Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Julie Chase Fuller WTAG

This all came about because of a cookbook. The title of the book is "WTAG's Gossip Bench Cookbook Swap Session Recipes" compiled by Julie Chase. It comes to us without a publishined date but is estimated to be late 1950s. It tells me she was a radio host in the on WTAG-AM and she seemed to have been something like a local Betty Crocker.
I was not even close. See above. In the 1960s she's Julie Chase Fuller. She got married and changed her name, using the then risque hyphen. She was a board member of A.W.R.T. American Women in Radio and TV. She was their president in 1966. We are lucky they were a progressive group. Their vice president, Tomi Jackson, was black and Jet magazine wrote a small blurb on it. If not for that, I'd have almost no collaborating evidence on any of this. AWRT still exists today. The history on their website is pitifully brief.
AWRT was formed in 1951 as successor to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) women's division. NAB voted approval of the new organization, offering complete cooperation and assistance. The following year, more than 280 women gathered to celebrate and approve the structure of the AWRT.
Suddenly I see her as a feminist. AWRT was founded in 1951, making Julie a very early member of the organization. A 1963 Issue of the International Television Almanac list her as a Vice President, so clearly her tenure was at least 3 years and certainly more. This is verified by a matching listing in the Attorneys Trade Association Radio Annual of 1963. The VPs have regions. she has the "E Area" which can only be assumed to be East. That same year, Public Relations Journal notes that Julie authored a pamphlet called "Meet Mike" an instructional for young girls who wanted to become radio commentators. (I'd love to get a copy of that.)
Before all this, Julie was a radio show host. In the 1960s she did a local show in Worcester aimed at housewives and house-making. The show had a little meat on it though. Helen Nelson was a regular guest on WTAG mornings with Julie Chase Fuller, discussing books, authors and literature. Later on I find her listed as the director of women's programs and community services. She is expanding her role. Then there is a big gap. A meaningful gap. Broadcasting Magazine writes her up in 1967, then she's a VP at AWRT.

In 1970 Syracuse University Awards her the The George Arents Pioneer Medal. It is only awarded to Alumni, and is an award for excellence in their field of endeavor. So she is a graduate of Syracuse University and by 1970 was well known for her work. This cannot be for her work at WTAG. This must be related to her tenure at A.W.R.T. She was still with the group in 1971, as I confirm in the Martha Brooks Papers housed at the digital library of U. Maryland.

In 1978 she's off raising money to restore Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. She must have succeeded because today it continues to exist as the Julie Chase Fuller Endowment Fund for Mechanics Hall. After that I cant find anything. Just a passing note on her death in a book about the Organist Guild of Worcester around 1990.

*Julie's head shot is courtesy of the personal library of Aleta Meadowlark of Omnomicon fame.