A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 27, 2011
Aunt Sammy (sister of Uncle Sam)

“Aunt Sammy” was a radio character created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics in 1926 to educate homemakers. The show was renamed “Homemaker Chat” in 1934 and ran until 1944. Each radio station had its own “Aunt Sammy,” with all of them reading from the same script.

“Aunt Sammy” was originally described as Uncle Sam‘s sister, although later newspaper articles called her Uncle Sam’s wife. “Aunt Samantha” has been a name for Uncle Sam’s wife since at least 1913.


Google News Archive
18 September 1926, Youngstown (OH) Vindicator, pg. 2, col. 8:
WASHINGTON—Tune in Oct. 4 on the station that registers best and meet Aunt Sammy. Uncle Sam’s bureau of home economics is going to have aunty tell through 30 stations all about the artistic points of housekeeping.

19 September 1926, New York (NY) Times, “RadioFarm School to Open October 4,” pg. X18:
‘Aunty Sammy,” Uncle Sam’s sister, will be heard from thirty stations starting Oct. 4. She will tell about the fine points in housekeeping from stations including: KFOA, KHQ, KPO, WDAF, WGBS, WOC, WOS, WAMD, WRC, WHO, KOIL, KWCR and KMA.

3 October 1926, New York (NY) Times, pg. XX17:
30 STATIONS
TO RADIATE
FARM TALKS
Aunt Sammy, a New
Radio Character, Will
Begin Series on the
Air Tomorrow

BEGINNING tomorrow, Aunt Sammy, supposed to be Uncle Sam’s sister. the first of several new headliners of the United States Agricultural Department, will go on the air from about thirty stations. This will mark a decided step forward in utilizing daylight hours for broadcasting, inasmuch as these features are especially calculated to interest the women of the country.

Aunt Sammy will not confine herself to the subject of cooking, but will include sewing, housecleaning, color scheme for the living room and becoming lines and colors for the stout and thin.

Google News Archive
23 September 1926, Sarasota (FL) Herald, ‘To Broadcast FarmNews in Every State,” pg. 3, col. 2:
The program to be broadcast by WDBO will consist of talks by"Aunty Sammy,” a new radio friend and neighbor, the announcement states, who will be heard from 30 stations. “Uncle Sam’s sister,” as the speaker is called, is the official radio representative of the Bureau of Home Economics of the department. She has a sense of humor, is the friendly sort, and knows all the new wrinkles and fine points in housekeeping, and will tell about them in a style all her own, it was stated.

OCLC WorldCat record
Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes. (Broadcast from Oct. 1926 to June 1927.).
Author: United States. Bureau of Home Economics.
Publisher: pp. 86. [Washington,] 1927.
Edition/Format:  Book : Government publication : English

27 August 1928, St. Albans (VT) Daily Messenger, pg. 2, col. 3:
Washington, (AP)—“Aunt Sammy,” one of 90 women who give advice on housekeeping and home-making for Uncle Sam’s department of agriculture—is going on the air to Hawaii. She will broadcast daily housewives’ chats to the Hawaiian Islanders.

OCLC WorldCat record
Aunt Sammy’s radio recipes revised
Author: Ruth Van Deman; Fanny Walker Yeatman; United States. Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics.
Publisher: Washington, U.S. Govt. print. off., 1931.

6 April 1975, Mobile (AL) Press Register, “Cooking Is Fun!” by Tommye Miller, pg. 9E, col. 1:
Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes, originally written by Ruth Van Deman and Fanny Walker Yeatman, will reappear on April 14, edited and with a long, nostalgic introduction by Martin Greif.
(...)
Who was Aunt Sammy, really? This Jazz Age Julia Child was the inspired creation ofthe U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Bureau of Home Economics. She was born in 1926, in the infancy of radio, and until 1944 she continued to advise the housewife good-humoredly on how to feed the family, how to fix a leaky faucet, how to raise both vegetables and babies.

Aunt Sammy was not just one person—as many as 150 women—reading identical scripts as they stood before microphones in radio stations across the country—were Aunt Sammies. Universe Books, which is publishing the new Aunt Sammy Cookbook, is looking for those original Aunt Sammies—anyone who may know of the present whereabouts of any of them is asked to get in touch with the publishers, 381 Park Avenue South, New York City, 10116.

Emporia (KS) Gazette
Aunt Sammy’s radio recipes
Regina Murphy
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
(...)
Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes was a 15-minute radio show broadcast five days a week and devoted to up-to-date information for the nation’s homemakers. As you may recall, at this time radio stations had a crew of actors to read texts live on the air, rather than receiving a nationwide broadcast from a single source. So Aunt Sammy in Atlanta would not sound anything like Aunt Sammy in Minneapolis!

According to Ronald Kline (“Consumers in the Country: Technological and Social Change in Rural America”) Aunt Sammy was a character created by the USDA Bureau of Home Economics and the Radio Service to be the “wife” of Uncle Sam. By 1932 the radio show was on 194 stations, but Aunt Sammy faded out during the Great Depression. After 1934 the radio show was renamed “Homemaker Chat” and ran until 1946.

Arcane Radio Trivia
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes
(...)
Aunt Sammy herself was a character created by the U. S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Home Economics and the Radio Service to be the ‘wife’ of Uncle Sam. Many women across the country ‘played’ Aunt Sammy at local radio stations when the show aired. The first Aunt Sammy came to life with the first NBC radio broadcast of “Housekeeper’s Chat” on October 4, 1926.

Posted by Barry Popik
Other ExpressionsOrigin of "Uncle Sam"/"Brother Jonathan" • (0) Comments • Tuesday, September 27, 2011 • Permalink