AWC Timeline: 1940s
, Theta Sigma Phi had 39 student chapters and 23 alumnae chapters. World War II brought unexpected opportunities for women in print and broadcast journalism. Women studied radio engineering and took over studio jobs, as well as writing, directing and producing programs. Many women working at newspapers were promoted to editors and hard news reporters because of the shortage of men.
Many Theta Sigs joined in the war effort by becoming WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Service. Several other members served as overseas correspondents. Margaret Bourke-White, Life magazine photo-journalist, became the first female correspondent accredited to the Army Air Force. Chapters in the US kept busy aiding the war effort by organizing themselves into emergency units under the Director of Civilian Defense. Others established news bureaus at USO clubs to send stories on servicemen to hometown papers.
In 1946, Theta Sig Elizabeth Fontaine founded the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project (HVWP), a national organization “through which hospitalized veterans who wish to write for publication or as a hobby can be assisted by professional writers who serve as writer’s aides.”
As decade came to a close in 1949, Theta Sig President Janette Harrington told members, “Theta Sigma Phi has a challenging job to do, in enhancing the place of women in journalism and in setting the sights by which, in filling that place, high standards of quality and integrity will be maintained.”