Vox Pop Travels America, 1935-1948: A Story Map

Co-host Warren Hull interviews Sgt. Gooseman from the Air Sea Rescue School. Keesler Field. Biloxi, Mississippi. April 2, 1945.

Radio broadcasting played many important roles during World War II. Comedy, drama, music, and information programs entertained, boosted wartime morale, promoted the war effort, and informed listeners about the progress of the war. As a broadcasting archive, the Mass Media & Culture Collections at the University of Maryland has many resources that document the roles radio played during World War II. One such resource is  Vox Pop Travels America, 1935-1948, a story map highlighting Vox Pop, a long-running radio interview program that spent the war years interviewing service men and women and defense plant workers from locations all over the United States.

Based on program logs and photographs from the Parks Johnson Collection on Vox Pop, this story map pinpoints the locations of all 723 Vox Pop broadcasts from 1935 to 1948. Each pinpoint includes a pop up with details about the broadcast, including the names of the people interviewed on the program. Users can scroll through the map or use the available search tools to discover information about the broadcasts by city, location, or name of person interviewed.

Using this resource along with recordings of the broadcasts available at several online sources, researchers can follow host Parks Johnson and his co-hosts as they interviewed people from locations around New York City during the Depression, from military installations around the country during the Second World War, and from the United States, Alaska, Paris and London after the war.

Story Map Tour:

The following is a tour through the story map using “Corpus Christi” as a search term. This search reveals details about their May 18, 1942 broadcast from the United States Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas, including a photograph of Parks Johnson interviewing Lt. Commander Edward O’Hare of St. Louis, Missouri.

Story Map World War II Homepage:

Story Map Pop Up:

Story Map Photo:

Vox Pop and You:

Did Vox Pop visit your town? Did Parks Johnson interview a member of your family? The Parks Johnson Collection on Vox Pop is a vast collection of material documenting the history of Vox Pop, but we are always eager to hear from people who may have had personal contact with the show. Please contact story map author Michael Henry at mlhenry@umd.edu to share your Vox Pop story.

Michael Henry is a reference specialist with the Mass Media & Culture collections, Special Collections & University Archives.

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