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Dorothy Lerner Gordon

Dorothy Lerner Gordon used radio and television to give children access to literature, music, and news of current events. The child of a diplomat, Gordon spent her childhood travelling Europe and developing a love of songs and folktales from different cultures. Later, as a parent, Gordon became frustrated with the lack of appropriate entertainment for children and began performing folk songs and stage routines, touring the country throughout the 1920s. While at first she used radio mainly to advertise her upcoming live performances, by the 1930s she began using radio to reach wider audiences. She became musical director of the American School of the Air, which taught classes on the radio, and told stories for the Children’s Corner. In 1939 she created Yesterday’s Children, where she would dramatize a favorite childhood story of a celebrity and then ask them why it had been their favorite. The author of several books on the impact of radio on children, Gordon began using the medium to help children understand current events in 1941 as director of children’s radio programs for the Office of War Information. In 1943 she created the Youth Forum, where children of all social and racial backgrounds would discuss current events, a program she moderated until her death.

More on Dorothy Lerner Gordon
Date of Birth
April 4, 1889
Place of Birth
Date of Death
May 11, 1970

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Dorothy Lerner Gordon." (Viewed on January 20, 2019) <>.


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