Once upon a Telephone: An Illustrated Social History

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9780151000869: Once upon a Telephone: An Illustrated Social History

A study of the telephone chronicles its evolution into contemporary society, its social and historical roles, its symbolism of power, and its place in fashion, and includes a photographic collection of twentieth-century products, advertisements, and more. 20,000 first printing.

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From Library Journal:

Stern (The Good Heart Diet Cookbook, LJ 1/15/82) and Gwathmey (Ticket to Paradise, LJ 11/15/91) have collected ephemera, anecdotes, and excerpts about the telephone. Movie stills, magazine covers, greeting cards, and sheet music are included, along with quotes ranging from Carl Sandburg to Nicholson Baker, from Dorothy Parker to Emily Post. The breezy text, nearly obscured by the lavish illustrations and generous quotes, provides an adequate chronicle of the invention of the telephone, the evolution of telephone equipment, and the development of telephone books and pay phones. Chapters cover telephone operators, telephones and teenagers, and the telephone's importance to business and romance. This book is a delightful romp through 20th-century American social history, and it succeeds in portraying the telephone as ubiquitous in popular culture. For public libraries.
Wendy Knickerbocker, Rhode Island Coll. Lib., Providence
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Among the more amusing facts in this cultural history of the telephone is that, back in the old days, women were called upon to be telephone operators because boys, who initially had the jobs, ``were ill-suited to the delicate work of telephony. Rowdy and restless, they took pleasure in insulting callers, pulling pranks, and crossing wires.'' Filled with movie stills and posters, ads, and text from all kinds of sources, this lively documentary is less concerned with the evolving technology of the telephone than with the way it has been used and represented. Maxwell Smart's shoe phone is here, as is an excerpt from Nicholson Baker's Vox, as Stern (Best Bets, not reviewed) and Gwathmey (Wholly Cow!, not reviewed) rush happily from Alexander Graham Bell to the age of the fax-modem. Still, there's probably a good argument to be made that the pranks of punk kids were preferable to the icy contempt of voice mail. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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