60 Years of Literacy: Jean Daugherty

LiteracyCNY is celebrating six decades serving Syracuse and Central New York. Founded in 1962, Ruth Colvin’s literacy program was incorporated as Literacy Volunteers in 1967. The program went national as Literacy Volunteers of America in 1972, with Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse as the local chapter. In 2014, the organization was rebranded as LiteracyCNY.

For members of multiple generations of Central New York children, Jean Daugherty is best known as The Play Lady from “The Magic Toy Shop.” Jean created the program for WHEN (later called “Corporation on Location” when the station rebranded as WTVH), and wrote and appeared in more than 6,000 episodes of the series between 1955 and 1982. Jean began her career in education, earning a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State Teacher’s College (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) in 1943. In 1948, she received her master’s degree in communications from Syracuse University, joining WHEN the same year.

Jean was also a passionate supporter of literacy. In 1964, Jean directed an early tutor training film for Ruth Colvin’s literacy program, and later served as a founding member of the Literacy Volunteers board of directors.

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