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AWC TImeline: 1920s

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The 1920s brought significant changes to Theta Sigma Phi. At the national convention in September, 1920, delegates finalized plans for “The Woman’s National Journalistic Register, Inc.,” an employment bureau for members. On April 6, 1921, the first Matrix Table, a formal banquet, was held by the Pi Chapter at the University of Illinois. Theta Sig members wanted to raise money for Chicago’s occupational bureau for women in journalism by holding a lecture. The event was such a success that members decided to hold the Matrix Table each spring and obtain a noted speaker as the guest of honor. The Matrix Table became a time-honored tradition that still is celebrated today.

Pictured right: The 1929 Theta Sig National Board

In 1923, delegates to the national convention at the University of Oklahoma adopted the organization’s first resolution, which supported raising the standards of the journalism profession. As the ‘20s progressed, more women entered the field of journalism, but many male editors kept them confined to the women’s pages, feature writing or “stunt and sob sister” reporting, refusing to allow them to depart from traditional roles and cross over into reporting hard news. However, The Matrix began to have an impact on journalism. According to members, a 200 percent increase in job placements occurred for women due to Theta Sigma Phi’s Woman’s National Journalistic Register employment bureau. Women began moving into editorial and managerial positions in journalism. Theta Sig Ray Louise Hanger founded the Associated Press’ Photo Library in 1928, which under her supervision grew to five million photographs during the next 26 years.

By the end of the decade it became evident that women had made great strides during the first 20 years of Theta Sigma Phi. It was now certain that women were in journalism to stay.
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