Introduction

BabySisterBluesIn the 1920s, two sisters took on the worlds of business and entertainment.

Edith & Grace McDowell, daughters of poor Ohio pioneers, traveled the United States, earning their way as public stenographers, war correspondents, congressional assistants, and finally entertainers via the new medium of radio, bringing Hawaiian music to the masses as The MacDowell Sisters (AKA “Sweethearts of the Air”).

Once the #2 radio act in America, now all but unknown.

Before media consolidation, the MacDowell Sisters toured the country, performing live in concert or over the airwaves from New York, New Jersey, Dallas and Hollywood broadcast stations.  They recorded for Thomas Edison and Pathe, and were, at the height of their popularity, the #2 favorite radio act in the US (according to Radio World magazine).  Although they wrote down their memoir in 1930, it never saw publication in its day.  Hawaiian music, once the dominant genre in American popular music, gave way to jazz and swing.  A generation of radio and recording pioneers are now all but lost to history.

After almost a century, the lives of these trailblazing women can now be illuminated, in their own words and through family archives.

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