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The Helen Faith Keane Collection


The Helen Faith Keane Collection
Keane, Helen Faith
Collection number:
LAB 97-89
1.50 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
Mass Media and Culture
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

The host of WABD-TV's "The Helen Faith Keane Show. . .For Your Information," the 1951 winner of the McCall's Golden Mike Award for women's programming. The collection documents Helen Faith Keane's 1951 television program "The Helen Faith Keane Show . . .For Your Information."

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Preferred citation:

The Helen Faith Keane Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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Historical Note

Helen Faith Keane (1901- ) is an American broadcaster who helmed her own TV series over the Dumont TV network in the early 1950s.

The daughter of Polish immigrants, Keane (often referred to by her nickname "Happy") attended Cornell University, where she was a member of the women's rowing team and from which she would graduate Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English in 1925. She would later earn an MA in psychology from Columbia University.

Before her segue into broadcasting, Helen Faith Keane excelled in various fields. Her first job -- at $18 a week -- was as a copywriter for Bloomingdale's. She would stay with the store for six years, eventually being promoted to the position of Fashion Coordinator. After Bloomingdale's, Miss Keane took a job with Montgomery Ward to work as fashion coordinator for their catalog and retail stores. She was employed by Montgomery Ward for five years.

Just after WWII, while still working day shifts at Montgomery Ward, Ms. Keane began to work as a teacher, teaching night courses in fashion advertising at New York University. She would eventually join the faculty of NYU in their school of retailing, teaching first part time (1946-1952) and then full time (1952-1977).

It was during her tenure with Montgomery Ward and NYU that Ms. Keane entered broadcasting--"by accident."

After watching a daytime televised fashion show, Ms. Keane was displeased with the (male) commentator and called the station the next day to complain about it. Eventually she found she had a brand new job, one hosting her own daily TV talk show.

"The Helen Faith Keane Show...For Your Information" aired for exactly one year over WABD, a Dumont-owned station. Aimed at women, the program covered for its audience everything "from how to play the piano to what to ask your doctor about breast cancer." Said Ms. Keane about her program, "The ladies would write me with their questions and, when I received sufficient interest in a particular topic, I would seek an expert who could address it."

"The Helen Faith Keane Show...For Your Information" won a McCall's Mike award in 1951. One of that year's judges, Margaret Chase Smith, said about the program, "the material was inspiring evidence of what women can do, and are doing, for our country and our people."

In order to devote more time to her teaching at NYU and to have more time to travel, Ms. Keane ended her broadcasting career exactly one year after it began.

Ms. Keane has been married only once, to the late Dr. Philip Reichert. Reichert was also a graduate of Cornell (class of 1923). The couple had no children.

In 2001, Mrs. Reichert celebrated her 100th birthday. Two years later, still feisty and going strong, Mrs. Reichert made a return visit to Cornell to meet with the school's current women's rowing team.

Mrs. Reichert isn't the only one of her family with staying power. Her brother Peter, sister Lee, and brother Irving have also all lived, or are living, into their late 90s. Over the years, the four siblings have taken part in various scientific studies on human longevity.

Mrs. Reichert currently resides in New York City.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Helen Faith Keane Collection is quite small and encompasses only the year 1951, the time in which Keane helmed her own WABD-TV program "The Helen Faith Keane Show. . .For Your Information." The types of materials include correspondence, promotional items, photographs, awards and artifacts.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Helen Faith Keane Collection was donated to the Library of American Broadcasting, University of Maryland Libraries, by Helen Faith Keane Reichert in May of 1997.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Cary O'Dell, April 2004. Revised by Melanie Brown, May 2005.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Cary O'Dell, January 2005.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1951 (1 folder)

Three letters, all from 1951, all from charitable institutions, each thanking Ms. Keane for her help on their behalf via her broadcasts.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Correspondence, 1951 series 1box 1folder 1

Series 2: Brochures and Promo Items, 1951 (1 folder)

This sereis includes printed sales tools soliciting sponsorship for Ms. Keane's WABD television series. There are four items total: a four-page brochure announcing Ms. Keane's winning of the McCall's Mike award; an unbound but three-holed punched mini-booklet titled "Social Agencies Acknowledge Her Help" that contains letters of appreciation of Ms. Keane's program from the National Hospital for Speech Disorders, The Volunteers of America, the League of Women Voters, and Montefiore Hospital in Bedford Hills, NY; and a four-page specially-designed printed collage of letters sent to Ms. Keane from viewers with WABD proclaiming to potential sponsors, "Her Advice is Practical and Helpful," "Women Believe in Her as a Personal Friend," and "Viewers Appreciate the High Calibre of Miss Keane's Contribution," and "'God Bless You' and 'Thanks' direct from the heart." Also includes a 5 1/2" x 7" four page flier picturing Ms. Keane and describing her and her program.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Brochures and Promotional Items, 1951 series 2box 1folder 2

Series 3: Photos, circa 1951 (1 folder)

Four black and white photos: a composite shot featuring five pictures of Ms. Keane; two stills from her "Helen Faith Keane Show"; and a still of Keane with her producer, Keith Thomas.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Photographs, 1951 series 3box 1folder 3

Series 4: Awards, 1951 (1 folder)

Contains a clipping from "McCall's" magazine announcing Ms. Keane's winning of the 1951 McCall's Golden Mike Award for the creation of a program of "service primarily to women."

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Awards, 1951 series 4box 1folder 4

Series 5: Other, 1951-1952 (1 folder)

Contains Ms. Keane's AWRT membership card, issued in 1952, and two promotional postcards inviting viewers to write and mail in questions to her show.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Other, 1951 series 5box 1folder 5

Series 6: Artifacts, 1951 (2 items)

Two camera-ready, 11" x 14" title (or "bumper") cards (made of printed paper glued on cardboard) that states the program's title, "For Your Information," and its host, "with Helen Faith Keane."

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Artifacts (oversize), 1951 series 6box 2folder 1

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