America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940 by Claude S. Fischer

By Claude S. Fischer

The phone looms huge in our lives, as ever found in glossy societies as automobiles and tv. Claude Fischer offers the 1st social background of this important yet little-studied technology--how we encountered, proven, and finally embraced it with enthusiasm. utilizing mobilephone advertisements, oral histories, cellphone correspondence, and statistical facts, Fischer's paintings is a colourful exploration of the way, whilst, and why americans begun speaking during this extensively new manner.Studying 3 California groups, Fischer uncovers how the phone turned built-in into the personal worlds and group actions of commonplace americans within the first a long time of this century. ladies have been particularly avid of their use, a phenomenon which the first vigorously discouraged after which later wholeheartedly promoted. many times Fischer reveals that the phone supported a wide-ranging community of social kinfolk and performed a very important function in neighborhood lifestyles, particularly for girls, from organizing kid's relationships and church actions to assuaging the loneliness and tedium of rural life.Deftly written and meticulously researched, the United States Calling provides a massive new bankruptcy to the social background of our state and illuminates a basic element of cultural modernism that's critical to modern lifestyles.

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Extra resources for America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940

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Some were people with business reasons for subscribing, such as attorney R. B. Bell of Palo Alto. A few surprises, such as the telephone listed for 76-year-old Antioch bricklayer Wesley Dunnigan, can be explained by knowing who else shared their homes. Mr. Dunnigan, for example, lived with a son who was a druggist and a daughter who was a telephone operator, each of whom had business reasons for subscribing. Besides those with business reasons, it was the social elite who subscribed in 1900. 53 Statistical analysis shows that the strongest indications that a household had a telephone were being a notable household, having a servant, or being headed by a man who worked as a manager.

B. S. Mitchell received a call from her son-in-law in New York telling of her daughter's operation. "Telegrams are not always to satisfactory where relatives are most anxious," read what was no doubt a company press release, "and that was why R. J. McClelland wished to talk direct to his wife's mother to reassure her" (Palo Alto Times, 9 February 1915). Â < previous page < previous page page_134 page_135 next page > next page > Page 135 and then sold it to Bell's Sunset Company five years later for $900.

Citizens argued among themselves over the regulation of motorists, particularly speeders. In the Depression, for example, Palo Alto residents pressed the police to crack down on speeders, but the merchants worried that heavy enforcement would discourage business. Furthermore, as time passed, auto-related and auto-assisted crimesauto theft, drunk driving, burglary, as well as driving violationsincreasingly occupied police officers' attention. 39 Controversies over road building and improvement that predated the automobile swelled after its arrival.

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