Women's Activism NYC

Kathryn Elizabeth Smith

1907 - 1986

By: ST | Date Added:

Kathryn Elizabeth Smith, also known as Kate Smith, or “The first Lady of the radio” was an American singer. Kathryn was born May 1, 1907 in Greenville, Virginia to Charlotte Yarnell and William Smith who owned a capital news company in Washington, D.C. where she grew up. Kathryn had a long extensive history in the entertainment business. She had radio, television, and recording careers that extended 50 years. During Honeymoon Lane’s run in New York, Smith made her first phonograph recordings, consisting of songs from that show. Her musical career took a huge leap in the 1930’s when Ted Collins an A&R from Columbia Records took interest in her. Kate became a major radio star and she began with a twice a week NBC series that quickly expanded to 6 times a week due to her popularity. Smith never married and in her later years was impaired by diabetes, and on June 17, 1986 she passed due to respiratory arrest. Kate Smith inspired many women to join radio and her legacy and story will continue to live on.

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