ability to transform her public image to reflect ideal American values of womanhood in shifting political climates.