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

America Calling

A Social History of the Telephone to 1940


Published: 22nd March 1994
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The telephone looms large in our lives, as ever present in modern societies as cars and television. Claude Fischer presents the first social history of this vital but little-studied technology--how we encountered, tested, and ultimately embraced it with enthusiasm. Using telephone ads, oral histories, telephone industry correspondence, and statistical data, Fischer's work is a colorful exploration of how, when, and why Americans started communicating in this radically new manner.
Studying three California communities, Fischer uncovers how the telephone became integrated into the private worlds and community activities of average Americans in the first decades of this century. Women were especially avid in their use, a phenomenon which the industry first vigorously discouraged and then later wholeheartedly promoted. Again and again Fischer finds that the telephone supported a wide-ranging network of social relations and played a crucial role in community life, especially for women, from organizing children's relationships and church activities to alleviating the loneliness and boredom of rural life.
Deftly written and meticulously researched, "America Calling" adds an important new chapter to the social history of our nation and illuminates a fundamental aspect of cultural modernism that is integral to contemporary life.

"Delightful. . . . A thought-provoking, often entertaining book that makes it impossible to take the telephone for granted."--"The Milwaukee Journal

List of Files
List of Tables
Technology and Modern Lifep. 1
The Telephone in Americap. 33
Educating the Publicp. 60
The Telephone Spreads: National Patternsp. 86
The Telephone Spreads: Local Patternsp. 122
Becoming Commonplacep. 175
Local Attachment, 1890-1940p. 193
Personal Calls, Personal Meaningsp. 222
Conclusionp. 255
Appendix A Bibliographic Essayp. 273
Appendix B Statistical Analyses of Telephone and Automobile Distributionp. 277
Appendix C Telephone Subscription among Iowa Farmers, 1924p. 283
Appendix D Summary of Expenditure Studies by Household Income or Occupationp. 287
Appendix E The 1918-1919 Cost of Living Studyp. 292
Appendix F Who Had the Telephone When?p. 299
Appendix G Analysis of Advertisement Datap. 309
Appendix H Statistical Analyses for Chapter 7p. 312
Notesp. 321
Bibliographyp. 379
Indexp. 413
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780520086470
ISBN-10: 0520086473
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 424
Published: 22nd March 1994
Publisher: University of California Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.49