Book of the Week #13

Women's Work in New England, 1620-1920 edited by Peter Benes (Boston University, 2003)

This volume is volume 26 of the Annual Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife. This conference, held in Deerfield, MA in June 2001 "consisted of museum tours in Deerfield conducted by Historic Deerfield and the Memorial Hall Museum, followed by twenty-one lectures and demonstrations on the working roles of women in New England and contiguous portions of New York State and Canada from the time of first European settlement through the early twentieth century. The conference planning committee hoped to concentrate on the expectations and gender burdens placed on women of all ages and social ranks in the region between 1620 and 1920." (p. 5)
Among the papers included in this volume is "Number, Please: New Hampshire Predial Telephone Operators, 1877-1920" by Judith Moyer. This is a look at the history of telephones in the granite state and the women who made them work. The image on the cover was taken at Otis Sumner's drugstore, Goffstown, NH c. 1920. At that time there were 653 telephone operators in New Hampshire and 92.5% of them were women.

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